Introduction to McKinney

In this blog post we’re going to take a look at some of the best golf courses in McKinney, Texas. In Collin County, McKinney is fast growing a reputation as one of the most desirable places to live in the United States.

The city is just a half an hour drive from downtown Dallas, to the north past Plano. The area the city encompasses is broadly located between two huge lakes; Lewisville Lake and Lavon Lake. 

McKinney couldn’t be more different to the mega-city of Dallas. This is a historic city with a charm and low-key vibe. Down main street you’ll find lines of independent shops and cafes. 

McKinney Texas

This slower pace of life is what attracts so many tourists year on year. There are many historic sites hidden amongst the tree-lined streets. For example, Chestnut Square Historic Park which transports you back to McKinney’s earliest days. 

There is also a burgeoning food scene as well as a craft brewing wave. Finding somewhere for a cold beer and a bite to eat, won’t be a problem. Choosing which one will be!

But for now, let’s start exploring some of the finest golf courses near McKinney

See also: What are the best golf courses in Texas?

The best private golf courses in McKinney, Texas

Gentle Creek Country Club

Gentle Creek Golf Course, McKinney, Texas, Permission Given

Here we have a top-class private golf club, Gentle Creek Country Club. It is located in the town of Prosper to the west of McKinney. 

This is a nice and peaceful part of north Dallas, with the course located within a beautiful 235 acre plot. Everywhere you look, you see manicured fairways and lush vegetation.

The golf course was designed by D.A. Weibring and opened for play in 2002. Weibring had a very successful career on the PGA Tour and Champions Tour, winning a number of tournaments. Whilst in the latter stages of his playing days, he started focusing more on golf course design. 

And boy did he hit it out the park at Gentle Creek.

This is Texas golf epitomized. A number of elevation changes, tree-lined fairways and a handful of links-style holes. Water also comes into play on various holes with a 20-acre lake and some picturesque water hazards. 

The 18th hole is a killer. A par 5 which measures 561 yards from the back tees and features water all along the left hand side. You then have an approach over water to reach the green. What a way to finish your round! 

Stonebridge Ranch Country Club (The Dye Golf Club & The Hills)

The substantial residential project that is Stonebridge Ranch, is just 4 miles from downtown McKinney. This is a gorgeous leafy suburb, highly desirable featuring modern, luxurious homes.

To add to the appeal, there are 45 holes of golf for residents and members to enjoy. Pete and Alice Dye were responsible for one 18-hole championship course. Whilst Arthur Hills designed the other 27 holes. Both are signature courses.

Getting two apex designers to work on this project was a feat for the management company. But needless to say, the Dye course is the one which people generally want to experience. Yet once they’ve played it, many wish they’d never tried! 

This is no disrespect to the course. Quite the opposite. The Dye Course at Stonebridge Ranch is unquestionably one of the best golf courses in McKinney. But it is also unquestionably the most challenging with Dye at his sadistic best. 

From the professional tees, with a rating of 77.6, the yardage is just shy of 7,400 yards. There are massive water hazards, tall fescue grass, huge bunkers, undulating fairways and rapid greens. This is not for the faint hearted. Although at least you’ll be able to experience many of Dye’s signature holes on this bombastic ride. 

On the other end of the scale is the Hills Course. Far more accommodating and friendly, this is yet another popular option. It is also routed through lush grounds making the playing experience all the more pleasurable. 

Stonebridge Ranch Country Club has two of the finest golf courses in McKinney, maybe even in Dallas. Any invitation here you should grab with open arms. 

TPC Craig Ranch

TPC Craig Ranch, McKinney, Texas, Permission Given

The host venue to the AT&T Byron Nelson Championship, TPC Craig Ranch is a great golf course. You’re just south of McKinney and over a half hour’s drive north of central Dallas.

The course was designed by Tom Weiskopf, the 1973 Open Champion, opening in 2004. 

Weiskopf is one of those few players who have successfully transitioned into just as successful a design career. He has a number of courses dotted around the Top 100 lists, with personal highlights including Troon Country Club, the Stadium Course at TPC Scottsdale and the superb Loch Lomond in Scotland. 

