The Takeaway: Houston Oaks is a wonderfully conditioned course with a nice variety of hole lengths and features. The plentiful number of bunkers and water features keep your attention the whole way while the mature oaks provide a serene setting. Grade B+
Designer: Chet Williams in 2017
Phone Number: (713) 888-0000
Course Website: Official Website - Visit The Clubs at Houston Oaks's official website by clicking on the link provided.
Directions: Get here! - 22602 Hegar Rd, Hockley, Texas 77447 – UNITED STATES
What to Expect: Formerly known as Tennwood Golf Club when developed by Tenneco Oil Company, Houston Oaks is now a private facility 45 miles northwest of downtown Houston. The club converted to the Houston Oaks name in 2006 but the big change came a decade later when Chet Williams did an extensive renovation that significantly raised the course's game. As the name suggests, majestic oak trees lace the property and deliver a distinct character to the course that is further complemented by towering pines, brilliant white sand bunkers, and attractive water features across the mildly undulated terrain. The TifEagle Bermuda greens along with the Celebration Bermuda fairways are kept in absolute pristine condition with an ideal blend of firm yet receptive turf that is a pleasure to play. The two nines are nicely balanced but the front beats out the back as the superior side and is highlighted by an island green that instantly draws comparisons to TPC Sawgrass' famous 17th one-shotter. Williams does a great job giving players a climatic finish with an 18th hole that is both visually appealing and will test your merit. Overall, Houston Oaks is solid from start to finish. The pars are balanced in the routing without one clearly standing out over the others, and the course just delivers one solid hole after another. There are a couple of moments where your excitement will elevate, but for the most part it is just good from start to finish and certainly one of the better golfing experiences in Houston.
By the Numbers
Individual Hole Analysis
Signature Hole: 5th Hole – 145 Yard Par 3 – Simply a beautiful hole, the 5th at Houston Oaks is reminiscent of the 17th at TPC Sawgrass with a virtual island green featuring a bunker at the front right. Instead of railroad ties that Sawgrass features around the green, Houston Oaks features a stone wall that provides a nice contrast to the water and trees. Don't overthink this one, take dead aim at the center of the green no matter where the flag is and make sure you walk off with at least a par; but birdies are plenty common.
Best Par 3: 9th Hole – 207 Yards – Another one-shotter over water, the 9th is a stern test with a raised green featuring falloffs on each side. The uniquely shaped green can provide some very interesting pin placements depending on what tee and angle you are coming in from. In general though, flags on the right side of the green should not be aimed directly at given the proximity to the water on that side and sloping of the green.
Best Par 4: 18th Hole – 429 Yards – Another parallel to TPC Sawgrass can be found on the closing hole that features a similar feel to Sawgrass' 18th with a strong par four flanked by water up the entire left side. However, the two trees in the fairway give a whole new strategy to consider. The tree in the center cut of the fairway is just shy of 200 yards from the green and can be carried with the tee ball, while the tree on the left side that is 120 yards from the green makes sure that players can't cut off too much of the hole without risking getting kicked back into the lake. The approach shot plays to a virtual peninsula green that is undulated and only allows the right side as a place to bail to, but also features a trio of bunkers lying in wait. Houston Oaks has a plethora of risk/reward opportunities, and the 18th features it on every shot.
Best Par 5: 8th Hole – 537 Yards – The reachable 8th plays straightaway at first before bending left away from a lake that hugs the right side. The bunkers on the right aren't as big of a factor as the one on the left, but if you avoid them all you'll have a great chance to take a rip at the green with your second shot. Water creeps in enough from the right to front half of the green that has a trio of bunkers around it as well. It is a classic risk/reward situation with a wide range of results that are often influenced by the day's wind.
Birdie Time: 10th Hole – 397 Yard Par 4 – The back nine starts with a sub-400 yard hole that gives you an opportunity to play aggressively. Unlike many holes at Houston Oaks, there aren't any water hazards in play so you can swing away with little regard of the consequences with the perfect shot staying just short or just right of the large fairway bunker on the left. The approach shot should put a club in your hand that delivers confidence and an opportunity to aim dead at the flag. Pins at the right side of the green should be attacked while pins on the left should be respected more.
Bogey Beware: 6th Hole – 472 Yard Par 4 – The 6th hole is a shotmakers hole that can be intimidating if you don't have control over your ball. The tee shot plays over a lake to a fairway that narrows the further it travels away from the player. A pair of trees pinch the fairway which makes positioning your tee shot perfectly all the more difficult since the fairway bends left at first before changing angles and fading off to the right at the end. A high cut into the green will work from most fairway positions and will need to carry far enough to fly both bunkers that front the putting surface. It is really easy to find oneself with a low success approach shot which generally leads to missing the green in regulation which leads to bogies. Par here is a huge success.