James Connally Golf Course Review

Texas Outside Rating: 6.5

Golf - Public Course · 18 Holes · Par 72
· Locate This Course

Img_5254 Img_5255 Img_5261

James Connally Golf Course Review

James Connally Golf Course, located on the north east side of Waco, was designed by Ralph Plummer and built in the 1960's.   Over the years the course has changed hands a number of times and in 2010 was currently owned and operated by Texas State Technical College. 

The terrain is mostly flat on the front and has some elevation changes and ups and downs on the back nine.  James Connally Golf Course is in the country and plays through the trees with no homes anywhere in sight.  It's close to the airport which means you'll encounter some jets approaching or talking off. 

The front nine of James Connally Golf Course is a pretty straight forward layout and on most of the holes you can see the pin and what you're up against - which isn't much.  The score card shows water on 3 of the holes but it really only comes into play on #7 which is a 184 yard par 3 with a carry over a small pond near the tee boxes. 

There are seven bunkers on the front nine, two fairly sharp dog legs that require a little bit of accuracy off the tee box, and two minor dog leg right holes.  This is a warm up nine and you should be able to turn in a pretty good round if you can stay fairly close to the fairway. 

The back nine is a lot better and much more fun.  It's got some ups and downs, water on 5 of 9 holes, 8 bunkers, a couple blind shots, and one dog leg left.  And it has a couple fun and somewhat challenging holes like:

  • #10 which is a 490 yard par 5 with a couple bunkers on the left side of the fairway that can come into play, a slight dog leg right to an uphill green with a creek across the front
  • #14 has a blind uphill shot then a downhill shot to a green guarded by two bunkers
  • #15 requires a precise drive to carry a pond and stuff it on the green 205 yards out
  • #18 may get you to want to come back to play this nine again - a 412 yard par 4 downhill and then back uphill over a creek to an elevated green

Speaking of the greens, when we played in early November 2010, they were in very bad condition and in fact had a lot of damaged areas.  They were bumpy and somewhat fast, about average size, and had some minor to severe slope. 

The fairways were ample to a tad tight and if you spray the ball you're under some trees but  should should be able to find your ball and chip back to or up the fairway.  The condition of the fairways was also not very good - they needed water, weed killer, ant spray, and lots of fertilizer.  The good news you could always tell where your ball is headed by the puff of dust where your ball took it's first bounce. 

The bunkers also need some work and maintenance.   The sand is gritty, hard, and thin. 

Real golfers might equate playing James Connally Golf Course to "pasture golf."  It's not quite that bad, but the conditions are very rough - but, a round of golf won't cost you a fortune.

Img_5260 Img_5264 Img_5271

Course Slope & Ratings

Tee Box Yardage Rating Slope
Blue 6,966 72.5 116
White 6,456 70.5 113
Red 5,763 71.2 115

Course Information

Greens Condition
Greens Difficulty
Beware of water on 7 holes and the 17 sand traps.

Texas Outside Rating

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


Approximate Weekend
$24.00 to $30.00

The facilities are dated, the cart path needs lots of work and is a really bumpy ride, and the pro shop has little to no gear for sale - a few brands of new golf balls. Food service is limited to crackers, chips, and candy bars. There is a driving range and a putting green which also wasn't in good condition. No cart service is available.



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.