Review & Rating of Grand Lakes Golf Club in Montgomery, Texas
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 course opened in 2003 as a private club. Another nine holes were designed by Jeff Blume opened in 2007. In September 2009, improvements were made to the greens (new TIF Eagle) along with some other changes 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 play past some huge multi-acred estate homes, marshland, and woods.
Each nine is very different in part because of two different designers and significant differences in the terrain. The Gary Player designed holes include what is now holes 7 through 15 and Blume designed holes holes 1 through 6 and 16 through 18. The greens on the Player holes are smaller and Blume nine requires more target golf.
The front nine is 200 to 300 yards longer from each of the 5 sites of tee boxes (2786 to 3729 yards), has 32 bunkers, water on 6 holes, and it's a par 37 with 3 par 5s. Some of the holes that we really liked on the front nine included:
The back nine seems a little easier (par 35), a little more open, and in not quite as good condition as the front. Some of our favorite holes on this nine are:
The fairways were not in the best condition (a mix of grass, weeds, and a few bare spots) and they range from tight and tree-lined to wide-open landing zones. All the fairways are heavily contoured and rolling with mounds, valleys, and several forced carries over natural areas and creeks. The fairways were firm and dry, which means lots of extra roll. The rough is thin and playable, but if you miss it and the fairway, kiss your ball goodbye, take a penalty stroke, and carry on.
The greens were in fair condition, a wide variety of shapes and sizes, and most are raised and guarded by bunkers, mounds, and/or swales. Most of the greens were easy to read and they ran true but a little slow - around an 8 or so.
The bunkers on front nine had good sand (soft and a tad thin) and steep faces. They ranged in size from some small pot bunkers to some huge nasty monsters. The bunkers on the back were not in very good condition and several were overgrown with weeds and grass because they are being converted to grass bunkers or swales.
Rates: $46.00 to $46.00
The pro shop is in a shed and as such, there is no food or golf gear and accessories. There is no range or putting green. The staff is 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!
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.