Review and Rating of Vaaler Creek Golf Club in Blanco
Vaaler Creek Golf Club, located just south of Blanco, opened for play in July 2009 and Michael Lowry designed the course to take advantage of the natural terrain which includes creeks, ponds, rolling hills, trees, native grasses, and fauna – all of which makes Vaaler Creek both visually stunning, challenging, and a blast to play. This is a course where during your round you're likely to say "where have you been all my golfing life – I love you!" And just a few of the other reasons we can highly recommend Vaaler Creek Golf Club include:
- excellent conditions and a very good value
- lots of variety and some outstanding and memorable holes that you'll want to play again
- great greens and bunkers that are fun to hit out of
- demanding but fair with a good mix of some risk-reward opportunities and shot-making precision
- an excellent stay and play
This memorable layout will challenge the accomplished players with pinched landing areas, strategically placed bunkers, tough greens, forced carries, elevated tee boxes, blind shots, and challenging approach shots. Average golfers can pick a set of tee boxes that fits their handicap and have a fun yet demanding round. The front tees at Vaaler Creek are very friendly for the ladies or very high handicappers. From the tips the course is challenging with a slope of 73 and a rating of 140! You'll want to play this course again because the second round on Vaaler Creek will probably save you quite a few stokes thanks to some hard-learned lessons on where not to hit the ball during the first round.
Vaaler Creek Golf Club is a part of the Rocking J Ranch housing development and the course plays up and down the gently rolling hills with tree-lined fairways. There are a scattering of homes overlooking the fairways but it's really just you and nature – very quiet and serene with the birds chirping, wind whistling through the trees, the occasional loud “moo” heard from the local cow, and the sound of your golf ball ricocheting off the trees or rocks or kerplunking into the water.
The Vaaler Creek fairways were in very good condition when we played in April (even though they were still emerging from being dormant) and most are ample with a very playable first cut – but miss the cut and you’re in the trees, creeks, ponds, or natural areas and will most likely need to reload. On the way to the green you’ll encounter strategically placed bunkers, blind shots, elevated tee boxes, rolling contoured fairways, forced carries, a couple risk-reward shots, dog legs, blind shots, and more to keep you on your game – it just doesn't get much more fun than all that! With a slope and rating of 140 and 73, Vaaler Creek Golf Club is no walk in the park and it will give you a run for your money. From the tips it's a little short at 6864 but seems to play much longer.
The front nine is a little harder, seems a little prettier, and has some very challenging greens. While the back has three fantastic holes. Both sides at Vaaler Creek have some really fun, unique, and memorable holes. For example:
- #2 is a 350 yard par 4 with a sharp dog leg right that requires a near perfect approach shot to carry the pond (when there is water in it) to an oblong green with no room for error
- #6 is a 415 yard par 4 that requires a great drive to make the 90 degree right turn – short drives can try a fun blind risk-reward shot by trying to fly a tall tree covered hill to stuff it on the green
- a split fairway on #10 forces you to make a decision at the tee box – do you go for the elevated and slightly open fairway on the left or try to carry the water and nail a tight landing zone on the right to save a few yards on the way over a creek and uphill to a well guarded raised green – either way a very accurate drive is required or you’re in trouble
- #18 is very intimidating – from the box you can’t see the lake but you have a good look at a big downhill fairway with a tree splitting the landing zone and a severe slope to the lake on the left side of the fairway, if you survive the drive, then you have a decision – can you carry the lake or do you try to lay up to make the carry a little shorter (a least a 100 yards) to what seems like an island green.
The greens help define Vaaler Creek and give the course a lot of personality and character. The front nine greens are very demanding – most are elevated and you need to plan for that on your approach shot as well as try to manage the slope, tiers, and undulation. A number of the greens on the front nine have some severe slope and undulation – several times we watched our ball hit and roll back down and away from the pin. The back greens are a little flatter and easier but you still need to manage the elevation and slope. When we played the greens were in great shape – soft, smooth, true, and rolling a tad slow at around 8 to 9 – normally they are around 9 to 10. The Vaaler Creek greens range from average size to huge and they are a variety of shapes.
The majority of the bunkers are strategically placed or guarding the greens. They vary in size, are fairly steep and deep, and have soft thick sand. The good news is that there aren't a lot of bunkers and they seem easy to avoid.
Vaaler Creek has an excellent stay and play package. We stayed in a very well appointed 3 bedroom, 2 bath condo over looking the 10th tee box at a very reasonable price. Here is a link to our review of the Vaaler Creek Stay & Play.
The only negative is that thanks to record heat and the drought, some of the ponds and creeks are dry.
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The pro shop is small but has the basics, the practice facilities are good, and the new grill, next to the pool, has some good food. The deck overlooking the pond is fantastic and a must for a cold beer after your round.