Harbor Lakes Golf Club Review

Texas Outside Rating: 9.1

Golf - Private Course · 18 Holes · Par 72
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Harbor Lakes Golf Club Review

Review and Rating of Harbor Lakes Golf Club in Granbury, Texas

Harbor Lakes Golf Club was named “Best New Course in Texas in 2003” and it’s a real pleasure to play – good conditions, demanding but fair, and a great layout with some very good holes.  The front nine is a true links style course with rolling contoured fairways, lots of big nasty bunkers, large greens, swaying scotch broom lining most of the fairways, and plenty of mounding. 

The back nine is a little more traditional with some homes set back off the fairways, a few trees, and a layout that is a little tougher thanks to water on 8 holes and large strategically placed bunkers.  The back nine requires some good course management skills and the water and bunkers around the greens put a premium on approach shots.  On both nines you'll also need to manage several sharp dog legs, some minor uphill and downhill shots, rolling and contoured fairways that range from tight to wide open, and lots of mounding along the fairways as well as surrounding the greens - all of which contributes to making it a blast to play Harbor Lakes Golf Club.  

This course is demanding but very playable if you play smart and pick the right set of tee boxes and it's home to some outstanding holes like:

  • #1 is a fun 391 yard par 4 with a slight uphill tee shot to a sharp 90 degree dog leg right around a huge bunker complex to a green with a bunker on the right and water three quarters of the way around it - your tee shot needs to avoid two big right side fairway bunkers and give you a shot to the green which most likely will be a blind shot - off the tee box you've got an excellent risk-reward shot if you can carry the bunkers and miss  the pond in back of them
  • #9 has water on the left from tee to the pin plus a tough approach shot thanks to a pinched fairway with water on both sides and 3 bunkers (left, right, and back) guarding a challenging sloping green
  • #10 requires accuracy on every shot - the tee shot has to fly between trees that create a fairly narrow slot and avoid a big bunker where the fairways takes a sharp left turn and then you need an accurate approach along a very tight fairway with trees protecting the right side and lots of mounding on the left
  • #14 (554-yard par 5 and the #1 handicap hole) and #18 are both tough as they horseshoe around the lake past some big fairway bunkers to well-guarded greens

When we played in March 2019 the fairways were still dormant, but during the summer I image that they would be near perfect. The fairways range from wide and let-er-rip to tight and narrow and you need to try to stay out of the rough.  Overshoot the rough and you're wet or lost in the natural areas.  You'll also encounter lots of mounding, some minor ups and downs, and some rolling contoured fairways that can create some uneven lies.

The Harbor Lakes Golf Club greens are about average size and most are well guarded with water and bunkers.  They were in very good shape, rolled smooth, and at a great speed of 9 to 10.  A few of the greens are raised, all have a 5' puttable fringe, and most have some slope and undulation but nothing too severe. 

The bunkers are strategically placed in the fairway and around the greens.  Most are huge with some steep and tough faces.  The sand varied from very good to a bit gritty and rocky and shallow. 

Bottom line - a fun and demanding links-style course with good holes and great conditions.

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Course Slope & Ratings

Tee Box Yardage Rating Slope
Black 6,927 73.5 130
Blue 5,790 68.3 116
White 5,148 69.8 110
Gold 6,448 71.4 128

Course Information

Course Architect:
Dick Phelps
Greens Condition
Greens Difficulty
Fairway Condition
Bunker Condition
Beware of water on 13 holes and the 64 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: $1 to $200

Service is very good - friendly and courteous. The practice facilities are good and the pro shop has all of the basics and more. The 10,000 square foot Clubhouse is upscale with a great bar and restaurant.



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.