While The Wilderness Golf Course in Lake Jackson has been getting attention since it first opened in 1976, it still is recognized as one of the top golfing experiences in the state of Texas. Lovingly referred to as “Texas’ Best Kept Secret,” this course is familiar with high praise from golfers and architects far and wide. In 2017, The Wilderness was voted the 11th best golf course in Texas by Golf Advisor, and in 2018- the 7th top U.S. Course by the same publication. In 2002, golf architect Jeffrey D. Brauer was authorized to seek construction bids for the Wilderness Golf Course and helped to bring it to its full glory that is enjoyed today.
This course is known for how beautifully it fits into its surroundings. Listed below are hole descriptions taken from The Wilderness Golf Course’s website to help provide more insight to this beautiful and unique golfing experience.
Hole No. 1 Par 4 451 / 421 / 391 / 354 Yards
The Wilderness begins with a long par 4 that features the Championship tee box located across the lake from the main tee boxes for the really long hitters! For this par 4, a draw is preferred – but must avoid the left fairway bunker and a narrow landing area. Favoring the left fairway is best to set up a long iron approach to a large green guarded by an �island� bunker. The middle right pin position behind the bunker is the most difficult pin.
Hole No. 6 Par 4 429 / 410 / 352 / 336 Yards
This hole features two right-side fairway bunkers and a pair of tall trees at the front left edge of the green. The best play is to feather a tee shot between the short and long bunker to take the trees out of play on the approach. If you fail to do so, you will need to find a running shot in your golf bag for the approach. A wee touch of Scotland in South Texas!
Hole No. 7 Par 5 551 / 518 / 496 / 470 Yards
After playing a gentle draw to fit the fairway, which is guarded by chocolate drop mounds left and bunkers right, the golfer has a decision. This short par 5 is reachable in two shots, but the multi-level and contoured green makes putting a real challenge. The smart play is to lay up and place your approach shot near the pin to eliminate long putts.
This green will generate lots of discussion. It�s only 12-15 yards wide, but 70 yards long, and has dramatic contours throughout! Although only only a single front center bunker protects the green, missing the green left or right results in severe penalties. The most difficult pin position is the far back shelf, which is very small indeed!
Hole No. 9 Par 4 485 / 466 / 434 / 372 Yards
The front-nine finishes with its longest, best-guarded par 4! A true test for any golfer.
Two fairway bunkers grace each side of the fairway landing area at varying distances, so the golfer must know both distance and direction on the tee shot. The green features sand hazards left and grass hazards right, as well, so the golfer is best to run the approach right up the narrow fairway approach. Even then, the work is not done on this dogleg right � the mid-size green is one of the most contoured on the course, making a closing par difficult.
Hole No. 10 Par 5 535 / 514 / 466 / 406 Yards
The back nine opens with a straightaway, medium length par 5 bordered by wetlands down the entire left side. The tee shot is to a narrow fairway with water coming into play on the right for the long hitters. The second shot offers a choice of routes. Most golfers will lay up short, due to the large center-front bunker protecting the green, while favoring the side of the fairway in which the pin is located. The high banks around the generous green will bounce slightly errant shots back onto the green�but do not miss the green by too much.
Hole No. 14 Par 4 387 / 364 / 342 / 268 Yards
The fourteenth usually plays downwind to this sharp right dogleg. A tee shot to the left-side fairway or straight and long is essential to avoid the tree located on the inside corner of the dogleg. A green-front pond can affect the longest tee shots and challenges the approach shot. The small, elevated green has a backstop, which golfers will use in many interesting ways trying to get their approach shot close, and play safely beyond the water and green front bunker. This green is one of the more severely sloping greens on the course.
Hole No. 15 Par 5 572 / 545 / 525 / 491 Yards
The longest hole on the course offers many play options. The tee shot has a center fairway carry pot bunker and two pinching bunkers on the right, encouraging a draw. Be cautious of the water behind the bunkers on the right. The second shot should flirt with the lateral pond to the landing area to open up vision to the semi-blind green when the pin is left. The large well-protected green is a punch bowl, so distance control is not as critical as alignment.
Hole No. 18 Par 4 461 / 446 / 424 / 404 Yards
The Wilderness finishes with a stern par 4 bordered by a lake along the whole right side. The narrow fairway requires a straight tee shot and it does not get any easier since the second shot is long and demands accuracy. The �L� shaped green is guarded by the largest bunker on the course to the right at over 100 yards long. Three more bunkers guard the left side green creating a narrow fairway approach. The approach shot will demand a long accurate iron to the generous green. Unlike 17, two putting is not assured here, so this is a fine test of long iron play.
Jeffrey D. Brauer/GolfScapes, Inc.
3809 Canton Jade Way
Arlington, TX 76005