The Takeaway: Texas A&M’s home track stands as one of the stronger college courses in the country with more movement in the terrain than what can be experienced in Houston just over an hour away. The course is routed through a neighborhood, but Jack Nicklaus did a fine job of making sure the holes are the highlight and not the houses. Grade B
Designer: Jack Nicklaus in 2004
Phone Number: (979) 779-1007
Course Website: Official Website - Visit Traditions Club at Texas A&M's official website by clicking on the link provided.
Directions: Get here! - 3131 Club Dr, Bryan, Texas 77807 – UNITED STATES
What to Expect: Traditions Club is a Jack Nicklaus layout in College Station, TX (1.5 hours northwest of Houston) and stands as the home course for the Texas A&M Aggies. Jack made sure to offer plenty of length and challenge from the back tees to challenge the country’s top college players while still delivering plenty of other tees for higher handicaps to enjoy. The course is routed through hilly property with tree lined fairways that presents a variety of shots that players will have to execute while the undulated greens and myriad of bunkers will require a deft short game. The routing can be clunky at times as it accommodates the residential development that accompanies the area but that is countered with excellent turf conditions in an area that enjoys year-round golf weather. Playing an aerial game isn't an option, it is a requirement, at Traditions with over half of the greens being fronted by a creek or some other hazard that must be carried enroute to the putting surface; a feature that can be repetitive at times but also helps create some great greensites. In the end, Traditions goes head to head with Miramont as the best golf course in the College Station/Bryan area.
By the Numbers
Individual Hole Analysis
Signature Hole: 18th Hole – 444 Yard Par 4 – The Texas A&M logo sits proudly behind the 18th green, but to get there will take a tee shot that is blind from the back tee but more open to view from any of the forward tees. The tee shot plays uphill before cresting the high point in the fairway and playing back downhill to the green. As is tradition at Traditions, the green is fronted by a creek and requires carrying your approach shot all the way to the putting surface while avoiding the large bunker on the right and smaller bunkers on the left. The tier in the green creates a distinct shelf in the back third, but the hillside behind the putting surface can be used as a backstop to bring balls back to the green.
Best Par 3: 9th Hole – 216 Yards – A par three closes out the front nine and your success on it can often depend on the location of the hole that day. The oblong green angles away from the player by moving from front left to back right with a bunker sitting dead center between the tee and putting surface. The front third of the green sits on its own shelf and then the putting surface slopes down and away to the more difficult pin placements to hit close to. A par here is a good momentum creator heading into the back nine.
Best Par 4: 13th Hole – 381 Yards – The 13th doesn't beat you up with length, it asks that you make some quality shots. The tee ball plays downhill and bends to the right with bunkers protecting the inside of the dogleg. The approach shot plays to a very undulated green that is one of the most difficult to navigate on the course. While all of the second shots will require a carry over a creek fronting the green, pin locations on the right are more accessible than deep pins in the back left that also require a carry over a deep bunker.
Best Par 5: 10th Hole – 559 Yards – The back nine starts with a true three-shotter that bends left initially before bending back to the right enroute to the green. The tee shot plays towards an aiming bunker and the hole then requires a carry over a creek toward a trio of bunkers positioned about 100 yards from the green. But instead of requiring another forced carry into the green, Jack uses some terrain shaping and a bunker on the left to encourage players to fly the ball into the putting surface at the right third of the green. This hole requires you to plot along on a course that isn't too brazen but instead reveals some shot making which goes all the way to the sloping green that you'll need a deft flatstick to conquer.
Birdie Time: 4th Hole – 354 Yard Par 4 – The shortest par four on the course features an inviting tee shot where players can cut loose on their driver. Despite the heavy number of bunkers, the downhill terrain shortens the hole and should put a scoring club in your hand with the approach shot. The kidney bean shaped green offers some enticing pin placements with the front location being the one you need to be the most aggressive with.
Bogey Beware: 17th Hole – 427 Yard Par 4 – There are plenty of places that Jack can lead players to a bogey, but the most common place is at the 17th. The tee shot calls for a fade that carries the creek beyond the tee box and finds the fairway that bends right late in the hole. Another carry over a creek to the green awaits on the approach shot, but this one is unique because the green is shared with the 8th hole. Approach shots that leak right can end up on the wrong side of the putting surface and almost certainly result in a three-putt considering the entire putting surface stretches 180 feet wide.