The Challenge at Oak Forest is one of the seven excellent east Texas golf courses that is owned and managed by the Challenge Golf Group. Oak Forest golf course is a private course and since we don't play a lot of private courses, we had forgotten what a joy it is to play a member only course because they typically:
All of that and more holds true for The Challenge at Oak Forrest - the fairways (despite the severe Texas drought) were in very good condition from tee box to the pin and they weren't covered with divot holes; the greens were close to perfect and held the ball well; there are some fun and demanding holes; and we played a round during prime time in a little over 3 hours with no waiting! Can't get much better than that!
The Challenge at Oak Forest is defined by the meandering Grace and Ray Creeks that play along side of or across almost every hole. This is a course where if you can't keep the ball in the fairway you're not going to be happy with your score and most likely you'll be buying the drinks - spray the ball left you're going to be lost in the creek or slice it and you're OB is someone's back yard. The fairways are ample and most have a very playable wide rough so you need to do whatever it takes to stay in them if you want to turn in a respectable score.
The Challenge at Oak Forest golf course also puts a premium on your approach shots. Some of the greens are raised, most have several portions of the green with severe slope to a collection area, and the majority are guarded by the creek, one or two bunkers, trees, or natural areas. The good news is they are about average size, hold the ball well, run true and smooth, and most of the greens have a two to three foot puttable fringe, which in several cases stopped my ball from rolling off the green and back into the fairway. The bad news is that they also have some severe slope, undulation, and ridges - pin placement can be a killer.
The terrain at Oak Forest golf course is mostly flat with a couple holes that have an elevated green or an elevated tee box. The fairways play through a very nice housing development with some large beautiful homes lining the right side of the fairway. The contrast of the tall east Texas pines, the lush greens and fairways, the white sand bunkers, and some stunning homes make a round at The Challenge at Oak Forest aesthetically very pleasing.
The front nine is a little more scenic, seems a couple strokes harder, and has some of the more interesting holes. But both nines offer good conditions, scenic beauty, and challenging greens, and some fun and demanding holes like:
More good news - The Challenge at Oak Forest golf course is private but available for outside play with a member, with reciprocal rights, or as a part of playing the Azalea Trail. The Azalea Trail includes 7 fantastic courses, each with their own unique personality, characteristics, and challenges. Find some time to play all 7, you won't regret it.
Initiation Fees: Under $10,000
Monthly Dues: $201 to $400
Service is ok, the pro shop is well stocked with a little bit of everything, and the practice facilities are adequate. As a member you can enjoy tennis courts, pool, card room, men's and women's locker rooms, banquet facility, lounge, fitness center, and more.
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.