Whatever you do, don’t take a look at the scorecard online and then take a look at a view of the course on Google maps and confidently predict that this will be a ‘walk in the park’. I can categorically state it most certainly will not! To score well at Las Colinas you must have a very good short game and be a good reader of greens. The complexes around many of the greens ensure your distance control with you wedges must be spot on. The greens are of a lovely pace, about 10.5 to 11 on the stimpmeter and very true. Put yourself in the wrong part of many greens and you can have a putt that can be treacherous; but they are a delight to putt on.
There is plenty of room off the tee but you must be careful not to get too greedy – reaching for the driver is not always the best option. There are multiple holes where there are an incredible number of bunkers (11th hole particularly, probably too many if you wanted to be picky, but staying out of them is crucial to scoring well. There are plenty of bunkers around the greens too but if you find them, the quality of the sand is fantastic to play out of.
There are many elevation changes throughout the course which have been cleverly used. Many of the shorter par 4 holes play slightly uphill and invariably into the prevailing wind too. So, if you lay up short of the traps you will find yourself hitting considerably more club than you thought you would be.
It’s hard to pick out favourite holes on a course of this quality. However, what I will say is that the start is undeniably tough. The first is not overly long but it is very narrow at the landing area if you want to leave a relatively short shot to the green. Lay up further back and you are then hitting over the corner of a bank covered with trees to a semi-blind raised green with bunkers and run offs all around; not exactly a gentle start to anybody’s round! The second is just over 400 yards long but rises steadily to the putting surface, The green is tricky and narrow with run offs especially tricky yo the left of the green. The third is simply a fantastic par 5. You really have to think your way down this hole with water very well placed as you near the green. As I say, you really have to come out of the traps quickly and holes 1 to 3 pose many, many questions.
What is noticeable with the design of the course is that many of the shorter holes play into the prevailing wind. This can get very strong on some day’s making reaching the 5th and 17th holes, both par 3’s very difficult. The remaining par 3’s on the 7th, 10th and 14th are lovely holes.
If the wind is blowing strongly, the finishing stretch from 15 to 18 can be tough too with water coming into play on 3 of those 4 holes. I particularly liked the par 4 16th which asks plenty of questions. The tee shot has to cross a lake; the more you bite off the shorter your second shot can be. Bail out right however and the opposite side of the fairway is protected by 3 well placed bunkers. The approach is none too easy either and has a fantastic three-tiered green: all in all a wonderfully challenging par 4.
I can't write this review without commenting on the 17th. What a tremendously challenging par 3 this is! It is quite long at 215 yards off the yellow tees, however, if the wind is blowing steadily then you have to hit a quality long iron/hybrid or fairway wood to get on the green here which is surrounded by a multitude of bunkers. Get a 3 here and you really do deserve a beer in the clubhouse!
I’ve always been a fan of par 5 finishing holes with water involved somewhere down the hole. The 18th at Las Colinas is, in my opinion, a tremendous hole. A generous fairway off the tee then narrows as it gets within 170 yards of the green with water on the right and a multitude of bunkers down the left. The green itself is fantastic with a huge ridge running through it’s spine:
a wonderful conclusion to a truly testing round of golf.
All in all, you won’t be disappointed if you play at Las Colinas. The course is excellent and with the recent addition of a Miguel Angel Jimenez designed short game area, the practice facilities have been further improved.
Date: May 21, 2018