Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Sky Creek Ranch Golf Review

When you think of the DFW area your thoughts tend to bend toward Dallas in the East or Fort Worth in the West. In-between these two cities is a whole host of fascinating courses worth your time. Texas Star, the Cowboys Club, Vaquero, one of my very favorites (the Tribute Club) and now add Sky Creek Ranch into that mix.

The course was designed by RTJ Jr. and is a rarity amongst DFW-area courses featuring Bermuda grass fairways (which were not allowed to go dormant in the winter) and bentgrass greens. The picture above is emblematic of the course as a whole. The fairway sits on a shelf with the rough falling away on each side and the tee shot is the most important shot as the creek runs through the course, often forcing short drives or long carries depending on the hole.

The creek feeds into lakes which causes the throats of greens to be very narrow and for many a risk-reward shot.

The bunkering of the course is one of the most unique and schizophrenic features of the course. Some of the holes have a crazy amount of bunkering.

Then, on some of the holes, the bunkers feel like orphans.

The routing hole-to-hole are similar and the challenge in playing the course really comes in how the first shots are presented and how the approach shots are presented. Often I found straight drives resulting in beguiling approach shots or really thinking about what club I am using off the tee and then using the same approach shot.

The biggest plus for the course is the conditioning and the real feeling that you are out in nature. Sure there are houses and the occasional road but very few DFW courses allow you to feel the roots of Texas Hill Country like this one.

Most courses live and die by the grass that they choose. Different types of grasses have different types of benefits depending on the climate. Most DFW courses during the winter allow their fairway grass to go dormant and the greens to dry out which creates a hard and fast links-style course. Sky Creek went the other way with Bermuda and bentgrass. This has its pluses and minuses.

The pluses are a green look and very soft greens which will hold a variety of approach/chip shots. The downsides are that the fairways play very spongy and really reduce roll and the greens play pretty slow plus probably require much more maintenance (as evidenced by multiple groundskeepers working on the course and frustratingly ignoring golfers rather than stopping their efforts). Variety is the spice of life and I was happy for the change during my most recent Texas jaunt but whichever you prefer, I can't help but think this course would be better off with different types of grass.

I'm glad I got to play Sky Creek and it would be fascinating to play this course in the summer. I can't wait to get play more of the in-between golf courses in the DFW area.

For more info on Sky Creek, check out this link:

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