The Shores takes serene golf to new heights

By Gary Clemente, Contributor

ROCKWALL, TX - It's hard not to like The Shores. One of the most spacious layouts you will find anywhere, there's never a feeling of being crowded in hole-to-hole. You may find that sort of mouse-through-the-maze track while waiting on long lines for a ride at Disney Land, but not here.

Lucky, those Shores people. Except for the hill country further to the south about three hours away, North Texas has never been know for its elevations. While The Shores may not exactly be Rocky Mountain golf, the vista view it has around Lake Ray Hubbard is very appealing.

Unquestionably too, one the of the first features you notice right off the bat when playing there, are the lush, superbly-maintained greens that are impeccable. Not one had any glaring flaws or worn paths.

Originally designed by Ralph Plummer before it was taken over by the I.R.I Golf Group, the course was laid out by the previous investors in conjunction with a plan for building a resort around it. What never came to be is now a boon to golfers who have the added acreage without the typical zig-zag course design used to squeeze in space. It's something you don't usually see.

Jerry Cryer, a vice president with I.R.I., has a two-sided goal when looking at his commitment to The Shores' members and non-members alike as a semi-private club.

"We compete with the private and public golf courses," Cryer said. "We're always compared to Buffalo Creek [a private course nearby]. Our goal here is to maintain ourselves in as good a shape as Buffalo Creek and get established with the community as fast as possible as the best semi-private facility around."

From the looks of it operationally, The Shores seems to meet those needs. Smartly, they've given themselves a private club look from clubhouse to course, but with prices that non-members can live with.

"We've got the best of both worlds," said Cryer. "We've got a great course and our outside players get great golf at a good price. We are always under-priced on the market-that's part of the philosophy of the company-we try to be in that low end price range while giving the best product we can."

The Shores is a challenging course, no doubt, but not treacherous in the sense that you need calipers and a sextant to gauge the degree of difficulty as you play. Many of its holes have the pin clearly in sight from the tee box as you play through. The by-word here is "winding" as opposed to extreme dogleg left or right.

The par 72 course measures 7,114 yards from the gold and 6,764 from the blue tee. The blue slope is 121 with a 72.5 rating and 125/73.9 for the gold.

The front nine travels down from the higher elevation of the clubhouse starting with a par five on No. 1 and ending with one other on No. 9. No. 1 is a 533-yarder with a long water hazard running to the left from half way down the fairway to the green.

It's not as difficult as No. 9, which is 540-yards as it angles left with a bunker on the left fairway and three others around the green. An accurate tee shot is the key here.

The Shores is a par 4-laden course much of the way with only two par-3's each on the front and back ends. On hole No. 3, you'd better be as sharp as you can to avoid a bunker at the front of the green and a pin just behind it that's hard to reach. Par-3 No. 5's biggest problem is negotiating the large water hazard across its middle, but a solid iron shot will do the trick.

The par-4's at No. 2, 4, 6, 7, and 8 slope downward to a degree, with No. 4 at 440-yards giving the most trouble. Play it accurately off the tee, above all because there's a large water hazard to the back and right of the green. No. 6 has a long stream running the length of its 426-yards to keep an eye on, while No. 7 will give you fits with a narrow fairway and six sand traps to be aware of.

If your game is off at all, the back nine can certainly turn your spirts around. It's a visual pick-me-up to play alongside the lake as its waves lap up gently against the edge of the fairways.

The only back nine par-5's are at 12 and 15 with the latter being the longest hole on the course at 597-yards. A strong driver off the tee at No. 12 is required to clear a spacious water hazard coming in from the lake that brings along with it various wind gusts.

There are two par-3's at 14 and 17. No. 14 is 200-yards, angling to the left of the tee. Water cuts across the middle of it, leading to the green. More difficult is No. 17 with a wide body of water running the width of the fairway and placed at the edge of the green. It's not a hole to practice any new shots.

The rest of the par-4's are intriguing, starting off with No. 10 at 398-yards. Highly elevated off the tee, it offers a bird's-eye view of the lake. No.'s 11, 13, and 17 all offer a lot of water to get in trouble with, but their angle is minimal. No. 18 is a 452-yard par-4 leading uphill with a wide track and difficult water hazard that only the best players can clear in two shots. It plays like a par-5.

After game's end, you'll not only reminisce about the golfing experience you had, but with the service as well. Many claim to have excellent assistance, but The Shores has exceptional help, with marshals, attendants and clubhouse personnel genuinely looking to make you happy-and they have a good time doing it too.

The Shores Country Club
2600 Champion Drive
Rockwall, TX 75087
Telephone: (972) 771-5827

Directions: Take I-30 East to the Dalrock exit, go left approximately three miles and take a right on Lakeview Parkway (second light). Take left on Lakeshore and go to end of street, and follow the signs to the clubhouse.

Gary Clemente, Contributor

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