Introduction to Conroe
In this blog post we’re going to explore the best public golf courses in Conroe, a city in the southeastern region of Texas.
This is a city renowned for its outdoors credentials, being nestled amongst the rolling hills and pine forests of Montgomery County.
It is also positioned right next to the great Lake Conroe enabling all kinds of watersports and activities.
Conroe is easily accessible, being less than an hour’s drive from central Houston served by Interstate 45.
The best public golf courses in Conroe, Texas
|1||Highland Pines Golf Club|
|2||Augusta Pines Golf Club|
|3||Panorama Golf Club|
|4||The Golf Club at Margaritaville Lake Resort|
|5||Grand Lake Golf Club|
|6||River Plantation Golf Club|
|7||West Fork Golf Club|
|Value for money||Panorama Golf Club|
|Groups||River Plantation Golf Club|
|Clubhouse||Augusta Pines Golf Club|
|Views||The Golf Club at Margaritaville Lake Resort|
1. Highland Pines Golf Club
Close to the community of Porter, half an hours drive south of Conroe, is the superb Highland Pines Golf Club.
At the time of writing, this is the newest public golf course in the greater Houston area, having opened in 2022.
It is owned and managed by TOUR 18 Incorporated, who stunned the golfing world with their 18-hole replica courses, Tour 18. This concept was a huge success and Highland Pines is their most recent adventure.
And it’s fair to say, here at Highland Pines, they’ve excelled themselves. Even in its short lifespan, the course has received rave reviews and looks outrageously mature, like it’s been there decades, not a matter of a couple of years.
The design is the work of Dave Relford, the former associate of Arthur Hills, and a man with bags of experience.
From the back tees, the layout can stretch to just over 7,300 yards. Scoring well from this distance is not easy, with most fairways lined by dense swathes of pine trees. Where there aren’t pines, you’ll encounter water and lots of it.
But boy is it fun. And one of the key attractions is the use of two types of sought after grass. Zeon Zoysia is used on the fairways and Lazar Zoysia on the greens. This is what you would expect to find at some of the finest private courses around the country, let alone a public facility.
Do yourself a favor and go play Highland Pines!
2. Augusta Pines Golf Club
An outrageously good public golf course north of Houston and south of Conroe. You have to play Augusta Pines to appreciate the quality.
It is located in the Spring neighborhood, some thirty minutes drive from Conroe.
First things first, you can’t help but be stunned by the magnificence of the clubhouse. What resembles a stately home, covers an impressive 100,000 square feet. No wonder it is popular for hosting weddings and various other events.
When it comes to the golf course, it doesn’t let down.
Arthur Hill’s former associate Dave Relford was given the reins to design the routing. Opening in 2000, the layout meanders through the sprawling pine forests for which the region is known.
Alongside mature pines are dogwoods and majestic oaks. Creeks and water hazards are constantly lurking with not one, but two island greens. This is part of a tough finishing stretch including the 17th hole, the short par-3, and the par-5 18th hole.
Between 2004 and 2007, Augusta Pines Golf Club hosted the PGA Champions Tour, which is a nod to the quality on offer here.
3. Panorama Golf Club
In a peaceful neighborhood just north of Conroe, is the immensely popular Panorama Golf Club.
Located just off the I-45, Panorama Golf Club has been a mainstay of the community since the 1960s. Some people may recognise the course from its previous guise, The Village Golf Club.
There are three loops of nine onsite, those being Winged Foot, Thunderbird and Rolling Hills. All three are of a similar level meaning regardless of the rotation of nines for the day, you’ll play some quality golf.
The routing meanders through a low-key, verdant neighborhood. You’ll find plenty of trees, providing both shade during the hot days, but also creating narrow fairways to thread your ball through.
Water comes into play on a handful of occasions, most of which you’ll encounter on the Rolling Hills nine. This is especially so on the par 3 third and par 3 sixth holes, both requiring a clean shot over the wet stuff.
All-in-all, a great value and unpretentious golf club, close to downtown and featuring an immense clubhouse.
4. The Golf Club at Margaritaville Lake Resort
On one of the many peninsulas encroaching into Lake Conroe, is this wonderful public layout which is part of the Margarita Lake Resort.
