Start talking to people about municipal services and you’ll often get a less-than-favorable response. Luckily for the good citizens of Allen and golfers all over Collin Country, there is one city service most will be happy with: The city-owned Clubs at Watters Creek, which straddles the Allen – Plano border, offers public golf for everyone with a variety of options.
Originally designed by Bruce Devlin in the early 1990s, Watters Creek began life as Chase Oaks Golf Course, but the city closed the course in 2011. A year later, it reopened. There was a brilliant new design by local architect PGA Tour player DA Weibring and Steve Wolford which turned the course into a shining new facility, the Clubs at Watters Creek.
As the name would suggest, there are actually three different courses adjacent to Highway 75, just north of Plano, with a huge city of Allen flag visible from the highway.
What was once a 27-hole very un-player-friendly playout now has an 18-hole legends course which can play from 7,015 yards from the back tees and give any good player all the challenge they can handle.
There is also the players’ course, a nine-hole layout with six par 3s and 3 par 4s — an excellent test for anyone new to the game or who doesn’t hit the ball as far. There is also the 6-hole future’s course which is lit and can be played with a 9-iron, wedge and a putter — and a willingness to work on your short game in top-notch conditions.
“We have golf for everyone,'” longtime Director of Golf and Golf Services Manager Jeff Holt tells Local Profile. “We have a six-hole course, a nine-hole course and an 18-hole championship course. Something for all types of golfers.”
Watters Creek has even been nominated for a nationwide municipal golf award for its excellent green grass options for taxpayers and everyone else.
Wolfard said the idea was to take a 27-hole course that many people, especially less than top-notch golfers, considered too hard and turn it into something more player friendly and inviting.
“We always try to protect the positive aspects of courses we renovate as we did with the new clubs at Watters Creek,” he added. “The courses will invite your eye into the refreshed property providing the ability to bounce the ball on the green on all of the three courses while choosing the level of challenge to match your game with the variety of tees and angles of play.”
“We were striving for a traditional clean look highlighted with the white sand bunker locations guiding you around the course,” said Wolfard “A big effort was made to prune the under-brush the tree-lined fairway corridors to refresh the site along with the dredging and reshaping of the nine lakes on the 250 acres.”
But just because the course is more player friendly, it doesn’t mean easy. After a good opening par 4 on the legends course, players cross the street and the fun really begins. There are plenty of tree-lined fairways that require a premium on keeping the ball in the fairways.
As the name would suggest, there is water on at least half the holes with lakes and large ponds adjacent to the fairways and greens.
A case in point is the par-3 ninth hole that plays 205 yards from the back tee, but forces golfers to hit over a large pond to find the green. Many front nine rounds can sink or swim here which is why it’s a good thing the chilled drinks and snacks halfway house are just steps away from the ninth green.
The par-4 10th hole is a sharp dogleg right to a well-guarded green with a creek in front and bunkers on both sides. The back nine plays through neighborhood houses with more water (especially the par-3 16th hole) and two great finishing holes including the par-5 18th with more water to the left.
The practice facilities are as good as anything in the Dallas area, public or private, with the six-hole futures course, a large lighted range, two large putting greens, a chipping green, and even the Plane Truth Teaching Center headed by a Master teacher Chris O’Connell, where PGA Tour superstar Matt Kucher has been known to stop by for a lesson.
It’s city service done right for all of Allen, Collin County and any other golfer who wants to come by and experience The Clubs at Watters Creek.
Yardage 7,015 to 5,636 yards
Ball Count Needed: 2 sleeves here. As the name would suggest lots of water and lots of trees.
Toughest Hole: The par-4 6th hole is one of a kind. Players have to try and lay up to a very narrow fairway with OB right and water and brush left. Then a long approach shot over a large bank with water at the bottom of the bank. Take a heroic par and easy bogey and run, don’t walk to the next tee.
Bonus: Among the best practice facilities, public or private in the Dallas area, with a lighted range and short course, chipping and putting greens. Plus Allen residents get a discount.
The Clubs at Watters Creek
7201 Chase Oaks Blvd
In case you missed it, here’s Local Profile’s golf review of Heritage Ranch Golf & Country Club in Fairview, Texas.