Rockwall Golf & Athletic Club Review

Texas Outside Rating: 8.7

Golf - Semi Private Course · 18 Holes · Par 72
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Rockwall Golf & Athletic Club Review

Review of Rockwall Golf & Athletic Club

The Shores Country Club in Rockwall, which had been run into the ground by the previous golf management company, has been resurrected as Rockwall Golf & Athletic Club and should be added to your list of courses to play in the Dallas area.   Originally designed by Ralph Plummer in 1970, an investment group took over the course and brought in Jeff Blume to help with the renovation and resurrection of the greens and bunkers that were unsalvageable and fairways and rough that suffered from lack of attention, a tough winter, and the 2011 drought.  

Some of what was done to create the new Rockwall Golf & Athletic Club and make it more playable, pleasing to the eye, and memorable included new:

  • irrigation and pumping station
  • tee boxes and mini-verde greens
  • landscaping and trees
  • reshaping and redoing bunkers
  • driving range and par 3 short course
  • remodeled clubhouse
  • 2800 square foot covered deck
  • restaurant with wood fired pizza, steaks, seafood, fresh ingredients, and homemade breads

In addition to all of that, Blume and group reshaped a couple of the mediocre holes into a new masterpiece and made significant changes to the greens and bunkers.  He created more interesting green and bunker shapes, elevated the greens by a few feet, added some depth to the greenside bunkers, and built in more contour on and around the greens.  Read this interesting article about rebuilding The Shores into Rockwall Golf & Athletic Club.

What an improvement and a joy to play!  You'll find some risk reward opportunities, surprising elevation changes, contoured and rolling fairways, forced carries, water that will come into play on several holes, challenging green complexes, lots of tough bunkers, and some holes that demand thinking before you pull the club out of the bag as well as excellent course management and club selection skills (thanks to wind, hazards, and both uphill and downhill shots) if you want to score well.  With all that to content with, the new course is also long from each of the tee boxes, so don't bite off more than you can chew. 

Each of the nines at Rockwall Golf & Athletic Club is very different - the front nine is regarded as a little easier as it winds through some nice homes and has some surprising elevation changes while the back nine plays out to and along Lake Ray Hubbard.  Each of the nines is scenic (with some beautiful homes, water fountains, and views of Lake Ray Hubbard) and is home to some fun holes like:

  • #2 is a 404 yard uphill dog leg left par 4 with a good risk reward shot off the tee if you think you can carry the left side bunker
  • #4 is a 420 yard downhill shot from an elevated tee box and down a very contoured fairway leading to a tough approach to a green with water around the right and back side
  • after #9 (a 543 yard par 5 uphill into the wind hole with a creek crossing the fairway plus three bunkers) you'll be ready for a cold drink at the clubhouse
  • #12 is outstanding - a 537 yard par 5 with a carry over water from the tips, the lake on the left side, cross winds off the lake, and a tough shot to a challenging green complex jutting out on a peninsula into the lake
  • #14 is an intimidating 193 yard par 3 that from the tips is all carry over a lake to the green with mounding,  a couple grass swales, and a large bunker

When we played in October, the fairways were in very good condition.  The fairways are ample but don't spray the ball or you're in a fairly think rough, a yard, wet, or in a natural area.  They range from flat to very contoured and rolling with uneven lies. 

The Rockwall Golf & Athletic Club greens were outstanding - near perfect condition, soft, true, and running at a good speed.  They are all shapes and sizes and all are raised and most are well guarded by bunkers, swales, and mounding - in most cases, if you miss the green and the ball will run off into tightly mowed swales.  The majority of the greens are open in front which is very conducive to low trajectory or bump and run shots.  The mini-verde greens range from relatively flat to some tough ones with slope, ridges, and lots of contour - which demands some careful study before you putt.

The bunkers at Rockwall Golf & Athletic Club were also in near perfect condition with soft, fluffy, and thick sand - some of the best we have played in Texas.  They range in size from small pot bunkers to some real monsters which are steep and deep.   Blume also created some strategically placed false front bunkers that are 30 to 60 yards from the green on some holes - which make the green complexes look much closer on the approach!  Check them closely before you pull a club out of the bag. 

Bottom line - a fun and very demanding course that's somewhat scenic with excellent conditions, good amenities, and a reasonable rate.

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Course Slope & Ratings

Tee Box Yardage Rating Slope
Blue 6,813 73.7 131
White 6,323 71.1 128
Gold 7,281 75.6 133
Red 5,522 66.9 117

Course Information

Course Architect:
Ralph Plummer/Jeff Blume
Greens Condition
Greens Difficulty
Fairway Condition
Bunker Condition
Beware of water on 13 holes and the 51 sand traps.

Texas Outside Rating

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


Approximate Weekend
$60.00 to $75.00

Service is very good and friendly. The pro shop is well stocked and the practice facilities are very good. We didn't try it but we hear the restaurant is excellent.



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.