Forest Creek is a "Dogleg" Up on the Competition
When playing the challenging layout of Forest Creek Golf Club in Round Rock, just 20 minutes north of Austin, one word in particular comes to mind - dogleg.
Ten holes on the 7,147-yard long course, which opened in 1991, feature doglegs. Some are more challenging than others and depending on your ability to maneuver the ball, they can adversely affect your score by several strokes.
However, before you get to the first tee box, you soon discover that navigating the course and all of its nuances, including the doglegs, will be made somewhat easier with ProShot, a GPS course management system that is provided on each cart. This system, which was first used at Forest Creek six years ago and was one of the first available in the state, features an in-cart display that provides details of each hole including overview graphics of the layout as well as distances to the center of the green and key hazards.
The GPS system comes in handy on the first dogleg, which appears in dramatic fashion on the 552-yard, par-5, third hole. The double-dogleg to the right offers a wide open tee shot to a fairway with several bunkers, which from the tee box appear to be one in front of the other. However, because the hole makes almost a 90-degree turn to the right, the bunkers are actually located on the right and left side of the fairway. The second shot, which is over another dogleg to the right, albeit much less severe, provides little trouble with the exception of three bunkers on the right.
Nos. 4 and 5 are slight doglegs to the left and right respectively. The next challenging dogleg comes on hole No. 7, the other par 5 on the front side that measures 537 yards from the championship tees. Off the tee box, an iron or lofted wood is a good choice to put the ball in play on the 419 Bermuda fairway because this dogleg left is lined with trees on both sides.
After successfully reaching the bend, the hole turns sharply to the left. If you have not cut enough off the corner, you are left with a choice - lay up short of the dry creek and try to reach the hole in three, or pull out another wood and try to drive over the creek and a towering oak tree on the other side of the creek in the middle of the fairway. Once you've cleared those two obstacles, you have a green with bunkers to the right and left.
Finishing up the front nine and heading toward the clubhouse are two of the more scenic holes at Forest Creek. No. 8 is a 190-yard, par 3 from an elevated tee over the creek to a green that slopes back to front. "Slopes" is putting it kindly. "Slants" and "slick" are two words that seem more appropriate in describing this green. Whatever you do, don't leave your ball above the hole or you are looking at a three-putt or higher.
The par-4, 405-yard No. 9 is another hard dogleg to the left. Off the tee, traps are reachable to the right of the fairway at the bend, and trees and a pond lie to the left. Following your tee shot, you have one of the more picturesque views of Forest Creek as you prepare for your second shot approach to the elevated green. The pond lies left and trees protect the green on the right and left.
Water, like the pond found on No. 9, is not common at Forest Creek. According to head professional and general manager Troy Dickson, the course layout doesn't really need water because it already presents enough challenges without it. "We really don't need a lot of water on this golf course for it to be difficult. It's narrow enough, it's got enough trees and our rough is thick enough." As a result of this, in addition to the doglegs, Dickson said the course generally draws a clientele - approximately 50,000 rounds per year - that is more accomplished. "It's challenging for all skill levels. But it really attracts the skilled players."
In fact, the first pro at Forest Creek, J.L. Lewis, is a rather accomplished golfer himself, and he now finds himself in the top 100 on the money list of the PGA Tour.
On the back side of Forest Creek, course designer Dick Phelps, continued with the dogleg theme beginning on the par-4, 408-yard No. 11. This dogleg right is up hill off the tee and then moves to the right. The approach to the Tifdwarf Bermuda green must carry the bunkers in front to the right and left.
After a straight hole on the par-5, 548-yard No. 12, another hard dogleg awaits on the par-4, 388-yard No. 13. This hole includes a scenic drive uphill and over the creek to a fairway that is lined with trees on both sides. A long iron is a safe choice off the tee as it will provide enough distance to reach the turn. Safely in the fairway, a short iron will carry the creek a second time to a green protected by two greenside bunkers.
No. 14 is one of several signature holes and is a picturesque par 3 that measures 200 yards and features a medium-sized pond to the right and greenside bunkers to the right and left.
Finishing up your round at Forest Creek, which plays host to the Central Texas Amateur Golf Tournament each year, three of the last four holes are doglegs to the right. No. 16 is a double-dogleg to the right. The 539-yard, par 5 features a tee shot between the trees to a fairway that is wide open, with the exception of a reachable bunker on the left. Because of a wall of trees on the right, the second shot requires you to lay up for your approach to the green over the small creek. Several bunkers and trees sit to the right of the otherwise easy-to-hit green.
In a respite from doglegs, No. 17 is a short 160-yard par 3. A bunker to the right and a few trees to the left surround the green but don't present any real problems.
To close, No. 18 is another signature hole and is a dogleg to the right. The 465-yard, par 4 is lined with a wall of trees to the right, and several clusters of trees and a road to the left. After your downhill tee shot, your second shot is to an elevated green protected by a large greenside bunker to the left.
Upon concluding your round, you realize that you have played a course that Golf Digest has described as "the finest public course in Central Texas" - and one of the most challenging as well.
Forest Creek Golf Club
99 Twin Ridge Parkway
Round Rock, TX 78664
Amenities: An 8,000 square foot putting green, a practice green with two greenside bunkers, and a three-tiered driving range.
Head Professional: Troy Dickson
Directions: From Austin: Take Highway 35 North to Round Rock, where you will take the Highway 79 exit east towards Taylor. Heading east on Highway 79, you will go 4.5 miles where you will see a green & white "FOREST CREEK GOLF CLUB" sign. Take a right at CR 122, also known as Red Bud Lane, and drive about 2.2 miles to Forest Creek Drive. Take a left at Forest Creek Drive and follow the signs (about 1.5 miles) to FOREST CREEK GOLF CLUB.