Since 1978, players have dodged trees and chased flagsticks across the 6,602 yards that make up the 18-hole championship course at The Trails Golf Club. With just two par 5s total and two par 3s longer than 200 yards, birdie opportunities are scarce, but the course often yields to a smart strategy and threats to pour salt in a divot. Three sets of tees make the course enjoyable for all players, ranging from weekend warriors up to the extremely skilled entrants in both the Men’s and Women’s State Amateur tournaments held at the course. Instruction from PGA and LPGA professionals is also available to help any player strive for champion status.
Course at a Glance:
Prolific course architect Rocky Roquemore preserved the natural beauty of the land by sculpting tree-hemmed fairways that incorporate 14 ponds. Deer and wild turkey occasionally dart across the zoysia fairways, casually stopping to lay down their beach towels in one of the course's 100-plus sand traps. After conquering the water-guarded green of the 11th hole and carrying the ball past the water-flanked fairway of the 18th, golfers can relax by slicing into steak and seafood at the clubhouse restaurant. The lounge on the recently renovated clubhouse porch offers views of the course and adventurous players strapping on snorkeling masks to retrieve balls in the course’s waterways.
Course at a Glance:
The 18-hole course at Sugar Creek Canyon Golf Club puts golfers face-to-face with a wide variety of challenges, from violent crosswinds to treacherous sandstone ravines. Completed scorecards often tell a tale of two nines, as the wide-open front nine lulls the unwary golfer into overconfident thwacks, though the relatively flat layout brings wind into play on many bids for the green. Lack of restraint going into the back nine may be one’s undoing, as this half tacks along the edges of the course’s eponymous canyon: rolling, diving, and swelling through a gauntlet of ravines and gullies. Whereas the front nine posed few obstacles to knock down shots that drifted astray of the fairway, the back nine features plenty of cedars, grassy hillocks, and sandstone outcroppings in which to lose a ball. Holes 14–17, known collectively as The Stretch, make each player earn a score worthy of posting in the clubhouse or skywriting over an opponent’s home. The par 5 16th, for instance, demands a precise tee shot lest the ball wind up in the twin ravines that straddle the fairway landing area. After safely sidestepping these disaster zones, players must then make a difficult choice between going for the green or laying up well short, as every endeavor that lands within 75 yards of the putting surface winds up in the bunker or deep rough.
Though players must adapt to a number of scenarios, course designer and longtime professional player Mark Hayes made sure that each hole adheres to a common theme of pristine conditions and playability for all levels of golfer, with four tee options at each hole. Sugar Creek Canyon also hosts tournaments every year.
Course at a Glance:
The area surrounding Nocona Lake doesn't exactly lack for leisurely pursuits. People flock to the water by the thousands for fishing, jet skiing, and relaxation enjoyed amid the lake's natural outdoorsy splendor. Therefore, attempts to keep visitors on dry land have a high bar to clear. The golf course at Nocona Hills Country Club succeeds at this unenviable task. Players cruise through the same woodsy ambiance as they notch scores on the 18-hole course, collecting birdies on the smooth Bermuda grass greens and befriending the squirrel community in the dense surrounding oak forest. Lest players be lulled into complacency by their serene surroundings, the course keeps them alert with frequent elevation changes—especially on the seventh hole's 150-yard, entirely-downhill tee shot.