Quicksand Golf Club in San Angelo is a fun but demanding 18 hole course that plays on 320 acres of what we would call typical west Texas terrain - relatively flat desert terrain with small trees, desert brush, cactus, and sand. The course is a combination of a desert course (with forced carries, natural sand areas, cactus that will stick you, snakes, and sage brush) and a links style course. Quicksand Golf Club is very appropriately named after its 96 steep and deep treacherous bunkers that seem to attract and swallow your golf ball. I have plenty of first hand experience with the bunkers, I must have found at least half of them and taken a lot of the sand home with me in the hair, shoes, socks, and pockets!
The 96 sand and 15 to 20 grass bunkers clearly define Quicksand Golf Club and make it a very demanding course that requires excellent course management and strategic thinking, precise and accurate tee as well approach shots, and good skills with whatever to try to get out of the bunkers with. The bunkers pinch the landing zones and protect the greens. To score well you'll need to pick the right set of tee boxes (five to choose from with yardages of 5023 to 7171 yards), consider leaving the big dog in the bag on most holes, and be precise on the approach shots. But don't let all of that discourage you from playing this outstanding layout it's fair, fun, and an outstanding value.
Speaking of fun, there are some outstanding holes, for example:
When played in November 2011 when all Texas courses had suffered through harsh winter freezes, record high temperatures, and a severe drought that had impacted the fairway and greens. Quicksand Golf Club in San Angelo had survived all of that very well - but the fairways had some brown spots and a few rough spots and the rough in some places was shabby and had lots of dirt spots. Compared to other courses the fairways were in very good condition but not their normal lush and plush green. The fairways, which were also starting to go dormant, are a little tight in spots and most are heavily contoured creating a lot of uneven lies. The roughs are large but if you miss them and you're wet or in the desert where you don't want to have an encounter with those sharp cactus needles. The roughs are dense grass and the ball tended to sit on top making for a very playable lie.
I don't think the greens could have been in much better condition and we didn't spot any weather damage. They were average size, soft, held the ball well, ran a good speed (9 to 10), and were very true. The slope and contour is minor and in most cases very manageable, but watch out, there are a few subtle breaks. Most of the greens are raised and very well guarded putting a premium on accurate approach shots.
The bunkers are everywhere, so make sure you practice you sand shots before you head out. They range in size from small pot bunkers to some huge treacherous monsters the size of Rhode Island and they are all different shapes from oval to long with up to 10 fingers, to Mickey Mouse ears, to heart shaped, to one with a grass island with a tree in the middle of the bunker! Most of them are deep and steep faced but the good news is they are firm and the ball will hit the face and roll back toward the center of the bunker giving you a much better shot. The sand is thin and hard to get under and it's gritty.
Bottom line - what a pleasant surprise with very good conditions; some fun, fair and demanding holes; and an excellent value - a must play if you're anywhere near San Angelo.
Rates: $33.00 to $45.00
The pro shop has all the basics, the range and practice area is adequate, but I didn't see a practice bunker! The grill is outstanding - one of the best burgers I've had, it's thick, huge, juicy, and loaded. The chicken tortilla soup was also excellent. The staff is very friendly as are all of the locals and players we met.
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.