Opened in 1949, Ranchland Hills Golf Club is one of the oldest golf clubs in the region and the course was home to the 1953 Texas PGA Championship. Like most older courses, Ranchland Hills is short at 6560 yards by todays standards and has a fairly traditional layout with most holes running side by side, separated by a row of trees. Both nines are similar but we thought that the back nine was a little more interesting and demanded a little more accuracy.
In most cases you can see the pin and what you're up against – no tricked up holes or hidden surprises to get ya. There are some dog legs that require a precise shot off the tee box and some fun holes, for example:
#1 starts you off with the #3 handicap hole – a 604 yard par 5 with a slight dog leg right to a well guarded green
#8 is a challenging 164 yard par 3 that requires a carry over a pond to a green with little room for error
#10 is a fun 342 yard dog leg right around a pond guarding the green on the right and cutting across the front of the green about 50 yards out
#14, a 487 yard par 5, has a slightly elevated tee shot to a dog leg right around a lake and then up to an elevated well protected green
Ranchland Hills Golf Course fairways are flat, a little tight, and if you spray the ball and get through the mature evergreens and cedar elms, you'll be in another fairway requiring a worm burner back to your fairway or a high flying shot to carry the trees. During your round you'll encounter nine shimmering ponds and over 33 bunkers waiting for stray shots. You'll also need to manage the prevailing winds if you want to score well.
When we played in January, conditions were dormant as you can tell from the pictures. For winter, the conditions were still very good.. The fairways and rough were dry, giving you lots of roll, but very playable. During the summer my guess, which was confirmed by a couple of locals, is that we would rate the conditions to be an 8 to 8.5.
The Champion Bermuda greens at Ranchland Hills Golf Club were also in very good condition. When we played they were soft, very fast (11 or so), held pretty well, and ran true, however, the dormant conditions made them very bumpy adding a big challenge to getting the ball to run straight – or is that just my excuse for poor putting? Most of the fairways are about average size and a variety of shapes and most have minor slope. Combine the slope with the speed plus the wind and putting is challenging.
The bunkers were in very good condition with manageable lips and soft fairly thick sand.
The course routing is unique in that every four or so holes takes you back to the club house where you can load up on snacks, drinks, or replacement golf balls. Before you leave, make sure you also give their golf simulator a try – you can play Pebble Beach and several other well known courses.
Bottom line – Richland Hills Golf Club is a good value with good conditions, some fun holes, and it provides you an opportunity to have an enjoyable and well scoring round.