Steve Elkington is an Australian national but played his collegiate golf at the University of Houston, and has remained planted in the golf-friendly city ever since. He has worked on just two clubs in the capacity of golf course architect; both have been in Texas, but Woodforest Golf Club is the nearer to his adopted home.
The club places special emphasis on its greens, advertising speeds of “11 and 12 on the stimpmeter 95% of the time,” quite a feat for a club that welcomed public play until 2020 (no word on whether public play will return following the COVID epidemic has passed). The club features three sets of nine, all designed by Elkington, but the “Front” and “Back” nines are appropriately cited as the traditional 18-hole route. Those two stack up to just over 6,900 yards.
Woodforest about an hour north of Houston is a 27 hole complex with quick greens. Let me repeat, quick greens. The first few holes are good scoring oppties, so you have a chance to start low. The first hole is a welcoming par four with a fairway bunker right. The 2nd is the shortest par three to a green that is protected by three bunkers front and one rear. The 3rd is straightaway par five that is reachable. Trees left and a water hazard that starts about 160 yards out also on the left. The green has a bunker front middle and one back right. The fourth leans a little right but the fairway runs out about 150 yards out. Consider laying up. The 5th has a tight landing area. Ideal drive will be over the right fairway bunker. The 6th is also a reachable par five that leans right. Ideal tee shot is a high fade right of the left fairway bunker. It is a green light 2nd and/or third shot other than trees right and left and a huge front right greenside bunker. The 7th is perplexingly the number one handicap hole. Yes, it is a dogleg left with water all the way, but a decent drive left of the right fairway bunker leaves you with an attack wedge. Heck, even I birdied it. The 8th is the shortest par four and the only defense are the two cross bunkers. Clear those and you will be about 110 yards out. Good thing I called PBFU as my lousy drive ended up in the left one. The front closes out with another short par three, this one with a small water carry.
The back starts with a strong par 5. It is a reverse S starting right. Ideal drive is to the right of the left fairway bunker. The green is tucked behind a left water hazard with a bunker in front of the water about 120 yards out. Play it is a 3 shotter and have your favorite yardage for the approach. The 11th leans a little bit to the left. Trees both sides with a long fairway bunker on the right starting at about 160 out. Also, the fairway ends about 70 yards in front of the green as a brook meanders across. The 12th is the longest par three. The last par five is pretty straight and treelined. There is a fairway bunker right about 150 out and another left inside of that. The 14th is a good birdie oppty, the fairway bunkers left should not come into play. Favor the right side, a decent drive will leave you with a flip wedge. However, there is a creek that runs in front of the green. The 15th is also a birdie hole that is dogleg left. High draw off the tee will leave you with another flip wedge. The 16th is a short par three, you guessed it, flip wedge. The 17th is a long par four tilting left. There are small fairway bunkers on each side in the landing zone and greenside front right and left. The 18th is a good finishing hole. Straightaway off the tee with fairway bunkers where you would expect them to be. The approach is a water carry.
What makes this course are the greens, they are faster than teenage sex. Good not great.