Course Feature – Prairie Lakes
Prairie Lakes has long been a favorite of the AVIDGOLFER crew. One of Grand Prairie’s city courses, this property will provide your group with every amenity needed and three nine-hole courses to tee it up.
With 27 holes to play, you could end up playing any combination of the three nines. But if you are fortunate enough to catch the White Nine, you are in for one of the most interesting collections of holes in the area. The opening trio of holes on the White Nine can yield some birdie opportunities before you head toward the most difficult stretch of holes in local municipal golf.
A par-5 opens the nine, playing at just 480 yards. This slight dogleg right offers a chance to get to the green in two with a solid tee shot. The first green slopes severely from back-to-front, so anything that comes up short of a back pin will be a tough two-putt. No. 2 and No. 3 are both gettable holes with an accurate tee shot, but as with many holes on this property, tree-lined fairways can mean a necessary chip out back to the fairway with a miss left or right.
No. 4 on the White is another short par-4, offering players a chance to hit driver to get somewhere close to the green, but a long-iron or hybrid is also a reasonable play, which can leave a short iron in-hand. Beware of the right miss on the approach shot, as balls will careen to the right and leave a messy third.
If you have ever played the White Nine at Prairie Lakes, then you are likely aware of the three-hole stretch known as the “Grand Bermuda Triangle.” This gauntlet of No. 5, 6 and 7 are arguably the most intense, ball-depleting, white-knuckle holes in DFW public golf.
The par-3 fifth, which gives players their first look at nearby Mountain Creek Lake, is as visually stunning as it is intimidating. A sliver of landing area, barely wide enough to accommodate the cart path, runs between the tee and the green of this 195-yard hole. Needless to say, anything short will meet a watery death. The only reasonable miss is a little left of the green, which will make for a tricky up-and-down. A par here adds a feather in your local muni golf cap.
If No. 5 didn’t get your attention, then No. 6 definitely will. This par-4 is a slicer’s nightmare, with water all down the right that seemingly never ends. Again, a thin patch of land bisects the hole from tee to landing area, and if you plan to bail out left, there is more water that makes you re-think that plan. The key here is finding the fairway, and with the hole usually playing a bit downwind, players can choose a hybrid or a 3-metal for more control. Longer hitters can play gutsy, hit driver and chase balls up close to the green. Those who lay back off the tee will face an awkward approach to a green that slopes left to right toward the water. No. 6 is a true test for any skill level from tee to green.
The final leg of the triangle is the par-4 seventh. Although this hole plays downhill, it will usually play into a prevailing wind, making this narrow hole play longer than the 365 yards on the scorecard indicates. A long iron, hybrid or 3-wood may be the play here, as the landing area is flanked on each side with water. Players who find the fairway are in good shape, but there is one final hurdle as the water down the left stretches all the way to the left of the green, so an approach to the middle of the putting surface is at a premium here. Pull it off, two-putt and put the grueling “Grand Bermuda Triangle” in your rearview. Playing this collection of holes in anything +1 or better should be considered a great success.
If you thought you were done with water after the triangle, you would be incorrect. No. 8 is another par-3 that is a forced carry over a small lake that will again test your game. Although, unlike the former par-3 in the triangle, there is plenty of bailout area left of the green. If you miss, this is the place to do it.
After a final par-4 back toward the clubhouse, the White Nine is complete, and as you can see, it has as much personality as any nine holes in the area.
The second nine we will visit is the Red Nine. I have found that more often than not when I make my way to Prairie Lakes, you loop the Red followed by the White. The Red Nine is a great way to ease into the round before taking on the more challenging White or Blue.
Right out of the gates, the Red presents a great scoring opportunity with a short par-5. Although the fairway is relatively hard to hit, players who pull it off will reap the benefit of a short approach. Careful of the small water feature that meanders just short of the green, as it can collect shots that come up short.
After back-to-back par-4s, the second of the par-5s on the Red Nine greets players. This hole is a three-shot par-5 for all but the real long hitters. Playing at 540 yards from the tips, a good tee shot down the right side of the fairway leaves an optimal angle for a lay-up. The pond short and left of the green must be carried to have a chance for birdie or par.
The first par-3 on the Red Nine appears at No. 5. This 165-yarder is over water and can be demanding, as it usually plays into a prevailing breeze. It also plays a touch downhill, so club selection and distance control are at a premium here.