This incredibly popular resort is perched on the shore of the lake and features numerous amenities. Central to these is the main hotel which has over 300 luxury suites and over thirty waterfront cottages onsite. This is hugely popular with people escaping Houston for the weekend.
But we’re here for the golf and the course which originally opened in 1981 continues to grow in popularity. Part of this no doubt due to the all-encompassing renovation which took place in 2007.
Two highly experienced architects, Dave Marr and Jeffery Blume, oversaw this project. What was arguably an aging layout, formerly known to everyone as La Torretta Lake Resort & Spa, has undeniably had an injection of life.
The setting is superb, not just because of the views over the lake, but the elegant pines. Although unless you are hitting the ball straight, you’ll get to know the pines very well. It’s fair to say avoiding the trees is very much the main challenge.
But fortunately, those pines are not dense and so locating errant tee shots should be easy enough.
Good value, good condition, great location, well worth playing.
5. Grand Lake Golf Club
Just under a half hour drive from central Conroe, heading south west past the sprawling Russet Peak neighborhood, is Grand Lake Golf Club.
Although not official, you can’t help but suppose the course was developed to sit seamlessly alongside the upmarket Grand Lake Estates development within which it is located.
Either way, to appeal to discerning golfers in the region, the management attracted a big name architect. And so it was in 2003 that Gary Player was commissioned to compose the routing.
Player is an architectural genius and here he created a marvelous routing which disappears off into the dense Montgomery woodland and eventually returns some 18 holes later.
And this is one of Grand Lakes’ biggest selling points, the fact that not only has it got a top class design. But you lose yourself (not literally) in the stunning setting. There is very little residential housing surrounding the course, and very little noise pollution.
The course has plenty of challenges but neither does it completely beat you up. There is ample give in the fairways and the greens aren’t too penal. Although if you do decide to play from the back tees, you’ll be taking on just short of 7,200 yards.
One thing to be aware of is the lack of clubhouse or facilities. This is about playing golf and nothing else. And with rates around the fifty dollar mark, exceptionally good value. No wonder this is one of the top public courses in the Montgomery and Conroe region.
6. River Plantation Golf Club
South of Conroe, literally just over five minutes drive, is the public golf course of River Plantation Golf Club. It is in the heart of the Woodlands and Spring area.
What was once known locally as River Plantation Country Club, was also a private member’s club with 27 holes to be played.
Yet in 2017/2018, the club was taken over by new ownership who, amongst various changes, swiftly opened the course up to the public. Suddenly the public golfing community were able to book tee times on this wonderful track.
Another key decision was to close nine holes, effectively turning this into an 18-hole golf club. The Charleston course was closed, whilst the Augusta and Biloxi nines were kept open.
Today you get to enjoy 18-holes, designed by the Texas native Jay Riviere. Riviere was responsible for many golf course designs around the Houston area, and here he’s done a sterling job.
The setting is fantastic, a sea of green foliage made up of stately oaks, pines, dogwoods and azaleas. But this is no walk in the park. Yes the setting is beautiful, but the challenge is very real.
Tight fairways required a degree of accuracy off the tee. If not, you’ll soon start cursing the stately trees. And there is water, and lots of it. Snaking creeks and a number of ponds and lakes seem to constantly come into play.
All in all, a good option south of the city.
7. West Fork Golf Club
In the dense pine woodlands just to the west of the city, you’ll find West Fork Golf Club.
This is a Rick Robbins design which opened for play in 2004.
Robbins has a wealth of experience designing courses over the last four decades. Alongside his work in the U.S. he has multiple projects completed in Asia to huge acclaim.
West Fork is a really intriguing design, both challenging and enjoyable. The routing takes you through the vast wooded plot, past lakes and an abundance of wildlife.
In fact this is one of the main selling points playing here. The scenery is on another level, whilst there is so much wildlife to enjoy. Deer freely roam the course whilst beware the odd gators lurking close to the water.
One aspect of the design to be appreciated is how few holes run parallel to one another. Instead fairways are lined on either side by dense swathes of mature trees.
Good value and conveniently close to the city center.