Just south of Tyler, is Oak Hurst, a fun and challenging course that was designed by Carlton Gipson and opened for play in 1993. Carlton has designed a number of courses throughout the United States and over the years Oak Hurst has been recognized as "Diamonds in the Rough" by Dallas Morning News and it was awarded "Best Public Golf Course" by the readers of B-Scene magazine. Oak Hurst is an enjoyable course to play and a must play in you're in the area.
Oak Hurst Golf Course meanders through stately tall east Texas pines and leverages the natural terrain to create some enjoyable holes. During your round you'll encounter a little bit of everything that makes golf fun and challenging, for example:
elevation changes – the par 3 187 yard #3 requires a precise drive from an elevated tee box across a pond to a big green with little room in front and mounds along the back
dog legs and blind shots – you'll find some gentle to sharp dog legs like #11 with a 90 degree turn left and #12 which is an uphill blind shot with a slight dog right
risk reward opportunities – on #10 you'll need an accurate drive to position your ball for a risky shot over the water to nail the green or you can try to hit the narrow landing zone on the right leading to the green
forced carries – you'll encounter a number of forced carries over water but none better than the dog leg left 415 yard par 4 #16 with a downhill shot over the pond in front of the green
The fairways are tree lined except for three or four holes that have some homes well back from the fairway. When we played the fairways were in near perfect condition (Darrell Chase, the head pro gives them a 10 when compared to any other fairways in East Texas) and a little dry with a few brown spots thanks to several days of 100 degree weather. A few fairways are tight but most are ample and some are wide and forgiving where you can let-er-rip from the tee box. If you miss the fairway, the first cut is very playable except for a few spots near the bunkers where it's a little thicker. Land under the trees and you'll most likely be on playable dirt or a bed of pine needles.
There are only 16 bunkers, most of which are guarding the greens, and all were in very good condition when we played. The sand is soft and the lips are not that tall.
The Oak Hurst Golf Course greens vary in size and shape but a lot of them are oblong which can be a little challenging to hit. They have minor slope and some undulation. Since they are Dwarf Tif the greens are never very fast (usually a 6 to 7) which took some time to get used to. They were true, rolled well, and easy to read.
Oak Hurst is a very fun course and an excellent value. Adjacent to Oak Hurst is it's sister course, Peach Tree Golf Course, which is an executive length, beginner friendly course favored by seniors, juniors, and those that are new to the game of golf. This shorter, more open links style golf course makes scoring much easier.
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