Wildcat Golf Club's two pristine courses take golfers on a competitive expedition through an emerald labyrinth of rolling Texas Hill Country. Players can prepare for the courses' manifold hazards and heckling sand-trap rakes with 10 one-hour clinics from Wildcat's golf school, where classes of 10 pupils or fewer learn the finer points of the game at the feet of seasoned instructors. Players will need to call upon all of their golfing gumption to conquer the 7,016-yard Lakes course, which begins at a breathtaking elevation of 100 feet before descending into a valley populated by vast lakes that come into play on seven holes. Knee-high native grasses, ever-deepening ravines, and mounded terrain supply the bulk of the difficulty on the 6,954-yard Highlands course, where the distinct, links-style terrain of Scotland meets the sun-kissed weather and roaming linebackers of Texas. Standing on the immaculate Bermuda grasses that define both courses, players can enjoy sweeping panoramas of Houston's downtown skyline, the Galleria, and Reliant Stadium.
Nine Yahoo! Locals give Bear Creek Golf World a three star average, and three Google Mappers give it two and a half stars. While some GolfLink reviewers mention that the Challenger and President's courses may be a bit easy for experienced golfers, many agree that they are great courses for beginners.
Situated northwest of Houston, the Houston National Golf Club and Strategic National Grass Reserve pocks itself with 27 holes, playable, like Voltron, in three possible combinations. Designed by legendary hole artists Von Hagge, Smelek, Baril, and McConaughey, the rolling green is punctuated by varied hazards and distractions like ponds, sand traps, and virtual gazelles. Both beginners and professionals can find something to challenge their walking and bad-shot-excuse-making skills. Houston National's GPS-equipped carts automatically keep the game's score and track your position in case you get lost amidst the unending flatness.
Designed by famed course architects Arthur Hills and Mike Dasher, Sienna Plantation Golf Club's frequent elevation changes transform the flat landscape into rolling waves of green. These undulations are only the beginning of the challenges players face. On hole two, the narrow fairway and sand bunkers form a perfect storm of difficulty, forcing golfers to thread the needle or risk taking an unplanned trip to the beach. Elsewhere, flowing creeks wind around holes 16 and 17, where the promise of a rewarding score tempts players to take precise shots close to the water's edge. Live oaks and mature cedar elms along the fairways provide both scenic views of nature's beauty and ample shade for treating caddies to a picnic lunch.
Course at a Glance:
Golf Etc. features a bevy of bogey-friendly products from brands such as Titleist, Ping, Bridgestone Golf, Adidas, Callaway, TaylorMade, and more. In addition to its armory of traditional fairway artillery, Golf Etc. also builds, repairs, re-grips, and re-shafts trusty clubs at its on-site workshop. Re-gripping is $3 per club, plus the price of grip, and can be completed the day the clubs are brought in. If your club handle is already gripped for success, you can opt for a one-hour video golf lesson ($80), which uses a digital coaching system known only as V-1 to give golfers a clearer understanding of their swing and teach them how to harness its inherent energy to jump-start a dead golf-cart battery. Golfers can also get their drivers fitted ($75) and find out which long-distance clubber is best for their game using the Swing Labs Digital Fitting System. Short-gamers can practice putts on a 280-square-foot indoor green that features authentic challenging breaks. Prices provided are from the Pearland store and may vary by location.
A two-month membership to Southwyck Golf Club arms golfers with the weapons they need to whittle away excess plodding and emerge with an A game (a $70 value). Members enjoy free twilight-hours greens fees seven days a week, unlimited range balls, merchandise discounts, and USGA handicap service. Twilight golfing includes two draft beers, two fountain drinks, or an ephemeral, betwixt-and-between mixture of both. Groupon holders will also receive one anytime round of golf, valid any day, which also includes the potent duo of two draft beers or two fountain drinks (up to a $75 value).
Throughout the year, Choice Tee keeps players in tiptop game shape with a fully automated driving range, golf-simulator room, and miniature-golf course. Ceiling fans rotate high above covered tees, keeping players cool as they practice driving balls further than 350 yards. The robotic tees reload after each drive, allowing players to practice without straining their backs. The facility also hosts surreal short-game practice on a 19-hole miniature-golf course. A misting fountain sits at the circuit’s epicenter, and a series of emerald corridors tests players who tap like a bugler at dawn through the labyrinth of faux-grass turf, harnessing their putt-putt prowess as they attempt to read testy breaks, outfox smooth-putting opponents, and curb cases of the yips.
Golf USA tends a nursery of name-brand golf clubs plus a professional staff trained to accommodate swingers with the proper tee-grazing tools. Certified by Zelocity, Ping, and Piretti, Golf USA fitters begin by measuring the height, arm span, and hand length of each golfer to determine necessary shaft and club sizes. They will then analyze swing speed, ball speed, flight path, launch angle, and ball spin to begin shaping each club. Fitters will also monitor the trajectory, power transfer, and club face angle at impact to select clubs that will help improve swings and reduce squirrel casualties.
