Review and Rating of Starr Hollow Golf Course
This review of Starr Hollow Golf Course with give you Texas Outside’s perspective and rating of Starr Hollow Golf Course. Starr Hollow is located in some fairly remote but beautiful countryside an hour or so south west of Fort Worth on the 3000 acre Starr Hollow Ranch in Tolar, Texas. Some have described the course as fun, serene, and beautiful with fairly tight rolling tree lined fairways and lots of wildlife – a true oasis in the middle of a working country ranch! In fact as you turn into the ranch and drive the three miles to the clubhouse, free range black angus, longhorn, and deer are grazing next to the road. The ranch is located on the same grounds used as a hideout by the infamous outlaw Belle Starr, the so-called “Bandit Queen of the Wild West.”
Starr Hollow Golf Course was built by legendary businessmen Marvin Leonard who also built the prestigious Colonial Country Club and Shady Oaks Country Club. Joe Finger designed this exclusive nine hole private course which has around 100 members and has been played by the likes of Deon Sanders, NBA Hall of Famer David Robinson, Don Henley of the Eagles, and Ben Hogan who claimed the course was “too quiet.” After a round of golf on Starr Hollow Golf Course you’re likely to agree, as we sure did. The course is well deserving of all of the accolades it has been awarded, some of which include:
- For the last 18 years, the Dallas Morning News has named the course as the “Best 9 Hole Course in Texas”
- Named in the "Top 25 Best 9 Holes Course in America by GolfWorld
- Travel & Leisure called it a "Lone Star Secret"
- Fort Worth Magazine labeled it "Augusta in Tolar"
It's hard to beat the scenery of gently rolling hills, sprawling trees, and a pretty lake and the great conditions, very friendly service, an excellent pace of play, lots of wildlife, peace and quiet, and an excellent layout. Speaking of wildlife, most of the holes are named after wildlife that you might see during your round, like Angus Acres, Duck's Downfall, Jack Rabbit Jump, Quail Crossing, and Deer Playground. What a joy to play and Starr Hollow is home to several fun holes like:
- #4 is called "Bass Bait" because it dog legs right around Starr Hallow Lake and off the tee the fairway slopes toward the lake where the bass are waiting for your golf ball
- #6 is a 360 yard par 4 and you can bring out the big dog and let-er-rip to a wide landing zone that slopes right to left – you'll need some good positioning for a downhill shot to the green with a sprawling tree blocking the right side
- #9 is an excellent finishing hole – a 515 yard par 5 that plays along the lake on the left side of a very tight twisting fairway and requires accuracy all the way to par and the approach is a tight carry over the lake to the green that's shaped like the state of Texas is two tiered, sloping, and guarded by two bunkers
- #11 is a 383 yard par 4 with a great risk reward opportunity to shorten the hole is you can fly the trees and the hill and stay in the fairway
Part of what makes this an interesting course to play is that it has two different sets of tee boxes and each green has two different pins – play the first nine from one tee box and the white flags and the back from the other set of tee boxes and the red flag on the green. The boxes are set apart from each other with gives you a very different shot off the tee box – for example, in a couple places one tee box will offer a tighter tee shot and from another tee box you'll get a good risk reward shot to dogleg left fairway.
When in played in mid September, all of Texas was still suffering from a severe drought, but the overall conditions at Starr Hollow Golf Club were in very good condition from tee to pin and the course is very well maintained and manicured.
The fairways are flat to rolling, all tree lined, and some have some gentle slope and contour. No homes, no sirens, no barking dogs – just the wind whistling through the trees, the roosters crowing, the cows mooing, and my golf ball ricocheting off the trees or kurplunking into the sand or water. The fairways were like velvet (with a few brown spots from lack of rain) and the roughs were a mixture of grass and dirt.
The Starr Hollow Golf Club greens were also in near perfect condition, but a little (around an 8) slow thanks to recent aeration. Most of the greens are good sized and have some minor slope and tough breaks to read.
The bunkers were perfect and a joy to hit out of – maybe that's why I ended up in so many of them. The sand was soft, fluffy, and thick, and the lips were manageable.
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Service is excellent and country friendly. The practice facilities are adequate and the pro shop has a limited supply of the basics. From what we hear, the grill cooks a fantastic hamburger.