Review and Rating of Twin Rivers Golf Club in Waco Texas
Update in 2018: A Texas Outside visitor just sent us an email stating: "Baylor is no longer quartered there, and the course has entered a period of decline. No longer an 8.5"
Twin Rivers Golf Club, home of the Baylor University's Golf Teams, is nestled along the banks of the Middle Bosque River and among the rolling hills just west of Waco. Designed by Peter Jacobsen and Jim Hardy, Twin Rivers is the second longest course in Texas at 7,478 yards – but don’t fret there are six sets of tee boxes to accommodate all skill levels, and if you pick the right set this course gives you the opportunity to turn in a good round.
The first tee hole gives you a little test of some of what you’ll face on the next 17 – it’s a slightly downhill blind shot to a dog leg right uphill green. The drive has to be accurate to make the turn, avoid the trees and hidden bunkers, and give you a shot at the uphill green protected by two large oaks and some swales. The first three holes have narrow tree-lined fairways while four through most of 8 are open and have a links-style feel to them. The ninth hole heads back to the tree lined fairways.
The front nine of Twin Rivers has some fun holes and some dramatic elevation changes, for example, #4 is a big downhiller with a good view of the surrounding countryside and they say on a clear day you can see Waco, but I was mostly worried about making sure I saw my ball hit the generous landing zone and avoiding the mounds, bunkers, and pond. And on #5 you may want to add two extra clubs to climb the hill to the green on this 212-yard uphill par 3 and make sure you manage the wind or you'll be in a grassy hollow.
The back nine is similar with three wide open links style holes and the rest are tree lined with several elevation changes. On this nine you’ll find a little bit of everything: dramatic elevation changes like the beautiful downhill 216 yard par 3 #14; forced carries over water (an accurate shot over the lake to the green on #12) or ravines (on #16 you have to carry two ravines), some blind shots, dog legs, and approach shots to well guarded greens.
When we played in August the fairways were in very good condition but a little dry –however, it was a 101 and we hadn’t seen any rain drops in a quite a few weeks. The dry conditions did give us a lot of extra roll and some longer than normal drives.
The Emerald dwarf Bermuda greens were in near perfect condition and some of the truest that we have putted on in Texas. We all made some amazingly long putts! Mike Hicks, the Director of Golf, told us: "Our focus has always been on the green’s first. We want to be known as the course with the best greens around" - I think he achieved that goal. The greens were fast (about a 9.5) and had a lot of slope. Most of the greens were very large and a number of the greens had a bowl shape which helped funnel the ball back toward the middle. Thanks to the heat they were hard and didn’t hold real well.
The greenside bunkers were recently redone and the sand was soft, thick, and a little gritty. The fairway bunkers had hard gritty sand, which the superintendent said was by design to make it easy to get out of – which I had the opportunity to validate a couple of times and I told him thanks. There aren’t an over abundance of bunkers, 44 scattered throughout the 18, but they are all strategically placed and if you don’t find at least one consider yourself very lucky or very good.
Bottom line – Twin Rivers is a fun and interesting track that offers the opportunity to have a memorable and low scoring round at a very reasonable price.
Rates: $25.00 to $50.00
The pro shop is well equipped, the range is adequate, the grill has some good food, and service is 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!
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.