The Golf Club at Cinco Ranch opened in 1984 and plays through the 8100 acre upscale Cinco Ranch master-planned community on Houston's fast-growing west side. Cinco Ranch Golf Course is a fun and demanding layout that's typically in very good condition and a good value.
What's make this layout demanding are all the bunkers, water that can come into play on 16 holes if you spray the ball, and some challenging green complexes. There are some really fun and memorable holes, but a number of the holes are straightforward and traditional with "what you see is what you get."
Cinco Ranch Golf Course throws a little bit of everything at you (water, strategically placed blind shots, raised greens, dog legs, risk reward opportunities, tough approach shots, contoured fairways, and more) that makes golf fun and challenging. Some of what you'll encounter includes:
- the first hole sets the stage with a little bit of everything – a somewhat tight fairway that if you spray it right you're down in a deep and wide drainage ditch (which comes into play on 12 holes); mounding and contoured and rolling fairways, some of which have some slope left or right; a raised green with a big bunker on the left, a deep swale/collection area on the right, and steep slope off the sides
- a couple great risk reward opportunities like on #4 to fly a bunker complex to shorten the hole or #11 where you can get close to the pin on this short 359 par 4 with a blind shot over the bunkers to a very tight landing zone that is pinched by the lake
- lots of strategically placed bunkers like on #6 which has water on the left forcing you to aim for the bunkers in the landing zone and then you need to fly a huge bunker that crosses 95% of the fairway or #16 a 182 yard par three which requires accuracy to miss the 7 steep and deep pot bunkers in front of the green and the 5 larger ones in back of the green waiting from long shots
Like all of the courses in Texas, The Golf Club at Cinco Ranch has suffered through a harsh winter, record heat, and a severe drought – all of which has impacted the course conditions. But Cinco Ranch was in surprisingly good condition with a few patchy spots in the rough, a couple greens with some damage around the fringe, and fairways that were a tad dry and thinner than normal. But it was still in much better condition that 90% of the courses we played in 2011! One of the reasons may have been that Cinco Ranch shut down from May to July to add new mini verde greens, redo all the greenside bunkers with soft thick sand, and aerate the fairways a couple times. It really helped!
The fairways were a little thin and dry but in very good condition and had a surprising (and pleasing) amount of contour and roll, with several holes home to elevation changes of as much as 15 feet. The fairways range from ample all the way to the green to some tight and pinched spots. The course plays through the upscale Cinco Ranch housing development and as such some very nice homes line some of the fairways but you'll need to really spray the ball to break a window. The other side of the fairway is lined by a wide and deep drainage ditch which is not that hard to find. The roughs are wide and playable, the trees are scattered and easy to get under and back to the fairway, and there are no OB markers.
The greens are very challenging – most are raised and all but a couple are guarded by water, bunkers, mounding, or slope back to the fairway. To score well you'll need to be deadly accurate on your approach shots and typically you best stay below the pin – the green slope, contour, pin placement, and tiers can be a killer. The greens ran at a very good speed of 10 to 11, were true, and held the ball well. Most are above average size. The fringe is 2 to 8 feet wide and smooth and puttable if you can't chip.
All of the bunkers had been redone and they are near perfect. The greenside bunkers are soft fluffy thick white sand that is a joy to play out of. The fairway bunkers are firm and gritty making it easier to recover. The lips range from small to steep and deep. You'll encounter small oval pot bunkers and some huge monsters big enough to swallow a tractor trailer.
What makes Cinco Ranch Golf Course fun is that it is demanding but fair and playable for all skill levels and gives everyone an opportunity to have a fun and enjoyable round – the key is to pick the right set of tee boxes, don't bite off more than you can chew, try to stay below the pin, study the GPS layout and use the GPS Pro Tips. And you better practice you sand shots, chipping, and putting – Cinco Ranch puts a premium on the approach shots.
A couple nice touches include with every paid adult round, 1 junior 15 and under plays FREE including cart and if you bring your scorecard into the clubhouse after your round, your first drink or draft beer is a penny per stroke.
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The service is great and the cart lady seems to show up at the right time, the pro shop is very well stocked, and the club houses is great. There's a snack bar with sandwiches and dogs at the turn and a restaurant with good food plus a bar. The practice faciltiy is excellent with a two ranges, putting greens, chipping area, and practice bunkers. The course is managed by one of the best, Eagle Golf.