Another par-4 and a par-3 follow, before one of the most interesting holes on the Prairie Lakes property. The golf course architecture guru will likely question this hole design, but for me, it is interesting and fun, in a bizarre, kitschy kind of way. The par-4 eighth is a real risk vs. reward hole, where players can choose the long way, which is almost all carry over water, or flare a shot out to the right to a safe landing zone. The straight-at-the-green option requires a tee shot carrying 255 yards over water. Yet those who pull it off will be rewarded with a generous speed slot; potentially kicking your ball up to the green. The risk could reward players with a chance for eagle or, at worst, a tap-in birdie. Take the conservative route to the right and a short iron will remain, but it’s from a bit of a strange angle. No. 8 is, for my money, one of the quirkiest holes in DFW.
The Blue Nine is the last set of holes we must take a tour of at Prairie Lakes. The opening hole on the Blue is the only par-4 opener of the trio of nines. This hole plays right at 400 yards from the tips and features a tree that sits on the right side of the fairway. Those who play a cut can find their ball close enough to the tree that they may need to hit a punch under it or play around it to the left of the green.
The third hole on the blue nine is one that I have always found interesting. This par-4 plays at just 365 yards but features a hard dogleg to the right and water that runs all down the left. Most players will hit an iron or hybrid off the tee for position, but those who want to hit driver can play a cut and end up with a wedge in their hands.
The first par-3 on the Blue Nine plays at 190 from the back tees, and surprise, surprise, features a carry over water. This is another hole that will challenge even the best ball-strikers, as the wind can play from a trickly cross direction here. Best suggestion is to hit the middle of the green, take your two-putt and get to the next tee box.
The final five holes on the Blue Nine can really turn the tide of your round. A long par-5 to begin the inward five plays at 555 yards from the tips and will play as a three-shot hole for almost all players. When conditions are dry, though, tee shots can get some extra roll, allowing for some to give the green a go in two. For those who lay up, a third shot over water awaits, which can be visually intimidating. Par is absolutely a good score here.
No. 6 is a par-3 that plays almost a full club uphill. A front pin is almost fully visible, but a back pin placement can make it difficult to see the bottom of the pin, making this shot a bit of an optical illusion. The green is deeper than it appears from the tee, so finding the proper portion of the putting surface is the best way to give yourself a chance at birdie.
The seventh hole on the Blue Nine is the hole I enjoy the most of the final nine at Prairie Lakes. This downhill, short par-4 can be a springboard to a great finish to your round. Playing at just under 300 yards from the back tees, this hole is attackable from the tee with a driver or 3-metal. There is a large tree and pond guarding the green, but there is some room left of the putting surface where balls will collect, leaving an easy pitch shot. If you choose to get aggressive here, an easy birdie can follow.
The final two holes on the Blue are a reachable par-5 and a tough par-4. No. 8 is pretty straightforward, with a wide fairway that gives players a chance to reach the green in two and add another birdie on the card.
No. 9 plays over water and a little uphill off the tee, with an approach that doglegs back up to the right toward the clubhouse. Second-shot club selection is the key to this hole, and the elevation change tends to make players come up short, leading to a tough up-and-down to end the nine.
Overall, Prairie Lakes offers three very interesting nine-hole layouts for a great value. I would argue, pound-for-pound, you get as good a bang for your buck at Prairie Lakes as anywhere else in the area. The clubhouse is accommodating, with just about everything you’ll need for your round. The pro shop is not large, but comes complete with an adequate selection of caps, balls, shoes and other things you might need before you play. There is a nice driving range to warm up or refine your game, and the putting green is perfect for rolling a few before the round or having a little putting contest with your buddies to exchange a bet or two.
Across the hall from the pro shop sits the snack bar, which is blessed with the always tasty Eddlemon’s Barbecue. To be honest, if there is ever an argument with my weekly group over whether to play Prairie Lakes or another comparable course, Eddlemon’s is always the deciding factor. On my last visit, I sampled the chopped beef sandwich, and it was excellent as always. You would be hard-pressed to find a better post-round meal at a muni in the Metroplex. In fact, there are many who stop in just to pick up a to-go order from the restaurant, having not even been on the golf course that day. Point is, the ‘cue alone is worth the trip.
At the end of the day, Prairie Lakes offers everything the daily-fee golfer would need for a fun afternoon on the course. It provides plenty of challenging holes, while also allowing players to score on others. If you’re looking for a reasonable rate, some fun golf and some great barbecue, then look no further than Prairie Lakes.