RB Golf Club & Resort Review & Rating, Runaway Bay, TX
At the south end of beautiful Lake Bridgeport is a fun track that was named by Golf Digest one of the best golf courses to play in the country in 2008 – 2009. The course has 18 holes with a great layout that leverages the natural rolling terrain with abundant live oaks, and some panoramic views of Lake Bridgeport. The first nine holes opened in 1963 and an additional nine was added in 1972.
Over the years, the Club at Runaway Bay had gone through several owner and management changes and the course conditions (and reputation) had deteriorated significantly – the fairways were bare, the greens were so bad that temporary greens were used, the irrigation system was broken, the facilities had been neglected, and more!
In March 2018, local investors and a new management team took ownership of the course and made a commitment to “restore this amazing property to be the premier golf club and banquet venue in Wise County, Texas.” In addition to changing the course name to RB Golf Club & Resort, since taking over some of the improvements the new team has made include: replacing all of the greens with new Champion Bermuda, repairing the irrigation systems so the entire course now gets water, adding a new chipping area, redoing some of the bunkers, renovating the bar and restaurant, adding a state of the art fitness center, building a new pavilion with a view of the lake, purchasing a 3 bedroom house to use as a golf stay and play, and more. More improvements are planned including a new swimming pool and renovations on the tennis courts.
If you’ve got a fade and a draw that you can control, then you’ll love this course – 15 of 18 holes are doglegs either left or right! In addition to managing the doglegs, most of which require a good shot off the tee box to make the turn, you’ll need some good club selection to handle the wind and elevation changes off the tee box as well as the shots to numerous uphill or downhill greens. The doglegs also give you some risk-reward opportunities to try and fly the trees to shorten the dogleg and give you a shorter 2nd shot.
The front nine, a par 35 with only one par 5, is a blast to play as it leverages the natural terrain with several elevation changes and lots of variety with no two holes the same. The back nine is a par 37 with two par 5s and one par 3 and it’s a little flatter, more open, has more contour on the greens, and seems a little easier.
Some of the holes we really liked include:
the first hole will tempt you to try and fly the trees for a good opportunity at a birdie on this short 342 yard downhill dogleg right par 4
#8 is a 495-yard par 5 with a dog right (another opportunity to try and fly the trees), then a challenging downhill shot to the green with a pond hidden on the right and left side of the green
#12 is a fun one that is a gentle uphill dog right to a two-tier heart-shaped green with a bunker and steep hill on the left side – pin placement can be a killer
#17 was our favorite – a 504-yard par 5 with a blind uphill shot off the tee box then downhill toward a green set off to the right and guarded by a pond and bunker – the second shot needs to be precise to have a clear shot to the green which may be blocked by the trees
The RB Golf Club fairways are ample and the first cut is wide and playable – after that, you’ll be under some trees (easy to chip back to the fairway) or OB in some yard. You’ll also need to manage the doglegs, uphill and downhill shots, and the fairway slope. When we played in October, the fairways were a little rough and transitioning from winter to summer but according to several long term members, the conditions (greens, fairways, and facilities) have improved 100%! Homes line one or both sides of most holes.
The greens are new and still maturing – next year they should be outstanding. The greens are about average size and lots of different shapes and all of them contain some degree of slope, undulation, tiers, or saddles – one saddle is known as “the taco” and based on pin placement it can cause trouble. The back greens seemed to be tougher with more severe slope and undulation plus some tiers, spines, and ridges. Because the greens are new they are firm and may watch your ball roll off the back side of the green. They normally run around a 9 to 10.
The bunkers were small to average size, with thick good (a little heavy) and playable sand. A number of them were steep faced and you need to do what you can to stay out of them.
We enjoyed a two-night stay in RB Golf Club’s 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, kitchen, fully furnished stay and play house. And it’s a great bargain and fun way to enjoy the course, restaurant and bar, facilities, and the local area. Read our review (coming soon) of RB Golf Club Stay & Play to learn more.
Bottom line – The Club at Runaway is an excellent layout, with scenic vistas, some fun and challenging holes, an excellent pace of play, and a very good value. This is a track where you can turn in a good score if you can manage the wind, elevation changes, and doglegs. I’m confident that the new owners and management team will make this one of the premier clubs in Wise County
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Service is excellent (the staff is friendly and outgoing), the restaurant serves some good food and has a great bar, the pro shop has all the basics, and the range and putting green are good. Pace of play is normally excellent.