The Takeaway: In general, TPC courses leave me wanting more. The facilities are always great but the individual holes and terrain often lack the creativity I desire. TPC courses are designed for tournament play which often leads to straight forward architecture rather than featuring compelling design elements. While I thought Weiskopf did well with what he was handed, the relatively flat terrain and focus on residential development keeps TPC Craig Ranch from being a top tier course in the Lone Star State though it manages to be one of the better offerings in the greater Dallas area. Grade B-
Designer: Tom Weiskopf in 2004
Phone Number: (972) 747-9005
Course Website: Official Website - Visit TPC Craig Ranch's official website by clicking on the link provided.
Directions: Get here! - 8000 Collin McKinney, McKinney, TX
Accolades: Ranked 19th in Texas on Golf Digest's 2015-16 Best in State rankings.
What to Expect: TPC Craig Ranch is located in the suburb of McKinney northeast of Dallas. The course features an impressive 63,000 square foot clubhouse and one of the finest practice facilities around with a double sided driving range and a short game area; staple features at a TPC facility. Conditions are superb throughout the course though the fairways and rough tend to give off a monotone green shade that blends with the surrounding trees. The front nine can get a bit noisy due to the property abutting the freeway and the housing located on much of the back nine is a quick reminder of the course's residential setting. One of my favorite aspects of Tom Weiskopf's designs is the implementation of a driveable par four however I found his effort at TPC Craig Ranch to be a bit forgettable compared to his other efforts. Weiskopf did a commendable job for the relatively flat property he had to work with here, but his design style is clearly better suited for mountainous terrain. The course offers a nice walk though electric carts are available.
By the Numbers
Individual Hole Analysis
Signature Hole: 14th Hole – 330/302 Yard Par 4 – The staple feature at every Tom Weiskopf designed course is a driveable par four and the TPC Craig Ranch it emerges as the 14th hole. Players are presented with a slightly downhill tee shot that boasts water on the left and a half dozen bunkers around the green. In Dallas' heavy air and low elevation it will be difficult for most players to reach the green, but there is a good chance someone is your foursome will walk away with a birdie.
Best Par 3: 15th Hole – 216/197 Yards – The pond that was on your left for the 14th hole is on your left again for the 15th but is a bigger factor to contend with. The only bailout is short right since the left is flanked by water and the right protected by sand. Finishing in one of the bunkers on the right leaves you a dreaded sand shot back towards the water.
Best Par 4: 3rd Hole – 420/408 Yards – The 3rd hole offers an intriguing split fairway design where players can test their driver skills early in the round. The shortcut to the green is up the bunkerless left side where a 270 yard carry will be required to carry the river ravine and land in the short grass with a perfect angle to the hole. Players taking the safer route to the right will still contend with a trio of bunkers and then face an uphill shot over the river to the green with boasts a false front from this angle.
Best Par 5: 18th Hole – 552/514 Yards – A reachable par five, the finishing hole is one of Craig Ranch's best offerings. Nine bunkers are found in the landing zone and must be avoided if you want to take a rip at the green which is protected by a creek and three additional bunkers. With the clubhouse in the background and members likely spectating your result, this is a good time to come up big.
Birdie Time: 6th Hole – 361/330 Yard Par 4 – Though nearly a dozen bunkers come into play on the 6th hole, it is still a great birdie opportunity and fun driving hole. A creek crosses the fairway but shouldn't come into play unless players smack one of the neighboring trees with their drive. The hole doglegs slightly to the left and features a receptive, nearly square green. Any tee shot in the fairway should leave players with an opportunity to go pin seeking and thus a great chance at taking a stroke back from old man par.
Bogey Beware: 12th Hole – 493 Yard Par 4 – You know a hole is going to be difficult when it is a par four from the tips and a par five for everyone else which is exactly what you'll discover at the 12th. While it's true that a couple of the tee boxes are located over 500 yards, the tips plays from the 493 yard box and is a man sized hole if there ever was one. While no bunkers come into play off the tee, the approach shot must carry the river fronting the green while also avoiding the bunker flanking the entire right side of the putting surface. As a par four there are very few greens in regulation here; as a par five it is still no walk in the park.