Fair Oaks Ranch Golf & Country Club-Live Oak Course Review

Texas Outside Rating: 9.1

Golf - Private Course · 18 Holes · Par 72
Website · Locate This Course

Dsc_1215 Dsc_1217 Dsc_1223

Fair Oaks Ranch Golf & Country Club-Live Oak Course Review

Review and Rating of Fair Oaks Ranch Golf & Country Club's Live Oak Course in Fair Oaks Ranch Texas

Fair Oaks Ranch Golf & Country Club is home to a swimming pool, tennis courts, a fitness center, dining, and two outstanding 18 hole golf courses - Live Oak and Blackjack Oak. 

Fair Oaks Ranch Golf & Country Club opened its doors in 1978 using the original 14,000-square-foot ranch home of Ralph E. Fair Sr., an internationally known oilman and rancher, as the center of the Club. The ranch home is stunning it was built in the 1930s using native Texas Hill Country river rock.  Gary Player and Denis Griffith were brought in to design Blackjack Oak and Gary and Ron Kirby designed Live Oak.  Fair Oaks Ranch is part of the portfolio of Club Corp which owns or operates more than 200 golf and country clubs, business clubs, sports clubs and alumni clubs in 26 states, the District of Columbia and two foreign countries.

Each of the courses at Fair Oaks Ranch has it's own unique characteristics and personality.  Blackjack Oak is a combination of holes that are typical  of a country club layout with homes lining the fairways, a wide open links style layout, and several holes with a more traditional hill country look and feel.  Live Oak is a true hill country layout with elevation changes, lots of dog legs, and some scenic views.  We haven't played Blackjack Oak but loved Live Oak and it's currently rated on our list of the  Best Courses in San Antonio.  Fair Oaks Ranch Golf & Country club was also rated as "The Best Overall Family Value Country Club" for three years by AvidGolfer magazine and "The Best Overall Country Club"in 2008 in the Boerne Star.

The fairways on the front nine of Live Oak leverage the natural rolling terrain to create some elevated tee shots and uphill as well as downhill shots plus 5 dog legs.  The back nine is a little flatter and it seems a little more open, forgiving, and straightforward with a little less variety.  Most of the fairways are ample with a wide playable rough which is dense and holds the ball up for an easier shot and a second cut that is tougher - miss those and you're in a back yard or under a lot of trees.  Some nice homes line one or both sides of most of the fairways.  All of the fairways and rough were in very good condition when we played.  You'll see lots of wildlife - grazing deer, ducks and geese, squirrels, and birds.

The greens on Live Oak were also in very condition - soft, smooth, and ran true if you can read the breaks.  You'll encounter some slope, undulation, and tiers.  They are about average size (some huge and some small) and a variety of shapes and sizes and all but one are guarded by one to six bunkers - and the one with no bunker has a pond protecting it's left side. Accuracy on the approach shot is key to scoring well on Live Oak.

The bunkers at Live Oak were in very good condition with light sand that varied from thick to a little thin.  They ranged from small pot bunkers to some big fairway bunkers strategically placed in your landing zone.

Live Oak is home to some outstanding holes, some of our favorites included:

  • #1 sets the stage for what you can expect on the front nine - a 546 yard par 5 that takes a turn right between two big left side bunkers and one on the right and then heads to a sloping and tiered green guarded by a bunker in the middle of the fairway 50 yards in front of it plus two bunkers on the left side
  • #2 requires a drive over a deep and fairly wide ravine from an elevated tee box to a wide landing zone and then a sharp dog left to a green guarded by a lake on the left side - a good risk reward opportunity off the tee if you think you can fly the trees and stuff on a tight fairway
  • #8 is a blast (a 502 yard dog leg left par 5) and a hole you'll want to play again - off the tee trees block an uphill shot left to a fairway that's easy to drive through or you can try to draw the ball left around the trees or try a risk reward opportunity to try and fly the trees - the drive is uphill to a fairway that drops down a tier just before a deep and wide ravine and that's followed by an uphill shot to a 2 tiered green guarded by a cluster of 4 bunkers
  • #16 and #17 are beautiful holes - a 189 yard par 3 that's all carry over the lake to a two tiered green with three bunkers guarding the front and #17 is a 462 yard par 4 with a beautiful view and big down hill shot to a dog leg left fairway

Do you want you can to play Fair Oaks Ranch Live Oak Course, you'll love it - it's fun, fair but challenging, scenic, and in excellent condition.

Dsc_1224 Dsc_1227 Dsc_1230

Course Slope & Ratings

Tee Box Yardage Rating Slope
Blue 6,508 71.5 129
White 6,028 68.9 122
Gold 7,007 73.9 132
Red 5,115 70.8 129

Course Information

Course Architect:
Gary Player and Ron Kirby
Greens Type:
Greens Condition
Greens Difficulty
Fairway Condition
Bunker Condition
Course Map
Beware of water on 9 holes and the 72 sand traps.

Texas Outside Rating

Overall Rating:
9.1 out of 10
Fun to Play:
Front Nine Rating:
Back Nine Rating:


Initiation Fees: Under $10,000
Monthly Dues: $201 to $400

The facilities are really cool looking, the pro shop is well stocked with a little bit of everything, and the practice facilities are very good. We didn't have a chance to try the food. The service is excellent and very friendly and outgoing.



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! 
Texas Outside rates courses on the following:

  • Beauty – tall trees, rolling hills, beautiful houses, waterfalls, and similar stuff would score high; a 1 would be flat, bushes or cactus instead of trees, and some grass but mostly weeds
  • Difficulty – a straight, 300 yard par 4 with no traps or hazards, no out of bounds or water would probably get a 1; if it is a 460 yard par 4 over two ravines, with water along one side, natural hazards on the other, strategically placed traps or that dreaded tree right in the middle of the fairway, we are talking a 10. 
  • Variety – what would you give a course where all the holes looked and played exactly the same (“I thought we just played that hole!”); were side-by-side, which is good for finding or dodging other people’s balls, but not much fun; and you can see the flag from every tee box?  That’s right, it gets a 1.
  • Fun Scale – a 10 is where you walk off the course and say “now that was fun” and you can’t wait to get back, or you immediately turn around and play another 18 holes
  • Value – a 5 is $50 to $60, a 10 is $20 to $30, and 1 is $200 or so – of course all of this is dependent upon how you liked the course.  For example, if a run down, boring municipal course, with six players on each hole was only $10; it would still get a value rating of 1.
  • Condition – this one’s pretty easy – what condition are the fairways. A 10 commands very lush perfectly manicured fairways, compared to a 1, which has fire ants, weeds, and more dirt than grass!
  • Condition of Greens and Difficulty – very hard to read greens with lots of undulation and tough pin placement, rate very high on the difficulty scale.  Condition is self-explanatory.  

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.