Review of Golf Trails of The Woodlands Oaks Course – The Woodlands
The Oaks is a private course but as a guest of The Woodlands Resort you can play the Oaks and Panther course – and the Woodlands has a fantastic Stay & Play. Here is a link to our review of The Woodlands Resort.
Oaks Course was designed by Joe Lee and Robert von Hagge in 1975 and Jay Morrish & Associates redesigned the course in 1999 and turned it into the beautiful track that it is today. It won't take you long to understand where the course got it's name and in addition to the towering oaks, some of which are covered with that eerie draping gray moss, you'll find excellent conditions from tee to cup, water on 10 holes, large undulating greens, huge greenside bunkers, and generous fairways lined with oaks and beautiful homes sitting back under the trees.
The Oaks Course is a very traditional 18 holes of golf – no trick shots, challenging but fair, and a relatively straight forward layout that is a real joy to play. The fairways are generous but if you spray the ball you've got some trouble – the rough is thick and challenging and if you miss the rough you're under the trees or lost in a dense forest. With four sets of tee boxes and yardages of 5318 to 7044, if you don't bite off more than you can chew you'll have a relaxing, fun, and low scoring round.
What makes Oaks Course challenging are the huge fairway bunkers, thick rough, a couple dog legs, lakes and ponds, and the two to four large bunkers that protect each green – all of which can easily be avoided if you deploy some course management skills. The greens are huge and relatively easy to hit and hold but they run fast, are undulating, and since they average 4500 square feet, if your approach shot isn't dead on, you may two or three putt.
Some of the holes we really liked include:
- all of the par 3's are great – long, scenic, and require an accurate tee shot for a par
- #7, the par 5 535 yard #1 handicap hole, is a blast to play and requires course management and some precise shots – the fairway narrows as it approaches and turns right along a lake offering a good risk reward shot to carry the lake and try to stuff it on the green on your second or third shot
- #13 is a 573 yard par 5 that looks easy until you realize you need to miss the fairway bunkers and have a very accurate approach shot to stay dry and out of the sand guarding the green
- #16 is fun with a carry over the lake from the back tees, a creek that crosses the fairway, and green that has water along the front and right side plus two big bunkers
- #18 will make you want to play the Oaks Course again – fun, scenic, and demanding with a huge lake from tee to green, trees, and bunkers to contend with
In addition to the fun holes, what makes playing Oaks Course enjoyable is that the course is very well maintained and manicured, the service is top notch, and the conditions are near perfect. The fairways are lush and plush (I felt guilty taking a divot), the rough is thick but perfect, the bunkers are full of soft thick sand, and the greens couldn't be much better. .
The greens are huge and a tad difficult to read thanks to undulation and subtle breaks. Each time we've played the Oaks, the greens have been in perfect condition, fast at around 10 to 11, soft, smooth, and true. But the breaks and size of the greens may result in some extra putts – the good news is you might get on easier.
The bunkers range is size and shape and most are also huge. The sand is soft and thick and the lips are manageable.
Bottom line, Oak Course is a very fun, relaxing, and enjoyable round of golf where you have the opportunity to score well. Plus the service is excellent and the Pro Shop offers clinics, instruction, and player development programs. The Woodlands Resort is a fantastic place to host a meeting (with a golf tournament) or stay for a fun golf weekend. And make sure you play the Panther Golf Course at the Woodlands Resort.
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Service is outstanding, the Pro Shop is very well stocked, and the restaurant above the Pro Shop is excellent and offers a great view of the 1st and 18th hole.