Par Excellence

We asked eighteen of the biggest names in golf—Hall of Famers, tournament champs, up-and-comers, and coaches—to name their favorite hole in Texas. Presenting the course of their dreams. And yours.

January 2007By Comments

Rich Beem

Hole 7 Resort Course, Westin La Cantera Resort, San Antonio
Par 4, 316 yards

“It’s a short par 4, a goofy little hole with Six Flags Fiesta Texas in the background. If you are feeling good, you can drive it onto the green. If not, then you can lay up and then use a wedge. When you stand on top of it, you feel like you are on top of the world.”

Beem won the 2002 PGA Championship. He lives in Austin.

Jack Burke Jr.

Hole 8 Cypress Creek Course, Champions Golf Club, Houston
Par 3, 186 yards

“Tee-wise, you can play it with a wedge all the way to a 3-iron. There is tremendous pin play.”

Burke won the 1956 Masters and PGA Championship. He lives in Houston.

Chad Campbell

Hole 18 Cypress Creek Course, Champions Golf Club, Houston
Par 4, 459 yards

“It is a classic hole, with the trees surrounding the fairway, and I just love the bunkering of the green. I can hit a perfect draw off the tee, and it just looks good to my eye. Of course, it is special because that hole was the site of my first win on the PGA Tour, at the Tour Championship in 2003.”

Campbell won the 2003 Tour Championship. He lives in Colleyville.

Chuck Cook

Hole 5 Dallas National Golf Club, Dallas
Par 3, 225 yards

“You hit the tee shot over a canyon where there is a steep drop to the left of the green. Anything that is hit short is not necessarily in the canyon, but you will find yourself in really high rough or the bunker. In the inaugural Texas Grand Slam, in 2005, Tom Kite was the only guy to hit the green. Ben Crenshaw, Justin Leonard, and Mark Brooks couldn’t make it.”

Cook, who coached Tom Kite and Payne Stewart, lives in Austin.

Ben Crenshaw

Hole 5 Colonial Country Club, Fort Worth
Par 4, 472 yards

“This hole is one of the best examples of the talent of designer Perry Maxwell. Mr. Maxwell was hired by Colonial prior to the U.S. Open in 1941 to redo holes three through five. This trio of holes is referred to as the ‘horrible horseshoe.’ The fifth hole is a demanding par 4 that plays along a bend of the Trinity River. The tee shot is scary, and only a well-executed shot will suffice. The long second shot is to a tightly trapped green. A par is a good score.”

Crenshaw won the Masters in 1984 and 1995. He lives in Austin.

Todd Hamilton

Hole 9 Dye Course, Stonebridge Ranch Country Club, McKinney
Par 4, 463 yards

“The course is very long, with generous fairways and plenty of water to keep things interesting, as well as deep bunkers to punish you if you make a mistake. Hole nine has an elevated tee with water down the right side. The green goes left to right, so you have to cut the ball or have the guts to play out over the water and draw the ball back onto the fairway.”

Hamilton won the 2004 British Open. He lives in Westlake.

Hank Haney

Hole 12 Texarkana Golf Ranch, Texarkana
Par 5, 546 yards

“This is one of the prettiest holes you will ever see unless you happen to be at Pebble Beach on number eighteen. The hole is a reachable par 5, with the trees to the right and water to the left that comes into play on your second shot if you go for the green in two. You can miss your second shot in a safe place to the right, but it leaves you with a challenging pitch shot. The small green is very undulating, so there aren’t any easy putts.”

Haney is Tiger Woods’s coach and runs six golf schools in the Dallas area. He lives in Westlake.

Jim Hardy

Hole 16 South Course, Blackhorse Golf Club, Cypress
Par 4, 348 yards

“You have two options on the drive: You can take the short route and go for the green over a risky marsh. Or you can lay up to the right, but then you have to play a difficult short-iron shot. Ultimately, you are going to have either a challenging first or second shot. Traditionally, people admire the defensive holes—those that are difficult to make par. But I like the offensive holes, which give you the option to go for it and make a good score. The sixteenth is an offensive hole in that I have made eagle, but I also see people get 10’s.”

Hardy is a two-time Harvey Penick Teacher of the Year and the author of the best-selling instructional book The Plane Truth for Golfers. he lives in Houston.

Sandra Haynie

Hole 18 Timarron Country Club, Southlake
Par 5, 540 yards

“When Byron Nelson designed the hole, it was the only hole in Texas where the green was enclosed entirely by water. What I love about it is that after you hit your drive, you have a lot of options. If you catch it with your drive and want to go for it, you can, but it is high risk. If the wind is going into you—I don’t care how hard you hit it—you are not going to make it in two. I usually hit the ball to the left, where there is a higher elevation, which gives me more options, though I did make it in two one time.”

Haynie won the LPGA Championship in 1965 and 1974. She lives in Fort Worth.

