Echo Creek opened for play in 1988 and was rated "Best Places To Play" (I'm not sure what category) in 2008 by Golf Digest and from our perspective it comes close to being a hidden gem. Located in the rolling hills of east Texas between Murchison and Leagueville (you'll need to consult a map to find either one these two cities), Echo Creek is truly, as one golf member described it, "just a good 'ole country course."
It's actually easy to get to and you can have a fun and enjoyable round of golf here. It's short at 6217 from the tips, but tricky with lots of dog legs, some ups and downs, very narrow fairways, and natural waste area hazards. Even with all those challenges the slope and rating is 69.2 and 120 from the tips - so play smart and you can score well.
From the tee box you can't see the flag on most of the holes and you may want to leave the driver in the bag. In fact, on the first hole you have to use a tall periscope looking apparatus to check for players in the fairway before you tee off. On a majority of the holes, if you spray the ball, you're most likely history and lost in the trees. If you're lucky you'll catch the rough which is "rough" but playable. On most of the holes you need to select the right club from the tee box and manage the course thereafter. Take number 8 for example - a 470 yard par 5 with an elevated tee shot to a narrow landing zone in front of a natural waste area and your approach shot is to a small oblong green which is well protected with a creek three quarters of the way around it. Or number 12 which is a 475 yard par 5 where your tee shot from the tips needs to carry a large natural waste area and then needs a precise landing to avoid trees on the left or the creek which crosses the fairway. Then you have a tough approach shot to a small green with a creek in front and trees lining the green - a fun and challenging hole!
The greens and fairways are in below average condition but playable. The back nine fairways seemed to be in much better condition. The greens had recently been aerated and were bumpy and a little fast, with minor slope and undulation. There are only three traps to contend with on two of the holes and the sand was soft and thick.
The club house is dated, the menu at the snack bar is limited to a few items, and the pro shop has a fair supply of equipment. All that said, we walked off the course after an a fun and enjoyable round at a fantastic price - can't beat that, so we'll be back.
Rates: $35.00 to $35.00
Service at the front desk and snack bar is very Texas country friendly. We didn't see a cart lady so I don't think they exist. The carts are new in 8-08.
Here's How Texas Outside Determines the Scorecard Rating
The Texas Outside rating scale ranges from 1 to 10 – a perfect 10 course would be something like this: links along a cliff overlooking the Pacific ocean and bordered by tall trees; lush fairways on rolling hills with lots of natural hazards; water (which is crystal clear) on most of the holes; immaculate greens (but they are undulating and tough); lots of variety and character (each hole is completely different and includes blind shots, elevation changes, doglegs, and significant challenges); perfectly manicured traps with the whitest and prettiest sand you’ve ever seen; a nice club house with great food and a 19th hole; a GPS; plenty of beverage carts or your own cooler and ice; and it only costs $40 bucks! What this means is that you probably won’t find any 10s in Texas – try Cabo San Lucas, Pebble Beach, or some of the Hawaii courses!
All of the above determines the overall score for the golf course. In other words, we like courses that are pretty, fun, very challenging with a lot of variety, and fairways and greens in excellent condition – all for $40. We also tend to play the courses that are affordable for the masses, which means in the $30 to $80 range. We rate hard and we haven’t found a 10 in Texas yet – don’t worry we haven’t given up and we’re still looking.