Review & Rating of Grand Lakes Golf Club in Montgomery, Texas
Grand Lake Golf Course is one of those courses that you walk off and say “where have you been all my golfing life – I’m glad I finally found you!” Gary Player designed the original nine holes and the course opened in 2003 as a private club. Another nine holes were designed by Jeff Blume opened in 2007. In September 2009, improvements were made to the greens (new TIF Eagle) along with some other changes and Grand Lake opened for public play!
What a fantastic layout through some very unique and unusual Texas terrain. At times we couldn’t believe we were in Texas – we thought we were in Florida as we duffed our way through the swaying palm trees, pines, natural areas, and wetland marshes. The first seven holes wind through the trees and it’s unbelievably serene, quiet, and peaceful. At seven, the terrain changes and opens up as you play past some huge multi-acred estate homes, marshland, and woods.
Each nine is very different in part because of two different designers and significant differences in the terrain. The Gary Player designed holes include what is now holes 7 through 15 and Blume designed holes holes 1 through 6 and 16 through 18. The greens on the Player holes are smaller and Blume nine requires more target golf.
The front nine is 200 to 300 yards longer from each of the 5 sites of tee boxes (2786 to 3729 yards), has 32 bunkers, water on 6 holes, and it’s a par 37 with 3 par 5s. Some of the holes that we really liked on the front nine included:
#3 is a fun 383-yard dogleg left – it’s easy to overrun the fairway and end up lost in the trees, so play your shot left and over the mounds and then you’ll have an easy downhill shot over a creek to a green with a big bunker on the back left side
#8 is a challenging 162-yard par 3 island green with little room for error
#9 is a fun 525-yard par 5 with a slight dogleg left and then a sharp left over a creek to the green
The back nine seems a little easier (par 35), a little more open, and in not quite as good condition as the front. Some of our favorite holes on this nine are:
#11 is a 474-yard par 4 with a slightly elevated tee box, a natural area to carry off the tee box, a gully and natural area that will catch your ball 100 yeards in the green which is guarded by large left and right bunkers
#18 is fun – a 408-yard 90-degree dogleg right and downhill across a creek to a green guarded by 4 bunkers – a great risk-reward shot off the tee box if you think you can miss a huge and carry some trees to significantly shorten the hole
The fairways were not in the best condition (a mix of grass, weeds, and a few bare spots) and they range from tight and tree-lined to wide-open landing zones. All the fairways are heavily contoured and rolling with mounds, valleys, and several forced carries over natural areas and creeks. The fairways were firm and dry, which means lots of extra roll. The rough is thin and playable, but if you miss it and the fairway, kiss your ball goodbye, take a penalty stroke, and carry on.
The greens were in fair condition, a wide variety of shapes and sizes, and most are raised and guarded by bunkers, mounds, and/or swales. Most of the greens were easy to read and they ran true but a little slow – around an 8 or so.
The bunkers on front nine had good sand (soft and a tad thin) and steep faces. They ranged in size from some small pot bunkers to some huge nasty monsters. The bunkers on the back were not in very good condition and several were overgrown with weeds and grass because they are being converted to grass bunkers or swales.