By: Travis Dowdle
With fair weather a large portion of the year, sunny days, and challenging winds, Lubbock is an elite place to both practice and play golf. It is accessible to novice golfers and those looking to refine their skills. From world-class facilities found at the Rawls at Texas Tech to affordable and fun local courses like Meadowbrook, Shadow Hills, and Reese Golf Center, Lubbock has it all.
During COVID-19, golf has been one of those activities naturally suited for social distancing, making it an ideal activity that has remained largely unaffected during these challenging times. There has never been a better time to pick up the sport!
For those seeking a more social environment where they can eat, drink and play with friends, practice facilities such as The Range and 4ore! Golf offers a more social atmosphere for all skill levels. Make sure to visit The Range’s new facility on 122nd St. to show off your driving skills.
If you already have years of golf experience and are looking to upgrade your clubs, Daryl at Golf Headquarters can hook you up! He recently did some work on my Taylormade P760’s and is of the Top 100 golf fitters in the country. He exclusively fits the Texas Tech men’s and women’s NCAA Division 1 golf team.
If you are a new player to the sport, I would recommend checking out Facebook marketplace for used clubs if you do not already own your own. You can usually find a good set for a couple of hundred bucks if you are willing to play with something that is a few years old. Growing up, I always played with used, affordable clubs, walked instead of using a golf cart, and chose my tee times carefully during either twilight hours or utilized special deals to make the sport more accessible and affordable. Not to mention the hours and hours I spend on golf courses’ free putting greens, driving ranges and other practice facilities; I am able to maintain my hobby while spending very little on what is predominantly known to be an expensive sport. By budgeting my hours on the course, I am able to occasionally splurge on a round of golf at one of my favorite courses in Lubbock, The Rawls at Texas Tech.
The Rawls at Texas Tech
Truly a masterpiece and one of the most beautiful places in Lubbock, the Rawls Course is owned and operated by Texas Tech University but is also open to the public. It was created in 2003 by taking a flat cotton field and creating all of the undulations from scratch. The original idea was to create a course that mimicked the south end of the city where the plain suddenly starts falling into the valleys and canyons that lead to the caprock region.
The course is a “links” design, meaning that its pin protection and difficulty stems from dry, fast greens, wind, and sand. This style of course pays homage to the origins of golf in the UK and the style of course primarily found there. It is immaculate with conditions and upkeep mirroring any notable private country club. One of my personal favorite features of the course is how forgiving the fairways are off the tee (Grip it and rip it right?). If you are looking to hit some Bryson Dechambeau bombs, this would be the place to do it. The West Texas wind does a fantastic job of keeping you humble, however, and it’s a hard course to go low on, especially with the plethora of double or triple breakers found on the greens.
The Rawls has premier practice facilities including a driving range and available practice greens to not only work on short chips and putts but also full range pitches. I do not recommend this course for those just starting out unless you are willing to lose many balls to the thick rough. If you are from out of town or wanting to challenge yourself, this is simply an amazing all-around course!
Shadow Hills Golf Course
I would consider this my home course for day to day practice. During the evenings you will find me practicing multiple times per week. That is when medical school is a little lighter. Shadow Hills is a fun, tree-lined golf course that is also in great condition and is more suitable for all skill levels. It offers a driving range, practice facilities and the greens and fairways are fair, meaning they are not overly fast or challenging. Plenty of doglegs abound on this course, so get ready to put that slice or hook to good use.
Like many of the public courses here in town, the price can’t be beaten, especially after 5 p.m. if you are willing to play a twilight round. Many people can be seen enjoying a bucket of balls with friends and family gathered around in lawn chairs enjoying the shade. It’s a popular gem and I highly recommend!
Meadowbrook is home to two different, full-length, 18-hole golf courses —The Canyon Course and the Creek Course. Both offer unique topography. The Canyon Course is more rocky and long, while the Creek Course is full of danger at every turn with plentiful water features. Depending on how you are feeling on a particular day, you can challenge different aspects of your game. The Canyon is personally my favorite of the two because I seem to get myself in trouble with all the water on the other side. However, the Creek Course is beloved by many members of the community! Students are particularly welcome at these two courses with deals running daily for those with student IDs from both Tech and LCU.
Reese Golf Center
Simple and affordable. If you are looking for a fun twilight round with friends, Reese is the place for you. This course also regularly offers a Thursday night scramble you can join if you have an itch to bet on your game. For those who want to warm up before their round, a simple putting green is available to stretch out the shoulders and work on your short game. While on the course, you may notice the Bermuda also grabs your ball a bit differently if this is something you are not used to. Opportunities to cut corners, drive greens, and shoot a low score are definitely possible out at Reese. It’s also a very walkable course if you are looking for extra exercise!
Travis Dowdle is originally from Boise, Idaho where he learned to play golf in high school. He is a +4 handicap and has had the opportunity to play many courses in both the Rocky Mountain Region and all over Texas as well as Eastern New Mexico. He is currently the Texas Tech University Health Science Center golf club captain.
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