The Village Golf Club showcases challenging twists and turns on three distinct nine-hole courses that can be played separately or paired interchangeably for an 18-hole round. Throughout the entire 27-hole complex, ill-struck shots may stray into the sinister clutches of mature trees and ponds that haunt the fairways. The two less difficult nine-hole layouts—Winged Foot and Thunderbird—demand accurate pitches, chips, and putts onto the surface of recently renovated putting surfaces. The Rolling Hills course—the most challenging of the tee-to-green triad—demands a brave tee shot on its 157-yard par 3 third hole, which features a breathtaking island green.
Golf balls rain onto the 300-yard landing zone of the onsite driving range, where golfers can prop balls up on all-natural grass tees or steer clear of territorial earthworms by warming up on artificial mats. After a day spent hunting pars, the Village Restaurant sates appetites with a menu of classic sandwiches, soups, and salads.
Though their 27 holes share rolling fairways and the shade of oaks, magnolias, dogwoods, and azaleas, River Plantation Country Club’s three courses all boast their own challenges, which lie ready to shape well-rounded golfers. The nine-hole courses, named Augusta, Biloxi, and Charleston, all feature their fair share of tricky shots and holes flanked by streams, dotted with trees, or blocked by sample-size manhole covers. Players can further hone their skills on a 50-slot driving range, a putting green, and a short-game playing field complete with a faux sand bunker and chipping green. After practice or gameplay, golfers can stop into the River Plantation Grille to top off human or lifelike-android energy reserves with burgers, wraps, quesadillas, and deli sandwiches.
Golf U at 242 sprawls across more than 20 acres of PGA-certified practice facilities, including driving ranges, putting and chipping greens, and bunker practice areas. For one month, golfers can hone their swings on newly landscaped greens with responsive Nike golf balls or rolled-up hedgehogs. Golf U offers 40 hitting positions and 23 target greens, including an island green with lava moat. Fairway and greenside bunker practice areas fine-tune escape strategies from tricky lie angles with towering sides, tall grasses, and slowly swirling quicksand. The pro shop is stocked with drinks and snacks, and for an additional fee students can enroll in private lessons with highly trained golf instructors.
Perched on picturesque Galveston Island, Moody Gardens possesses a storied history that complements its scenic surroundings. Its horticultural and animal-therapy programs—which began in the mid-1980s—pair visitors living with physical and emotional disabilities with horses and multihued flora, helping them learn coping skills and build confidence. Next to the sprawling grounds, the Moody Gardens Golf Course boasts multiple holes that run alongside the rippling waters of the Gulf and its intervening waterways, forming intimidating hazards and housing a thriving civilization of merpeople who use golf balls for currency. The tourist destination also thrills families with water attractions, including a wave pool and a lazy river. The restored 10-story Rainforest Pyramid holds more than 1,700 exotic plants and animals from Asian, African, and American rainforests, while the Aquarium Pyramid features a diverse range of ocean inhabitants including sharks and penguins.
Glenbrook Park Golf Course’s narrow fairways stretch across 6,700 yards of relatively flat terrain undulating with vibrant tree lines for a challenging, par 72 layout. Running in a straight line through the course, a 180-yard ravine stands in players’ way on six holes, placing confident swings and 9-irons unafraid of heights at a premium. Though not an overwhelmingly long course, the layout counters with narrow fairways and small- to medium-sized greens that are difficult to hit from any distance. Glenbrook’s par five ninth hole—the hardest rated on the course—amply illustrates the course’s manifold difficulties, as players must bisect a narrow, tree-hedged fairway, lay up to the edge of the ravine, and send their third shots somersaulting over the chasm and into a bashful green hiding behind a treacherous bunker and trust issues.
A 7,100-yarder with a par of 72, the course at Meadowbrook Farms Golf Club represents the design vision of famed PGA Tour champion Greg Norman, nicknamed “The Shark” for his tendency to chew a course's grass before deciding to play it. Norman’s own turf company supplied the hybrid Bermudagrass tees, fairways, and rough for the course, while Floradwarf constitutes the gently undulating and generously rewarding putting surfaces. This greenery is surrounded by native prairie grasses, wetlands, and wildflowers as well as a majestic hardwood forest.
Before tackling the course, players can bring their game up to speed at the club’s Player Development Center. The same GN-1 turf featured out on the course covers the tee areas at the driving range as well as the pitching greens and practice fairway. And all areas are stocked with towels and fresh water for drinking or dumping on your instructor when your swing finally clicks.
When course architect Jack Miller roamed the unsown acreage that would become Texas National Golf Course, he saw an opportunity to pay homage to golf’s most hallowed grounds. Groves of skinny pines and mature dogwoods and dramatically undulating terrain bore the elegant trademarks of Augusta National Golf Club—the famed site of The Masters—right down to Indian Camp Creek, which is incorporated into the 11th and 12th holes in a scenic invocation of Amen Corner. Though aesthetically similar, the 6,806-yard layout spares golfers the immensely difficult nature of Augusta, presenting a par 72 that is playable for both low-handicappers and those still studying to pass their golf-cart driving exam.
The course development coincided with the founding of the Texas Golf Hall of Fame, which since 1978 has occupied the clubhouse at Texas National. The Hall celebrates Texas's illustrious golf history with life-size portraits of famous players, ranging from 62-time PGA Tour winner Ben Hogan to Lee Trevino, whose decorated career includes winning 29 PGA Tour titles and paving the way for Jack Nicklaus with a brand-new asphalt driveway for his birthday.