WinStar Golf Course - East Course Review

Texas Outside Rating: 8.4

Golf - Resort Public Course · 9 Holes · Par 36
Thackerville, OK

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WinStar Golf Course - East Course Review

Just across the Texas border is WinStar World Casino which is home to a championship golf course designed by D. A. Weibring.  The WinStar Golf Course has 27 very good holes plus an upscale multi-function 10,000 square foot clubhouse with a well stocked pro shop, men’s and women’s locker room, the Legends Bar & Grill, a great outdoor patio, and some banquet and meeting rooms.  In addition, adjacent to the Clubhouse is the WinStar Golf Academy which is the place to go for lessons, club fitting, clinics, and golf schools.  The well done Golf Academy also has a fitness center, covered driving range, putting green, chipping and bunker area, golf simulator, and more. 

WinStar Golf Course was designed by D.A. Weibring and Golf Course Architect Steve Wolfard and they created a very “Golfer Friendly” 27-hole layout that is suitable for all levels of play from the beginners to the pros.  There are five sets of tee boxes with yardages on each nine from 2439 to 3621 yards, the fairways are wide and forgiving, the greens are relatively flat and smooth, and there are several recovery areas.  Pick the right set of tee boxes and you'll have a very relaxing and enjoyable round of golf with an opportunity to turn in a good score.

Owned and operated by the Chickasaw Nation, WinStar opened in 2006 with 18 holes and was nominated for Golf Digest's "Best New Public Golf Course Award" and Avid Golfer rated it "Best New Course in 2006." In January 2009 they opened another nine creating the East, West, and South course.   Each of the courses is a little different from the others, for example:

  • The West Nine has three of the original 18 holes and six new holes and it’s mostly a links style course with a couple tree lined holes and it is considered the most straightforward and easiest of the nines here is a link to our review of the West Nine
  • The East Nine is what used to be the front nine of the original course and it is a links style course with wide open sweeping fairways and native areas
  • The South Nine is a mixture of six of the original back nine and three new holes which makes it a combination of a links style plus three tree lined holes and it is regarded as the hardest of the nines – read our review of the South Nine to learn more about this nine

Common to all three of the WinStar courses are:

  • Very good conditions with near perfect above average size greens
  • Well maintained and manicured common areas and natural areas
  • Very good service and upscale amenities
  • Great carts with a good GPS
  • Resort style wide and forgiving fairways
  • Enough bunkers and hazards on each nine that you need to pay attention to where they are
  • Some fun holes and an opportunity to turn in a good score

If you gamble at the WinStar Casino, make sure you win enough money to play all 27 holes on WinStar Golf Course.  After your round, take your golf winnings and double down at the Casino.

WinStar’s East Nine is characterized by wide forgiving fairways, huge greens with minor slope and undulation, a couple water holes, and 20 bunkers that you need to avoid.  This was our highest rated nine primarily thanks to some fun holes and overall better conditions because all nine fairways, roughs, and natural areas were part of the original course and the course is much more mature. 

WinStar's East Nine we really liked the use of natural areas (a combination of natural sand and native grasses), some strategically placed bunkers, and the last two holes.  #8 is a 408 yard par with a sharp dog leg left and a great risk reward opportunity off the tee box if you think you can carry the natural area and large fairway bunker to shorten the hole.  The finishing hole on East is fantastic – a 182 yard par three that requires a precise shot down a narrow fairway with a lake from tee to cup on the left and a big bunker and ridge along the right side of the green.

The fairways on the East Nine at WinStar are wide and forgiving and relatively flat and straightforward - what you see is what your get.  If you miss the fairway, the wide rough is playable but after that you’re in a natural area, under a scattering of trees, or in the next fairway.  All of the fairways on this nine were in very good condition in spite of a harsh winter and dry hot summer.  There were a few brown spots where sprinklers didn’t cover and there wasn’t enough rain to keep them green.  The East Nine has several large natural areas with a mixture of native grasses and natural sand - if you land in the grass area, you may have a problem recovering. 

The greens are on the large side and relatively flat with some subtle breaks.  When we played they were in near perfect condition, ran true and at good speed (around a nine to ten), and five are guarded by one bunker and the rest by two bunkers.  You'll love these greens and one or two putts are common.

The bunkers range in size and shape and most are guarding the greens.  It had rained the day before we played so the sand was a little wet and heavy.  Normally the sand is thick and soft and fluffy.  The bunker lips are manageable. There are plans to redo 35 of the bunkers to improve drainage. 

WinStar has an excellent Stay & Play package that you should check out.  You can stay in the WinStar Hotel or camp in the WinStar RV Park.  Read our article about our stay at WinStar Hotel.

Bottom line – good conditions, a pretty good value, and some fun holes make for a relaxing and enjoyable round.

Head Pro's Corner

Mike Hammond (Director of Golf) and Buddy Fichera, General Manager of WinStar Golf Academy, wanted to make sure that you were aware of their fantastic Golf Academy - stop by and take a lesson during your next visit.

The Winstar Golf Academy is an intentional blend of world-class instructors, a progressive and effective curriculum, and a state-of-the-art facility.  We are proud to introduce all of this within a world-class WinStar Casino and Resort destination.  Our 4,850 square. foot academy facility was created entirely with our Academy’s curriculum in mind. This marriage of form and function acts to create the best learning environment and experience for our members and students.  Our facility includes: 

  • 27 Hole D.A. Weibring designed Golf Course
  • SAM® (Science and Motion) Putter Fitting & Practice Studio
  • TPI®/LifeFitness® Fitness Room
  • 2 Indoor/Outdoor Heated Hitting Bays
  • 2 PGA TOUR® AboutGolf Simulating Studios
  • 1 Trackman – Range Unit
  • Custom Club Fitting Center
  • TITLEIST® Golf Ball Fitting Studio
  • Mindfulness and Stretching Rooms
  • Locker Rooms and Showers
  • Academy Lounge Recreation/Meeting Room
  • Adidias-Sponsored Pro Shop
  • 8 Covered Outdoor Hitting Bays
  • Outdoor Grass Driving Range
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Course Slope & Ratings

Tee Box Yardage Rating Slope
Black 3,593 37.3 123
Blue 3,163 34.9 115
White 2,948 33.8 111
Gold 3,376 35.9 118
Red 2,439 34.2 111

Course Information

Course Architect:
D A Weibring
Greens Type:
MiniVerde Bermuda
Greens Condition
Greens Difficulty
Fairway Condition
Bunker Condition
Course Map
Beware of water on 2 holes and the 20 sand traps.

Texas Outside Rating

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


Approximate Weekend
$43.00 to $69.00

Service was very friendly and you'll find an expansive practice facility, beautiful clubhouse with locker rooms, oak paneled Bar & Grill, banquet facilities, and large patio with a remarkable panoramic view. The food is great and the pro shop has everything you'll need. The Philly Cheese Steak is fantastic.



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.