Timber Creek Golf Club is home to 27 holes of very good golf that takes advantage of the 316 acres of tall stately East Texas pines and towering oaks and includes 13 bridges that cross a meandering creek that can present some challenges, rock outcroppings, and plenty of sculpturing that was created by moving one million cubic yards of dirt.
The course was designed by Jay Riviere and first opened for play in 2001 and is currently considered to be one of the top 10 courses in the Houston area. Part of Jay's genius in designing each of the nines is that from the tee box, you'll know where you want to hit it and where you don't – no guessing but you need to execute on each shot to score well.
Jay seemed to design each nine to fit a different skill level – from the novice to the shot makers. Each nine has it's own unique personality and characteristics:
- The Pines, as the name implies, plays through some stately east Texas pines and is considered the easiest of the nines with wider more forgiving fairways
- Creekside is the shortest of the nines – 2172 to 3135 yards – and considered the middle of the road course from a playability perspective and it has water on 8 holes, some dog legs, and 28 bunkers
- Timber Trails is the longest – 2479 to 3575 yards- and toughest of the nines with lots of forced carries, dog legs, tighter fairways, and 27 challenging bunkers – read our review of Timber Trails
Common to all three nines are very good conditions, huge greens, tree lined fairways (no homes, barking dogs, or screaming kiddos), lots of water hazards, challenging bunkers, a fantastic clubhouse, good practice facilities, and excellent friendly service.
The Pines is considered the easiest of the nines with the widest fairways but the first hole gives you a false sense of security – a huge wide open fairway with a links feel and an easy carry over a small creek to a dog right green and 4 bunkers on the way – a great opportunity for par or better. Then you turn into the tall pines and the fairways get a little tighter but still very wide and generous.
There are 4 sets of tee boxes and the yardages are short by todays standards at 2601 to 3418 yards. All of the fairways are generous and the first cut is ample – but miss that and you're under the trees. The good news is that under the trees is well manicured grass and pine needles giving you an opportunity to easily chip back to the fairway.
You'll encounter water on 5 holes, 35 bunkers, some mounding along the edges of the fairways, and 6 dog legs you'll need to manage, but if you can it the ball fairly straight you'll have a fun relaxing round of golf and a good score.
When we played in May the fairways were in very good condition despite the dry drought conditions around the Houston area. Because they were so dry, you need to manage the extra roll that you'll get on each shot, which can be considerable. At times I felt like I could win the long drive (or roll) contest. Most of the fairways are gently contoured with some manageable mounds on each side.
The greens were in very good condition except for some spots that suffered some damage during the winter and needed patching. They run slow (around a 7) and are easy to read thanks to gentle slope and little to no undulation. Most are slightly elevated and well guarded with bunkers – #9 has four bunkers protecting the front.
Speaking of the bunkers, do whatever you can to avoid them. They are all shapes and sizes from small pot bunkers to some monsters and the sand is gritty, thin, and hard. The good news is the lips are shallow and you may get lucky and bounce out or have an easy chip out.
Bottom line – not a lot of character or unique holes but a very nice layout for a good warm-up round, with good conditions, reasonable rates, and an opportunity to turn in a good score. The slope and rating are based on playing the Pines and Timber Creek together.
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The Timber Creek clubhouse is fantastic - good locker rooms, well stocked pro shop, a bar, and very good food (the Philly is excellent) in the grill. The practice facilities are great and the service is excellent.