On the outskirts of Sherman lies a fantastic 18 hole golf course that was designed by Cal Olson and opened for play in January, 2009. Olson designed the course to take maximum advantage of the terrain and as such you find lots of ups and downs (both elevated tee boxes and greens), roller coaster and sloping fairways, lots of trees and natural areas, plenty of sand, and a creek and three ponds – all of which makes a round at Stone Creek Country Club visually pleasing, challenging, and a blast to play. In fact, you wouldn’t know you’re in Sherman thanks to the gently rolling and heavily treed terrain – even Shermanites claim they didn’t know “this kind of beautiful terrain was anywhere near Sherman.”
We found Stone Creek to be a very pleasant surprise and no walk in the park – rating of 76.1 and a slope of 138. The course demands some strategic shot making and excellent club selection to manage the dramatic elevation changes, wind, tight landing zones, and uneven lies thanks to the sloping and contoured fairways.
Don’t let the drive up appeal to the club house scare you aware, this is a great layout, unlike the club house. The front nine has a lot of character and three unique personalities. The first three holes give you the feeling of playing a links style course – open fields and natural areas on one side and tree lined on the other – but unlike most wide open links courses the fairways are a tad tight as they twist and turn toward the green. Then holes four through six head into the trees with a creek that crisscrosses the fairway on two of the three holes. And just when you’re getting used to the shade and trees, the terrain changes again and is more open with some dramatic uphill and downhill shots.
The back nine has its own unique character and personality as it meanders through an old pecan orchard. The first few holes play along a ridge giving you an alpine mountain feeling (that may be stretching it a little since there are very few mountains in Texas), then a through the trees experience, and finally into a valley with an excellent finishing hole. This nine seems much more open and forgiving but still requires good course management and with the downhill greens and roll you get off the fairway, you’ll have an opportunity to turn in a great round.
Stone Creek Country Club has some really fun holes, for example:
- #1 sets the stage for your round and tests you with a tight landing zone off the tee box and a narrow sloping fairway leading to a tough approach thanks to water on both sides and 3 bunkers
- #9 is a 485 yard par 4 downhill fairway through a valley to a dog leg right two tier green protected by 3 pot bunkers and water on one side and a large bunker on the other – a good risk reward opportunity if you think you can carry the trees to shorten the hole
- #10 is a wide open big uphill shot than a dog leg left down a rolling steep hill to a small green guarded by 4 bunkers – spray the ball right and you're down a steep and sharp dropoff that will make for a very challenging blind shot back to the fairway
The bent grass greens are fairly large and all shapes and sizes. Outside of some weather damage to three greens, they were in near perfect condition, with slope, and undulation thanks to some ridges and spines. Some are elevated and most are fairly well guarded. They held well, seemed very true, and were about average speed.
The fairways were good, not great, and the rough was cut thin and playable. Most of the fairways are rolling and range from tight to wide and forgiving. Strategically placed bunkers, big elevation changes, blind shots, the creek, and the fairway slope need to be carefully managed. The fairways are still fairly new and maturing and the harsh winter had a negative impact on some of them. As the fairways continue to mature and fill in, they have the potential to be great.
The bunkers are all sizes and shapes – from small pot bunkers to some large monsters. All were in excellent condition with soft fluffy sand.
Even though Stone Creek Country Club is long (5655 to 7428) challenging from most of the tee boxes (slope of 114 to 138), it seems like a lot of the holes are downhill resulting in some huge drives (or should I say roll) that position you well for getting on the large greens in regulation and ending with a very good score. On a couple drives I felt like John Daley with booming long drives!
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The pro shop is limited but has the basics, the grill food is also limited, and the practice facilities are adequate. Service was ok and the pace of play on a Friday was excellent.