Tom Kite

Hole 4 Austin Country Club, Austin
Par 4, 314 yards

“It’s a great strategic par 4. Choosing the aggressive tee shot—if successful—leaves a great opportunity for a birdie with a short wedge approach. Playing a more conservative tee shot leaves a significantly more difficult second to the smallest green on the course. This hole provides many opportunities for birdies, but with at least two chances to hit balls in the water, it also provides the opportunity to mess up a good round of golf.”

Kite won the U.S. Open in 1992. He lives in Austin.

Hank Kuehne

Hole 1 Cottonwood Valley Course, TPC Four Seasons Resort and Club Dallas at Las Colinas, Irving
Par 4, 448 yards

“Cottonwood, where they play the Byron Nelson Championship, is where I have some of my earliest memories of learning to play golf—I always love to go home to play the Nelson. There are trees to the left, a bunker to the right, and a lake short and right of the green. The green is the shape of Texas, with the bunker in the back being the shape of Oklahoma. I’m a Texas guy, so I have a lot of pride in my state.”

Kuehne won the 1998 U.S. Amateur championship. He grew up in dallas and now lives in West Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.

Kelli Kuehne

Hole 18 Dye Course, Stonebridge Ranch Country Club, Dallas
Par 4, 467 yards

“The hole doglegs around the course’s signature lake to the left. With the wind blowing left to right, it brings the lake into play, and with the high rough on the right you have to be right on your first shot. Then water comes into play, and with bunkers guarding the right side of the green, your short game had better be on.”

Kuehne, Hank’s sister, won the U.S. Amateur championship in 1995 and 1996. She lives in Dallas.

Justin Leonard

Hole 13 Royal Oaks Country Club, Dallas
Par 4, 475 yards

“I grew up playing this course and have always loved the challenge of number thirteen in particular. You have to hit a great drive, then a great mid- to long-iron approach to a green guarded by water in front and a bunker long. You really have to hit four quality shots to make par.”

Leonard won the 1997 British Open. He lives in Dallas.

Byron Nelson

Hole 15 Preston Trail Golf Club, Dallas
Par 5, 562 yards

“I helped build the course with Ralph Plummer, and it hosted the Nelson tournament for fifteen years. The hole runs west to east, with houses and rough on the left and a big lake on the right. You have to be sure not to go out-of-bounds either way. Even if you hit a good tee shot, you are faced with a sand bunker to the left of the green and also in the back right. If you go for two and miss, you are in a bad situation. One time, after tying the first five holes of the back nine in a playoff, Jack Nicklaus beat Arnold Palmer by birdieing the hole.”

Nelson won eleven consecutive tournaments in 1945, a record that stands to this day. He died at his home in Roanoke on September 26, 2006, less than two months after this interview.

Judy Rankin

Hole 6 Country Club Course, Stonebriar Country Club, Dallas
Par 3, 148 yards

“I think every great golf course needs to have a tiny hole. Here, you hit off an elevated tee where it plays downward to the green with water on the front and to the left of the hole. It’s a wedge hole for just about everybody.”

Rankin was the LPGA Player of the Year in 1976 and 1977. She lives in Midland.

Sherri Steinhauer

Hole 3 Original Eighteen, Onion Creek Club, Austin
Par 4, 337 yards

“This is a hole in which golfers may be greedy and test their skills off the tee with a longer club and then have a shorter club into the green, possibly setting themselves up for birdie. However, if a player takes this aggressive route and is errant off the tee, disaster could follow. The rolling creek is lurking on the right, a visual obstacle to test the golfers’ nerves.”

Steinhauer won the 1992 du Maurier Classic and the 2006 British Open. She attended the University of Texas at Austin from 1981 to 1985 and now lives in Madison, Wisconsin.

Lee Trevino

Hole 4 Cypress Creek Course, Champions Golf Club, Houston
Par 3, 221 yards

“There is only one bunker next to the large green. You can’t go right or left—you have to go long. A ravine lies to the left of the green. I played it with Ben Hogan during the 1970 Houston Open. The next year I heard he hit two or three balls into the ravine and got so mad that he withdrew from the tournament.”

Trevino is a two-time winner of the U.S. Open, the British Open, and the PGA Championship. He lives in Dallas.

Lanny Wadkins

Hole 16 Preston Trail Golf Club, Dallas
Par 4, 415 yards

 

“I would have to consider it the signature hole of Preston Trail. I birdied the hole on my way to win the Byron Nelson tournament in 1973. I really like how there are no bunkers, but there is still trouble to the right and the left with trees. The key is putting it in the fairway. White Rock Creek runs right before the green, so the longer the drive you have, the shorter the iron shot will be.”

Wadkins won the PGA Championship in 1977. He lives in Dallas.

Tell us about your favorite hole in Texas.

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