The Village Golf Club - Thunderbird Nine Review

Texas Outside Rating: 7.3

Golf - Public Course · 9 Holes · Par 36
Panorama Village
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The Village Golf Club - Thunderbird Nine Review

The Village Golf Club is owned by the City of Panorama Village and managed by Billy Casper Golf.  With five sets of tee boxes and yardages ranging from 2629 to 3443 yards, each of the three nines is suitable for all levels of play.  The tips are demanding for the low handicappers and the forward tees are great for beginners, seniors, or ladies. 

The Village Golf Club is home to three different nine hole layouts which meander throughout the quiet and quaint community:

  • Winged Foot is the longest and the toughest of the three nines with a formidable slope of 73.5 and rating of 143 - read our review of Winged Foot
  • Thunderbird is regarded as the easiest and is much more traditional and straightforward
  • Rolling Hills is the middle of the roader but it's  no walk in the park - 3426 yards, slope of 74.1, and rating of 137 - we haven't had a chance to play Rolling Hills

Thunderbird is a very traditional and straightforward layout and from the tee box you can typically see the pin and what you're up against - which isn't a lot..  All of the holes but one are straight ahead through tree lined fairways to smallish greens with at least one bunker.   if you can keep the ball out of the trees and stuff it on the green on your approach shot (not that easy), you'll have a relaxing and low score round. 

The last four holes make this nine.  #6 is a straight 371 yard uphill shot to a green with two bunkers guarding the front of it.  #7 is a demanding 214 yard downhill shot to  a green with little room for error.  #8 is a 528 yard par five with a cement gully along the entire right side that is waiting for any balls that stray to the right.  And #9 is a fun 386 yard (#1 handicap) hole with a good risk reward shot to try and hug the right side of this dog right plus a challenging narrow approach shot downhill shot to a green with three bunkers and a pond on each side of the front of the green.  This hole will make you want to play Thunderbird again.

The fairways were still transitioning from record heat and a severe drought and as such they were thin and spotty.  The rough was indistinguishable from the fairways.  The Thunderbird fairways are tree lined with homes that can come into play and most are a tad tight - spray the ball and you're not going to have a good round. 

The greens at The Villages Golf Club were in pretty good shape, ran at a good speed of around 8 to 9, and held the ball pretty well.  All of the Thunderbird green shape some slope ranging from severe to gentle - stay in front of the pin.  They are a variety of shapes and sizes and but most seemed a tad small and all are guarded by at least one bunker making for a demanding approach shot. 

The bunkers were in pretty good shape but the sand was  a little firm and thin from our perspective.  All of the bunkers guard the greens so you don't have to worry about any fairway bunkers.  The lips are reasonable, 4 to 8 inches, but you're not going to hit the bunkers and roll out!

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Course Slope & Ratings

Tee Box Yardage Rating Slope
Black 3,306 73.4 139
Blue 3,046 70.1 133
White 2,697 67.1 115
Gold 3,155 71.4 136
Red 2,697 71.8 123

Course Information

Greens Type:
Mini Verde
Greens Condition
Greens Difficulty
Fairway Condition
Bunker Condition
Beware of water on 1 holes and the 15 sand traps.

Texas Outside Rating

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


Approximate Weekend
$22.00 to $39.00

Service is good and the cart lady shows up on time. The practice facilities are adequate and the pro shop has the basics. The bar, restaurant, and patio are very good and the lunch we had was 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.