Grand Lake Golf Club Review

Texas Outside Rating: 8.9

Golf - Public Course · 18 Holes · Par 72
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Grand Lake Golf Club Review

Grand Lake Golf Course is one of those courses that you walk off and say "where have you been all my golfing life - I'm glad I finally found you!" Gary Player designed the original nine holes and the Grand Lake opened in 2003 as a private club. The back nine, designed by Jeff Bloom opened in 2007. The good news is that some improvements to the greens (new TIF Eagle) and some other changes were made in September 2009 and Grand Lake opened for public play!

What a fantastic layout through some very unique and unusual Texas terrain. At times we couldn't believe we were in Texas - we thought we were in Florida as we duffed our way through the swaying palm trees, pines, natural areas, and wetland marshes. The first seven holes wind through the trees and it's unbelievably serene, quiet, and peaceful. At seven, the terrain changes and opens up as you you play around some huge multi-acred estate homes, marsh land, and woods.

The fairways were in good condition and most were heavily contoured and rolling with mounds, valleys, and spines. A lot of the holes have a links feel to them - open and forgiving fairways, natural areas on both sides, and littered with palm or other trees and vegetation. The rough is playable, but if you miss it and the fairway, kiss your ball goodbye, take a penalty stroke, and carry on.

The greens were in very good condition, about average size, a bit hard to hold, pretty fast, and most had some slope. We did find them easy to read and very true. Putting didn't seem to be the challenge on Grand Lake!

With 5 sets of tee boxes, the yardage varies from 5350 to 7202 and the slope ranges from 128 to 142 - this course is no walk in the park and you might want to move up one tee box the first time you play it. It will throw a lot of stuff at you that makes Grand Lake very fun, interested, and challenging to play. Each hole is different and unique and has its own set of challenges. You'll find dog legs, an island green, marshes, ponds, creeks, mounds/berms, strategically placed hazards with soft thick sand, ravines and natural areas to carry, and more to keep you on your game. Course management and shot making are needed to score well here. But don't let the challenges at Grand Lake discourage you from playing this fantastic course.

Some examples of what makes Grand Lakes both fun and challenging include: #9 a 525 yard par five leading to a narrow cashew shaped green that is well protected with natural areas, bunkers, and a creek and challenging you to go for it on your second shot; #3, the number one handicap is a short but challenging par 4 383 yard dog leg left that requires a precise drive to nail the landing zone and then an uphill shot to a very well protected green; and #11 is a real beaut - from an elevated tee box you get a good look at what you're up against which includes two ravines/creeks to carry, trees along the right side, three left side bunkers, and a well protected green. We loved this course and wanted to keep playing, even though it was dark! Can't wait to get back and play it again.

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Course Slope & Ratings

Tee Box Yardage Rating Slope
Black 7,202 75.2 142
Blue 6,505 71.9 136
White 6,079 69.9 124
Gold 6,842 73.0 139
Red 5,350 72.0 128

Course Information

Course Architect:
Gary Player/Jeff Bloom
Greens Type:
Tif Eagle
Greens Condition
Greens Difficulty
Beware of water on 7 holes and the 64 sand traps.

Texas Outside Rating

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


Approximate Weekend
$45.00 to $25.00

The pro shop is in a temporary shed and as such there is no food or golf gear and accessories. We played on a Sunday and there wasn't a cart lady, nor is there a practice range or putting green. All of these are in the planning process. But you don't c



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. 


About Texas Outside

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