Review and Rating of Mill Creek Country Club in Salado Texas
Mill Creek Country Club in Salado is home to three nines that were designed by Robert Trent Jones in 1983. Each of the nines has it's own personality and characteristics:
- Creek 1 is a par 37 and the hardest of the nines thanks to water on six holes, 19 bunkers, and some tough approach shots – read Texas Outside's review of Creek 1 to learn more
- Creek 2 is the shortest of the nines, the most traditional with tree-lined fairways, water that can come into play on 7 of 9 holes, greens that are a little faster but flatter, 28 bunkers, elevation changes, and doglegs – this nine requires some target golf and good shot-making
- Creek 3 is a 3258-yard par 34 (one par 5, 3 par 3s, and 5 par 4s) that is a mix of tree-lined fairways and several wide links-style fairways plus 26 bunkers and water on 3 holes – here's a link to Texas Outside's Review & Rating of Creek 3
Common to all three nines are traditional Robert Trent Jones, Jr designs (with near-sadistic use of huge bunkers, ponds, and creeks), pretty good conditions, very reasonable rates, friendly service, and a great grill.
In 2009 the Creeks 1 course was devastated with a 100-year flood and a 500-year flood in 2010 which closed the course for quite a while. The greens were wiped out and subsequently redone with Tif Eagle grass, over beautiful oak trees were destroyed, and several of the bunkers were ruined and then converted to grass bunkers. Part of what makes the Creek 1 nine the toughest of the three nines is that it's the longest from all four tee boxes, the meandering Salado Creek can come into play on 5 different holes, and 19 bunkers are challenging. This nine requires some good shot-making skills to score well. Creeks 1 is short (2736 to 3324 yards) from all 4 tees, which makes it playable and fun for all skill levels.
Some of the holes that we really liked on Creek 1 include:
- #3 is the signature "heart of Texas hole" – a 340-yard par 4 with a dogleg right around a big bunker and then downhill to a heart shaped green with 3 bunkers surrounding 85% of the green
- #5 is a fun par 4 with a great risk-reward shot to try to fly the trees to significantly shorten this 413-yard dog leg right hole and to make it easier to carry the creek that cuts across the front of the green at 110 yards out
- #8 is another good risk-reward shot to try and carry more of Salado Creek and shorten the approach shot the green
- #9 is fun and requires some shot-making – a 517-yard par 5 that requires an accurate drive to give you a good shot across the creek and miss the trees and position you for a shot to the left toward the green
We played in mid-December the fairways were dormant and not overseeded. The fairways and rough were in good but not great condition – but very playable. Most of the fairways are flat and tree-lined and ample – miss wide and you may be able to recover with a worm burner back to the fairway. Some beautiful homes overlook some of the holes.
The bunkers range from huge to some real multi-fingered monsters with steep faces. Several of the bunkers are strategically placed in the landing zones off the tee and the rest are guarding the greens – putting a premium on your approach shots. The good news is the sand is near perfect – light, fluffy, and thick. Generally speaking they were well maintained, however a few has some matting showing.
The greens are a variety of shapes and most are very large. There is minor slope and little to no undulation. The hold the ball well and when we played they were a little bumpy, slow (8 or so), and several had some damage. All but one are well guarded.
Bottom line – a fun and fair 9 that rewards good tee shots and careful approach shots and the course has good variety, a couple elevation changes that make it fun and challenging, some fun holes, and reasonable rates.
Slope and rating are based on playing Creek 1 and Creek 2 which are the two hardest nines.
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The pro shop has a limited supply of the basics, the putting green and range are adequate, the bar and grill has a great burger and drinks, and service is very good.