Mill Creek Country Club - Creek 1 Nine Review

Texas Outside Rating: 8.3

Golf - Public Course · 9 Holes · Par 37
Salado
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Mill Creek Country Club - Creek 1 Nine Review

Review and Rating of Mill Creek Country Club in Salado Texas

Mill Creek Country Club in Salado is home to three nines that were designed by Robert Trent Jones in 1983.  Each of the nines has it's own personality and characteristics:

  • Creek 1 is a par 37 and the hardest of the nines thanks to water on six holes, 19 bunkers, and some tough approach shots - read Texas Outside's review of Creek 1 to learn more
  • Creek 2 is the shortest of the nines, the most traditional with tree-lined fairways, water that can come into play on 7 of 9 holes, greens that are a little faster but flatter,  28 bunkers, elevation changes, and doglegs - this nine requires some target golf and good shot-making
  • Creek 3 is a 3258-yard par 34 (one par 5, 3 par 3s, and 5 par 4s) that is a mix of tree-lined fairways and several wide links-style fairways plus 26 bunkers and water on 3 holes - here's a link to Texas Outside's Review & Rating of Creek 3

Common to all three nines are traditional Robert Trent Jones, Jr designs (with near-sadistic use of huge bunkers, ponds, and creeks), pretty good conditions, very reasonable rates, friendly service, and a great grill. 

In 2009 the Creeks 1 course was devastated with a 100-year flood and a 500-year flood in 2010 which closed the course for quite a while. The greens were wiped out and subsequently redone with Tif Eagle grass, over beautiful oak trees were destroyed, and several of the bunkers were ruined and then converted to grass bunkers.   Part of what makes the Creek 1 nine the toughest of the three nines is that it's the longest from all four tee boxes, the meandering Salado Creek can come into play on 5 different holes,  and 19 bunkers are challenging.  This nine requires some good shot-making skills to score well.  Creeks 1 is short (2736 to 3324 yards) from all 4 tees, which makes it playable and fun for all skill levels. 

Some of the holes that we really liked on Creek 1 include:

  • #3 is the signature "heart of Texas hole" - a 340-yard par 4 with a dogleg right around a big bunker and then downhill to a heart shaped green with 3 bunkers surrounding 85% of the green
  • #5 is a fun par 4 with a great risk-reward shot to try to fly the trees to significantly shorten this 413-yard dog leg right hole and to make it easier to carry the creek that cuts across the front of the green at 110 yards out
  • #8 is another good risk-reward shot to try and carry more of Salado Creek and shorten the approach shot the green
  • #9 is fun and requires some shot-making - a 517-yard par 5 that requires an accurate drive to give you a good shot across the creek and miss the trees and position you for a shot to the left toward the green

We played in mid-December the fairways were dormant and not overseeded.  The fairways and rough were in good but not great condition - but very playable.  Most of the fairways are flat and tree-lined and ample - miss wide and you may be able to recover with a worm burner back to the fairway.  Some beautiful homes overlook some of the holes.

The bunkers range from huge to some real multi-fingered monsters with steep faces.  Several of the bunkers are strategically placed in the landing zones off the tee and the rest are guarding the greens - putting a premium on your approach shots.  The good news is the sand is near perfect - light, fluffy, and thick.  Generally speaking they were well maintained, however a few has some matting showing.

The greens are a variety of shapes and most are very large.  There is minor slope and little to no undulation.  The hold the ball well and when we played they were a little bumpy, slow (8 or so), and several had some damage.  All but one are well guarded. 

Bottom line - a fun and fair 9 that rewards good tee shots and careful approach shots and the course has good variety, a couple elevation changes that make it fun and challenging,  some fun holes, and reasonable rates. 


Slope and rating are based on playing Creek 1 and Creek 2 which are the two hardest nines.

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Course Slope & Ratings

Tee Box Yardage Rating Slope
Black 3,324 71.6 133
Blue 2,962 67.8 120
White 2,736 70.7 124
Gold 3,122 69.6 127

Course Information

Course Architect:
Robert Trent Jones
Greens Type:
TIF Eagle
Greens Condition
7.0
Greens Difficulty
7.5
Fairway Condition
7.0
Bunker Condition
8.5
GPS:
No
Walkable:
Yes
Scorecard
Beware of water on 6 holes and the 19 sand traps.

Texas Outside Rating

Overall Rating:
8.3 out of 10
Beauty:
8.5
Difficulty:
8.5
Variety:
8.0
Fun to Play:
9.0
Value:
9.0
Condition:
7.0
Front Nine Rating:
8.3
Back Nine Rating:
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FEES & AMENITIES

Approximate Weekend
Rates:
$40.00 to $50.00

The pro shop has a limited supply of the basics, the putting green and range are adequate, the bar and grill has a great burger and drinks, and service is very good.

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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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