Split Rail Links & Golf Club Review

Texas Outside Rating: 9.1

Golf - Semi Private Course · 18 Holes · Par 72
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Split Rail Links & Golf Club Review

Review of Split Rail Links & Golf Club

Split Rail Links & Golf Club is a real find - excellent conditions, good variety, fun and challenging holes, and a great deal!  It's not surprising that it was given 4 stars in Golf Digest's "Places To Play.

Here are a few reasons why we love this course:

  • the layout is superb - a mixture of a true links style course and a traditional tree lined course with a lot of variety and some unique and memorable holes
  • the conditions are very good and the rate is a real value for such a quality course
  • there are some long par 5's (611 and 566 yards) and some short (from the forward tees) but tricky par 3's
  • its fair but demanding and requires some shot making and course management skills to score well
  • the green complexes are challenging - raised and well guarded by a mixture of bunkers, swales, and mounds and the greens are huge but have lots of slope and contour
  • it's very scenic with a mixture of trees, tall mounds and swales, lakes and ponds, a cascading water fall, and some huge beautiful homes
  • the pace of play is excellent

To score well on Split Rail Links & Golf Club you're going to need select the right set of tee boxes (there are 5 of them with yardages of 5392 to 7353 yards), take advantage of some risk reward opportunities on a couple holes, apply some shot making skills off the tee and on the approaches, and manage the strategically placed bunkers, mounding, and complex greens. 

But don't let the keep you from playing Split Rail - you'll love this course and several of the holes are a blast to play, for example:

  • #5 offers a good risk reward opportunity to try and carry more of the lake to make this dog leg left  #1 handicap 455 yard par 4 a little shorter - long hitters may over-shot the fairway and end up in the mounds or trees and from the tips some trees block trying to take the safe route to the right which requires less carry over the lake
  • #8 looks like an easy 170 yard par 3 to a raised green with tall mounds on the left and a drop off on the right but what makes it tough is that from the tee box you can't see the the 4 steep and deep bunkers surrounding the green
  • #10 is a beautiful hole with a cascading rock waterfall and an uphill dog leg right 422 yard par 4 past lots of mounds and a couple bunkers waiting for your tee shot to a green with a huge tier - plus two beautiful huge homes on the right side of the fairway
  • #12 is one of those "WOW" holes - an elevated tee box with a tee shot landing zone that is pinched by two large bunkers followed by a lake on both sides of the fairway and two bunkers guarding the green
  • #18 (a 542 yard par 5) is one of those holes you can't wait to play again - from the tee box it's a slight uphill shot that needs to avoid 3 huge bunkers that pinch the landing zone and then it's decision time thanks to several huge mounds and some swales that split the fairway - the left side looks safer but it's a narrow fairway and an uphill shot over a bunker to the green while the right side is shorter with a better approach shot but it's much tighter and risker thanks to the mounding, trees, and a very narrow fairway

When we played in October the fairways were in very good condition as was the rough.  There were a few bare spots in the rough and on some of the mounds but nothing that distracts from your game.  The fairways range from wide and forgiving off the tee box (bring out the big dog and let- er-rip) to tight with several tee shots where you need to fly the trees or thread the slot between them.  The fairways have some gentle ups and down and plenty of contour.  The rough was wide and cut very thin and playable - but miss it and you're stuck on a mound, lost in the trees, out of bounds, or in a back yard.

The greens at Split Rail Links & Golf Club are a large part of what makes the slope and rating so high - 76.2 and 138 from the tips.  The majority of the greens are huge but they are raised, well guarded by pot to gigantic bunkers, and surrounded by berms and swales.  Plus they have plenty of slope and undulation and some tiers and ridges.  The greens were running at a good speed (10 or so), ran true and smooth, held the ball well, and were in very good condition.  A few greens had some minor damage around the fringe.

The bunkers at Split Rail are strategically placed around the greens as well as your tee shot landing zone.  They range in size from a small deep pot bunker to some huge monsters and a few are steep and deep.  It rained the day before we played so it was had judging the condition because they were still wet and some had huge puddles of water, however we would guess that the sand is a little gritty and fairly thin and could be challenging to get under the ball. 

The greens and mounding are a large part of what defines Split Rail.  The greens are challenging and the mounds range from small to huge, there are lots of them along the fairways and surrounding the greens, and most have clusters of thick natural grasses that can devour your ball and make for a very tough shot if you land in them. 

Bottom line - a fantastic layout that's fun, memorable and demanding but fair and an excellent value for such a quality course.  A must play!

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Course Slope & Ratings

Tee Box Yardage Rating Slope
Black 7,353 76.2 138
Blue 6,613 71.6 131
White 6,182 69.4 130
Gold 6,966 73.8 136
Red 5,392 72.4 129

Course Information

Course Architect:
Phil Lumsden
Greens Type:
Greens Condition
Greens Difficulty
Fairway Condition
Bunker Condition
Beware of water on 13 holes and the 51 sand traps.

Texas Outside Rating

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


Approximate Weekend
$39.00 to $49.00

Split Rail is working out of a trailer for a clubhouse until a new clubhouse is built. As such there is no bar, limited golf supplies, and food is limited to hand made sandwiches, dogs, and more. Service is very good and the cart lady seemed to show up every 3 or 4 holes. Pace of play is very good. Practice facilities are good.



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.