Review and Rating of Woodland Hills Golf Club in Nacogdoches
Woodland Hills Golf Club, located in the piney forests and rolling hills just south of Nacogdoches opened for play in 1971 and was rated in Golf Digest's 2008-2009 "Best Places to Play." The designer, Don January, did a very good job of taking advantage of the natural rolling terrain as he carved this fun 18 holes out of the hardwood forest.
The front nine is pretty traditional and straight forward but the first time you play it you may find it a tad challenging thanks to some elevation changes, a couple blind shots, minor dog lets, and the fairly narrow, gently sloping, and tree lined fairways. Most of the greens are straight in front of you with no tricks, bunkers, or other hazards to get in you way, Number 9 is a good example of what you will encounter on the front nine - it's a short 256 yard par 4 with an elevated tee box and lots of up and downs on the fairly tight fairway leading to an uphill green that is a slight dog left. This is a nine where you can kick back, let-it-rip and have a good round if you can keep the ball in the fairway.
We liked the back nine a lot - it is more scenic, has some fun and challenging holes, and offers a little more variety. Number 10 gives you a taste of what you're up against on this nine - from an elevated tee box you need to carry a natural area and small creek, position the drive to allow you to make the dog left shot up hill and then back down to the green, which is small and has severe slope off the right toward a pond and off the back toward the forest. On this nine you'll have to manage elevated tee boxes, uphill greens, forced carries over water, blind shots, ponds, and some dog legs.
But what really tests your game are the greens which are very small (13 to 29 yards long) and narrow and either elevated or downhill. To score well you need to find a way to hit them and stick on them. The good news is that once you're on the green, they are easy to read and putt - 3 putts were rare for us! Number 14 is an example - from an elevated tee box you need to carry a large pond 183 yards to a small oval green that has a diameter of about 13 yards! Short shots are in the water and long shots are up a small hill with a challenging chip to the pin.
When we played in the middle of May 2010 the course was still trying to recover from three rounds of snow, including a record snowfall of over 4 inches - none of which is good for the greens or fairways. The front nine greens were really hit hard and as such were in below average condition - the back nine greens were in a little better condition. Normally, the greens would be an 8 or so. The greens are small to tiny, flat to very gently sloping, and a little slow and bumpy when we played.
The fairways are carved out of a dense hardwood forest and until #7 (a few houses are set back off the fairway) all you see are trees. The peace and quiet is fantastic - all you hear are birds chirping, woodpeckers pecking, golf balls ricocheting off the trees, and then occasional swear words! The fairways are ample and the rough is playable and in most cases you can let-er-rip from the tee box - but if you spray the ball left or right and you might as well reload unless you brought a chain saw to help you find your ball. The fairways were starting to recover when we played but still had a lot of patchy or bare spots. We were told that the course would normally be a 7 to 8 on our condition scale.
This is a course where you can come out and have a fun relaxing round, at a good value, and be be treated like you are family. Make sure you stop by if you're in the area. Better yet book a room at the quaint Pine Creek Country Inn and take advantage of their golf Stay & Play package.
Rates: $30.00 to $38.00
Facilities are a little dated, the pro shop has the basics, food is limited to dogs and a couple other items, and service is very friendly.
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.