TPC Craig Ranch maybe isn’t as well recognised but is no less an achievement. Pristine fairways and mature woodland stretch across rolling hills. There is a persistent creek, Rowlett Creek, which snakes through the site coming into play on fourteen holes. You’ll be cursing its name by the end of the round. 

From the back tees the course measures well over 7,400 yards and is renowned as one of the more challenging layouts on the tour. For those people missing the fairway, you’ll be trying to punch your ball out of the thick rough.

Sadly TPC Craig Ranch is a private club, so members of the public can’t just rock up and pay a green fee. 

The best public golf courses in McKinney, Texas

Oak Hollow Golf Course

Oak Hollow Golf Course, McKinney, Texas, Permission Given

We start our list of public golf courses in McKinney with Oak Hollow Golf Course. This is one of the most popular municipal golf courses in the area, helped no doubt by the fact it is just four miles north of downtown.

The course opened for play in 1998 and was designed by the relatively unknown Maury Miller. Yet on paper Miller has heaps of experience and has worked with one of the finest golf course architects of all time, Tom Fazio. 

Oak Hollow was one of Miller’s own designs and this is a fun and challenging layout. 

The fairways are quite tight, particularly following a recent project to add some 150 trees to the site. You shouldn’t lose too many balls, but you certainly won’t be scoring well if you do spray it off the tee.

But fun it is and the site is especially pleasant. Although when you get to the eighth hole, don’t expect too much. Without doubt the hardest hole on the course, this par 4 measures 421 yards from the back tees. From the tee you have water off to the right and a creek crossing the fairway. You then need to approach the green yet again avoiding the lake on the right. Oh yeah, and all along the left is out of bounds. Good luck.

 At just $42 midweek, this is great value. And post round, make sure you enjoy the 7,300 square foot clubhouse which was opened in 2010. 

Eldorado Country Club

Arguably the closest golf club to downtown McKinney, is the private Eldorado Country Club. The club is a mere four or five minute drive from the city center!

This is a family focused club with aside from the championship golf, it features a number of other family friendly amenities. There is a huge swimming pool and a number of tennis courts with a busy lesson schedule. You’ll also find an impressive clubhouse and a very engaged membership due to its social calendar.

But clearly it is the golf we’re here for and Eldorado is a fine course. It opened in 1981 and was designed by Gary Baird of Global Golf Design. 

Baird might not be the most recognised name in golf architecture, but he has serious pedigree. For nearly a decade he worked with the Robert Trent Jones firm, before launching his own company, Global Golf Design. He has subsequently designed many courses worldwide.

From the back tees, Eldorado Country Club reaches 6,770 yards. It is routed through a low-key residential area, but at no point do you feel encroached by housing. There is ample foliage and greenery to ensure you focus solely on the golf.

The site is incredibly lush whilst the fairways and greens are renowned for being in good condition. 

See also: What are the best public golf courses in Dallas?

WestRidge Golf Course

Westridge Golf Course, McKinney, Texas, Permission Given - resized

Every now and again you come across a golf club which offers so much more than just a great course. You can tell there is a really engaged membership and a focus on doing the small things right, be it attention to detail or service. 

Well WestRidge Golf Course is one of those clubs that fits that description. 

Located just off N Cotton Ridge Road, to the west of McKinney, WestRidge is immensely popular. It was designed by Jeff Brauer and opened just after the turn of the century, in 2001.

Brauer and his design team are also based in Texas, in the city of Arlington. They’ve built a solid reputation over the years for designing courses with exceptional craftsmanship and a concern for the environment.

Here at WestRidge, you can see a lot of that in play. At times the layout is links-esque, with ridges and hollows dotted around the undulating fairways. There are holes with very few trees and instead long wispy rough.

There are parts of the course that are so exposed, if the wind is blowing, you’ll be right up against it. On well over half the holes, you could be hitting into the wind.

It is also pretty unique with six par 5s, six par 4s and six par 3s. Great fun and well worth a visit.

Plantation Golf Club

Plantation Golf Club, McKinney Texas, Permission Given

Just east of Frisco in a master planned community is Plantation Golf Club. It’s literally a ten to fifteen minute drive south out of McKinney on the Sam Rayburn Tollway.

