There has been a re-birth of a spectacular golf course deep in the East Texas pines. Once known Southern Hills Golf Course, Tempest Golf Club is open for play after a major renovation.
Renovations started in 2016 and Tempest has done some serious work as they have maximized space from the previous layout while using the land to their advantage as they developed a course with 12 completely new holes and only six left from the previous routing. The Southern Hills Golf Course was known by many as the worst course on the best land. The original measured a mere 5,800 yards and ultimately did not withstand the test of time. However, after the rerouting, the course now has five sets of tees ranging from 4,512 yards to 7,229 from the tips.
On top of the redesign of the golf course, the new clubhouse is the perfect fit to complement the on-course changes. With the addition of Neptune’s Grille & Bar and a 1,600 square-foot addition of the banquet room, the clubhouse is the perfect place to kick back and enjoy a cold one after a round of golf, have a nice meal with friends and family, or to have an event with many guests. In addition, the full-service snack bar that sits adjacent to the putting green and first tee just below Neptune’s is the perfect pit stop for to refuel as you play.
From the first moment you put the tee in the ground you are tested as the 378-yard opener has a tee shot around a dogleg with a bunker staring at you in the face. A tee shot that works off of that fairway bunker will have you positioned in the short grass and a greater opportunity to attack the flag. From there you climb up the hill to an elevated green where all you can see is a portion of the flag. Beware of the elevation change as a bunker is waiting to welcome any approaches that come up short and right. The picturesque house behind the green is surely to catch your eye as you make your way up to the green. With this hole ranking as no. 14 handicap it definitely allows birdies to those who hit two quality shots.
When you come to No. 4 at Tempest you will see why this is one of the best holes on the property. The 157-yard par 3 is a gem and will make you think as proper club selection is paramount. A shot from an elevated tee box down to a green guarded by a creek short and bunkers long and left. With the availability of some tucked pins on the left or right side of the green, a shot to the center of the green and a two-putt par will have you walking away with a smile on your face.
The sixth hole at Tempest is the first of the par 5s playing 566-yards. The fairway is expansive; however, long bombers beware as this fairway narrows considerably the further you hit it with hazards welcoming errant tee shots on both the left and right side. Many will choose to layup and play this as a three-shot par 5. It is a great hole to pick up your first birdie if you hadn’t already done so in the first five holes.
The signature hole at Tempest is the 186-yard par-3 12th hole. This picturesque hole with great views is played from an elevated tee with a deep ravine and a creek looming to gather any and all shots short left. If the club selection wasn’t hard enough for you judge now you have to make sure your shot is accurate and placed on the proper tier as a large spine splits the middle of the green. Shots that find the improper tier are left with a difficult two-putt, but a shot on the proper level will reward you with a makeable birdie opportunity.
Tempest provides quite a test on the back nine which includes the toughest par 3, 4, and 5. No. 10 plays as the hardest par 5 on the course with a tee shot that reward those who choose to take the aggressive route on the split fairway. With bunkers splitting the two fairways you must choose wisely but those who choose the right fairway will be looking at a 3-shot hole. The approach is no bargain as the three-tiered with a guarded pond looms. Accuracy is key on No. 10 both off the tee and into the green.
The finishing hole at Tempest is all you want. The 503-yard No.1 handicap hole is set up with an elevated tee shot that plays with the prevailing wind. Water right challenges anyone looking to play the hole up the right side. The bunker down the left is a great aiming point off the tee. The second shot plays up the hill to a relatively flat green. The key to the second shot is to utilize the hill just left of the green to help funnel golf balls back on to the green. No. 18 will test every facet of your game right up to the finish but it’s a great ultimate hole.
Given time, this course will continue to mature and highlight all of the wonderful changes that were made. Overall, Tempest was a great layout through the East Texas pines that is a fair and fun challenge. The wide array of yardages from multiple tees prove that it is great for all ages and talents. Look for more big things to come in the future from Tempest and I wouldn’t be shocked to see it attract big tournaments and qualifiers in the years to come. Looks like East Texas has a new attraction and it comes in the form of Tempest Golf Club.