South Shore Harbour - Harbour Course Review

Texas Outside Rating: 8.6

Golf - Resort Private Course · 9 Holes · Par 36
League City
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South Shore Harbour - Harbour Course Review

Review of South Shore Harbour's Harbour Nine Holes

South Shore Harbour is home to three nines, each of which has it’s own unique characteristics and personality but common to all is a fairly traditional layout with flat to gently rolling fairways, water hazards, plenty of bunkers, challenging greens, and a steady wind that beats off the bay.  Each of the nines was originally designed by Dave Marr and Jay Riviere and was renovated and augmented by Jeffery Blume in the late 1990s

The Shore Nine is regarded as the most challenging thanks to tough greens, thicker roughs, and tighter fairways.  The Harbour Nine has water on 7 holes but it’s a little shorter and more forgiving from tee to green.  South plays the longest and has the highest slope and rating, but plays easier than the Shore Nine and harder than the Harbour nine.  Read our review of South Shore Harbour's Shore Course.

The Harbour Nine at South Shore is fairly straightforward and traditional with water coming into play on 7 holes (including the island green on #9), strategically placed bunkers, and fast sloping and tiered greens.  The Harbour nine is generally regarded as the easiest of the nines – in most cases you can see the pin and what you’re up against (except for the water guarding the green on #5), the fairways are ample, it plays a little shorter than the stated yardage, and you need to really spray the ball to be in someone’s back yard or lost in the woods.  Wind, which is typical, can cause some trouble and require you to club up or down or adjust your aim left or right to compensate for it. 

The Harbour nine has some great holes that are fun and challenging but fair.  In several cases the holes look easy but may have a surprise waiting for you which can make par tough, for example:

  • #3 is a short 367 yard par 4 but you need to avoid the lake on the right that has an arm cutting across the front of the green and along it’s left side plus there are two huge bunkers making the approach shot even harder
  • #5 is one of those holes where you step up to the tee box and can see the pin just 326 yards in the distance and you utter “piece of cake, I’m going for the green” as you pull out the big dog and let-er-rip – only to find that there is a hidden body of water crossing in front of the green waiting for a short shot and a dense woodlands waiting for a long shot over the green
  • #7 also seems easy until you have to try and hit and putt on the green which is raised, has a huge sprawling bunker guarding thee fourths of the green, another bunker and a grass bunker on the left, and it's a challenging odd shaped 2 tiered sloping green
  • The #1 handicap 408 yard par4 offers a very risky shot if you want to try to fly the trees and bunkers on the right side to shorten this dog right hole with a lake along the left side from 150 yards out, a huge treacherous bunker on the right, and a small odd shaped green
  • Be prepared to lose some balls if you can’t hit the island green on #9

When we played the conditions were good but not quite as good as the Shore nine – some of the fairways and roughs were showing some bare spots.  Also, the cart paths and restrooms were showing some signs of age and could use some TLC.  The bunkers were in very good condition as were the greens.

Most of the fairways are generous and you can let it rip from the tee box and won’t have any trouble unless you really spray the ball.  The fairways range from flat to gently rolling with little to no contour.  They are firm and give you a lot of extra roll. The rough was wide and cut thin and very playable. 

The greens at South Shore Harbour’s Harbour nine were in very good condition and very challenging with a mixture of tiers and significant slope.  The greens range in size and shape with most being about average and they run true and fast at 11 to 12.  In some cases, the slope is so severe, you’ll watch your ball run back down the green to the fairway or to the rough surrounding the green.

The bunkers were well maintained and in good shape but the sand was wet thanks to a recent shower – I would image that when they dry out the sand is soft, thick, and a pleasure to hit out of.   The bunkers at the Harbour golf course range in size from big to downright monsters. 

The slope and rating are based on playing the Shore and Harbour Nines. 

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Course Slope & Ratings

Tee Box Yardage Rating Slope
Blue 3,120 70.7 121
White 2,816 68.1 113
Gold 3,364 72.9 123
Red 2,577 74.5 128

Course Information

Course Architect:
Redesign by Jeffery Blume
Greens Type:
TIF Eagle
Greens Condition
Greens Difficulty
Fairway Condition
Bunker Condition
Beware of water on 7 holes and the 20 sand traps.

Texas Outside Rating

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


Initiation Fees: Under $10,000
Monthly Dues: $201 to $400

Service is good, the practice facilities are adequate, and the pro shop is well stocked. The members seemed overly friendly and enthusiastic about their home course. We didn’t have a chance to try the grill.



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.