Firewheel at Garland Golf Course has a total of 63 holes of very good golf — the Lakes, Old Course, and the Bridges which is home to three unique nines. Owned and operated by the City of Garland, each of the courses has its own unique personality and characteristics:
- The Old Course was built in 1984 and has 18 holes that consist of gently rolling terrain, tree lined fairways, 65 strategically placed bunkers, and slow moving streams winding throughout the course
- The 18 hole Lakes Course is the longest (7134) and toughest of the courses thanks to tight fairways, carries over ten lakes, and 52 big faced bunkers – they say "if the Bridges course has teeth, the Lakes Course has fangs"
The Bridges is the newest of the courses and was completed in 2001 and it is located about 3 miles from the Lakes and Old Course Clubhouse. The Bridges has it's own clubhouse and is home to three different nine hole courses with bent grass greens, sculpted fairways lined with oak and pecan trees, and two creeks that meander throughout the course.
- The Masters is the longest (3553 yards) and toughest and most fun of the three nines with tight tree lined fairways, water on 5 holes, and 35 bunkers
- The Champions is the easiest with more forgiving and relatively flat fairways, some of which are side by side but water on 7 holes and 27 sand traps of all shapes and sizes can cause your problems
- The Traditions is the middle of the roader and the shortest (3202 yards from the tips) but 4 lakes and a stream plus well guarded greens can make this nine challenging and fun
All three nines were designed by Dick Phelps and common to all of the Bridges nines are bent grass greens, very good conditions, an outstanding burger at the Branding Iron Restaurant, an excellent GPS, good service, and a fantastic rate for such a quality course.
We are not big fans of side by side holes and there are several of them on the Champion nine. If you can overlook that and stay in the fairway and hold the greens, you'll have a good fun round – this is a good nine with lots of variety, good conditions, and some fun holes.
There are some interesting holes like:
- #3 a 404 yard par 4 with water on both sides and 3 fairway bunkers and a tough approach shot to the green guarded by 4 bunkers
- #4 gives you a good risk reward opportunity off the tee box to try and fly more of the lake to make this a shorter 402 yard dog leg left
- the #1 handicap 9th hole can be a bear – 545 yards with three big fairway bunkers in your landing zone – one of which is in the middle of the fairway – plus two more protecting the right side of the green which has little room for error
Texas had suffered a tough year in 2011 that had impacted the conditions of all golf courses – a harsh cold winter, severe drought, and record heat took a toll. We were surprised with the excellent condition of the roughs and fairways at Firewheel's Champion nine. Most of the fairways were near perfect, except for a lot of divots. The fairways are tree lined or side by side and most are ample – miss the fairway on the tree side and you're most likely lost.
When we played The Champion the bunkers were wet and not playable thanks to a badly needed rain. The bunkers range in size from small pot sized to some real monsters and most are steep faced. It was hard to tell what the sand was like, but my guess would be it's pretty good but firm.
The greens were recovering from the harsh conditions and some had rough spots and damage that could impact your putts. They were soft, held the ball well, and ran true and at a good speed of around 10. Most had some slope and subtle breaks that require careful study before you putt. The greens at the Bridges vary is size and shape but most are large, but what makes them challenging is the slope as well as the fact that all are raised and well guarded. Hit short and you're likely to roll back to the fairway and long will typically lead to trouble off the back side.
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Service is very good and attentive, the pro shop is well stocked, the Branding Iron Restaurant serves some good food with a view of the course (the burger is outstanding), and the practice facilities are adequate.
Wendy set us up last time