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Golf Course Review: TPC Craig Ranch

The combination of superb course conditions, challenging hole paths, and yearly spotting of top golfers is an enticing combination for Collin County golfers at TPC (Tournament Players Course) Craig Ranch.

The course, which has been running since 2004 in McKinney, Texas, is entering its third year as host of the AT&T Byron Nelson Classic on the PGA Tour.

While members and guests shouldn’t expect the low 60 score regularly posted on the PGA Tour, there’s plenty of challenge and fun on the par 72 course designed by Tom Weiskopf (par 70 for the PGA Tour in 2023).

“We have a great Tom Weiskopf course, great conditions and a great layout that is so much fun for Tour players to play along with participants and guests,” said the namesake of the field, local developer David Craig.

Having seen the pros in two tournaments at home, Craig knows they can lose at any moment, even from professional tees.

“We can push the range to 7,450 yards, but it won’t be long for the pros,” Craig said. “We have some good diamonds that we can grow, I hope we see a lot of them.”

But as with most fields, where you start the game has a big impact on how you perform on the field, and this is certainly the case at TPC Craig Ranch.

The first par-4 hole is a prime example. From the back tees used by the pros, it’s an intimidating game across a limestone-walled creek to a narrow fairway with a small creek crossing the fairways. Then comes the landing approach with deep bunkers on both sides of the green and a steep descent on the right side. (Rowlett Creek comes into play on a few holes, especially the front nine, and a few back and water before the 18th hole.)

The third par-4 hole has more problems with the creek, as your tee shot forces you to aim straight down the fairway to set up your shot over the water in a long, narrow line. You can aim over the water with a tee box, but this will lead to a long and risky ride. The tee shot will determine how far you need to go on the approach and how much risk you face.

The ninth par-5 hole has enough length and water to finish the first nine. You face water from the tee box and then again with your fairway shot. There are thick bumps, trees and bushes along the right side, meaning there are plenty of places to end your front side on a sour note.

The back nine is filled with danger and challenge, but also offers the best three-hole draw in the diagram. The 14th par-4 hole runs sharply downhill with a large lake on the left side. Big hitters, pros or amateurs, will try to ride or get as close to the green as possible with favorable bounce and roll after hitting the hill and favorable wind direction. Birdie is possible for everyone with a good tee shot, and heads are not out of the question.

Par 15 is a large lake almost running from the tee to the green, meaning your tee shot could be a spectacular success, or a water disaster with another bird, or a much worse possibility.

Hole 16, a par 4, is one of the toughest on the course as it is a long par 4 with fairway traps up the slope ahead, lots of bushes to the right and a heavily undulating green.

“Given the rising fairway and the small, undulating green, we probably talk about this hole more than any other,” said new director of golf Steve Bendt.

If you survive or thrive on this three-hole stretch, then you’re ready for par 17, which plays like a completely enclosed stadium during Byron Nelson, and par 18, yes, with a lot of water in it. in front of greenery.

As befits a PGA Tour course, the practice facilities here are excellent: a long two-way range at the first tee, two putting greens near the first hole and the 18th green, and a chipping area with practice bunkers. There is also a large dressing room with tall wood paneled lockers.

You may not be getting the salary that PGA Tour players get for playing well at Craig’s ranch, but you certainly enjoy playing well on one of the best and best maintained courses in Collin County.

Required number of balls
: Two to three sleeves should work here, depending on which tee you’re playing from for most golfers with lots of water and trees.

Heaviest Hole: Par-4 16th hole. The long par 4 has a rising fairway, which makes the hole look even longer. To the right there are trees and bushes, large bunkers in front of the green, and a heavily undulating green when you finally arrive with your club. Take your face value and run, don’t walk, to the next hole.

The best option without golf: As you walk through the big Craig Ranch club, there is a big map on the right showing all the TPC club locations and places where you can play your next round in the vast network. Once you get caught in the rain, there are many chances of seeing your next destination in warmer, drier conditions.

Steam: 72

footage 7438 to 5145 yards

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