Houston. It’s a town where I’ve spent a lot of time, but it’s always been for work. I’ve always heard about the golf scene here but have yet to check it out for myself.
So, when a number of our readers expressed interest in a guide to best public courses, I asked them for help. Like they always do, they came through in a big way.
Below is a summation of their input and some of my own research.
Bay Forest Golf Course
One of the best values for public golf in Houston sounds like Bay Forest Golf Club.
Called “One of the Best 20 Municipal Golf Courses in Texas” by the Dallas Morning News, everyone has high praise for this facility.
An old school, parkland design, shots are right in front of you. However, they demand precision and that you move the ball both ways. Missing fairways can make for a long day.
In addition to tree lined fairways, water comes into play on a number of holes. This is a ball striker’s test.
Considering it’s more than reasonable to play here, I don’t see a reason why you wouldn’t want to check it out for yourself.
Golf Club of Houston
The Golf Club of Houston boasts two championship courses that have both played host the Houston Open.
The Tournament Course is open to the public and was designed by none other than Rees Jones in consultation with David Toms.
As beautiful as this course’s surroundings make it, it’s equally enjoyable to play.
The layout wanders carefully through a mature pine forest. Lakes and expansive bunkers appear throughout. Ball striking is key if you want a good look at birdie on most every hole.
Conditions are always pristine here too.
Even though it costs a couple bucks to play here, it seems to be more than worth it.
Pearland Golf Club
Pearland Golf Club is only a short 15-minute drive from downtown Houston.
Like a lot of other courses in the Houston area, this old school design dictates accuracy from the tees and into the greens. Most fairways are tree lined and the putting surfaces are well protected by bunkers.
The layout gives players a mix of both long and short holes. Some ask you to play conservative, while others allow you to tempt fate. Choose wisely.
The greens are known to be some of the fastest in the area so proceed with caution.
A fun round of golf at a fair price, don’t overlook this hidden gem.
The Golf Club at Cinco Ranch
There might not be a finer blend of old and new in the Houston area than the Golf Club at Cinco Ranch.
Situated on the west side of town, this layout is part of a master plan residential community. With that said, homes are only visible from a handful of holes. When you play here, you’ll appreciate the serenity and quiet this course offers considering it’s in the middle of suburbia.
The layout features large oak trees that line the fairways and a number of lakes that come into play.
Unlike a lot of courses in Houston, elevation changes can be found here as well. Choose your clubs wisely.
A good test for the better player, and user-friendly for beginners, everyone has fun at Cinco Ranch.
Jersey Meadow Golf Club
There was no shortage of land to work with when Jersey Meadow Golf Club was built. The course sits on 1,236 acres that was formerly owned by rancher, Clark W. Henry.
Not one of the longer courses around, Jersey Meadow still presents a formidable challenge. Accuracy is the name of the game both off the tees and into the greens.
Fairways are lined by trees and almost every green is protected. Getting the ball up and down can be a challenge out here.
Based on the steady flow of business this course seems to generate, it makes sense that the reviews are positive.
The Lakes Course at Wildcat Golf Club
It’s called the Lakes Course for a reason. There’s no shortage of water to be found here.
Unlike most other courses in the area, elevation plays a role here too. Throw in a little wind and it’s easy to see why golfers appreciate the challenge this course presents.
As part of a 36-hole facility, this track is the longer of the two. Ball striking is the key to scoring well.
Even though it might seem intimidating for the average player or beginner, multiple tee options make the Lakes Course playable for everyone.
The Highlands Course at Wildcat Golf Club
Elevation comes into play at the Highlands Course as well. From the course’s highest points, you’re treated to stunning views of the downtown Houston skyline.
At first glance, this course’s open nature reminds you of a links layout. You’ll quickly find though, that it more closely resembles designs in Texas Hill Country.
I’m told this course is especially demanding off the tee. You have to hit it both long and straight, no two ways about it.
Known for its character and pristine condition, put the Highlands Course at Wildcat Golf Club on your list.
Houston National Golf Club
Any golf course with the word “national” in its name just sounds regal. Am I right? Regardless, players have nothing but good things to say about Houston National Golf Club.
Located on the northwest side of town, this track consists of 18 memorable holes.
The layout is more open than other courses in Houston. You can let it rip off the tee.
The real test begins on your approach shots into greens that are large, undulating and protected by mounds, collection areas, and strategically placed bunkers.
Should you miss a green, you’ll have to employ a variety of different shots to save par.
A nice change of pace and fun to play, Houston National comes highly recommended.
Clear Creek Golf Club
Clear Creek Golf Club is known as one of the best kept golf courses in all of Houston. Every single piece of feedback I received about this track mentioned what wonderful shape it’s always in.
The atmosphere here is laid back and the staff are overly friendly. Everyone is welcome.
The course is a Scottish links design that allows you to play the ball along the ground. This comes in handy when the proverbial Texas winds kick up in the afternoon.
Great atmosphere, superb playing conditions, and a reasonable sure make sense to me.
Sienna Golf Club
Sienna Golf Club is said to be one of the sterner tests in Houston.
The layout has been contoured to create significant elevation changes on a number of holes. Club selection can be difficult, especially in the wind.
The course is tight from tee to green as well. The fairways are lined by hardwoods, and creeks and lakes come into play enough to keep your attention.
Designed by Arthur Hills, this is the place to be if you want to test your game.
No one’s going to question that there’s a lot more than great golf in Houston. Food, sports, culture, the list goes on.
However, the golf that can be found in this city is tremendous. And there’s a lot of it. Knowing what I know now, I’m definitely planning a golf trip here for a few days sometime soon.
Thanks to our loyal readers for their continued input. We’d love to hear your thoughts as well, so drop us a note down below.