Plantation Golf Club is open to the public on a daily pay basis and is one of the better public golf courses in McKinney. 

The course was designed by Richard Ellis and to date remains his only venture into golf course design. Opening in 1988, the course winds its way through a large master planned residential community. The landscape is lush, but there is obviously an omnipresent feeling of being watched!

The lines of housing also restrict the routing, meaning many of the fairways are tight. Stray shots off the tee could find you picking your ball out of someone’s pool. 

That said, this is a decent public play option. The track is good and with continued emphasis on the course condition, this remains good value. It is also not overly punishing measuring just under 6,500 yards from the tips. 

Ridgeview Ranch Golf Course

Ridgeview Ranch Golf Club, McKinney , Texas, - resized

Yet another top class public golf course, this time in Plano just south of McKinney. Ridgeview Ranch Golf Course is hugely popular with the locals and is renowned for being good value and great fun. 

The location is set amongst the rolling hills endemic to this area north of Dallas. The course meanders through partly residential and partly wooded areas, as it climbs and drops across the natural topography.

This is a Jeff Brauer design which opened for play in 1997. Oftentimes designers will visit a site and there is an element of luck in seeing what natural features already exist throughout. 

Here at Ridgeview Ranch, Brauer must have been delighted to see stunning lime rock outcroppings and meandering creeks giving the site plenty of character. Both of which have been expertly entwined into the design. 

The fairways are not too tight from the tee allowing for a little inaccuracy off the tee. Without stating the obvious, you should score well if you keep your ball in play, particularly avoiding the creeks and patches of woodland. 

If you’re looking for a public play option close to McKinney, Ridgeview Ranch should be up there as one of your options. 

The Golf Club at Twin Creeks

The Golf CLub at Twin Creeks, McKinney, Texas, Permission Given

Set amongst the emerald hills of Allen, just south of McKinney, is the wonderful Golf Club at Twin Creeks.

This is up there with some of the best public golf courses in McKinney, being good value but primarily having an awesome design. So much so, it was named as one of the best daily fee golf courses in Texas by Golf Digest no less.

When it comes to the design, it is top class. This is no doubt because it is an Arnold Palmer Signature Golf Course. Palmer and his long-term design partner Ed Seay designed the course in 1995 and since then the course has served the local residents and its membership.

As you play, you’ll encounter the two creeks which cut across the course, and from which the club takes its name. There are also five lakes dotted throughout, all of which come into play. 

The site is beautiful, with like so many other courses on this list, lush wooded rolling hills being the main feature. With multiple tee boxes on each hole, you’ll enjoy Twin Creeks regardless of your ability. 

One thing to consider though – it is a little more expensive than some of the other pay and play options on this list. So make sure you shop around a little first.

Heritage Ranch Golf & Country Club

Heritage RAnch Golf & Country Club, Dallas, Texas, PErmission Given - resized

The last golf course in McKinney to feature on our list, but certainly not the least, is the superb Heritage Ranch Golf & Country Club. Not only is this a great layout, but it is an even better club.

I rate Heritage Ranch so highly, it featured within the ‘best public golf courses in Dallas’ list.

The club is located close to Lavon Lake, some 15 minutes or so drive from central McKinney. Heritage Ranch forms a central part of a highly sought after, 575-acre gated community. 

For starters, this is a beautiful spot. A verdant site which is a pleasure on the eye. You’ll come across landscaped gardens, serene lakes and plenty of woodland. And it is within the surrounding landscape that the Arthur Hills designed golf course is routed. 

Hills has designed many great courses throughout his career. Yet Heritage Ranch Golf & Country Club has to count as one of his better publicly accessible ones. 

From the tips, the course measures around 7,000 yards which is definitely a test for the better golfers. But with various tee options, any level can enjoy themselves. 

Great value and definitely somewhere you’ll want to hang around afterwards for a bite to eat and a drink. The ‘Texas ranch’ styled clubhouse is spectacular.

What is the best golf course in McKinney, Texas?

The best golf course in McKinney, Texas, is the private Dye Golf Club at Stonebridge Ranch Country Club. The course was designed by the husband and wife duo of Pete and Alice Dye. However, be warned, it is also one of the most challenging.

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