North Texas' Newest Golf Road Trip Destination
Royal Ravenna Scottish Links in Ravenna, TX

Texas Golf by Jason Stone

Sandwiched between the Red River and the city of Bonham, TX in the heart of the Blackland Prairie, the town of Ravenna (elevation 597, population 204) is named after the deep ravine that runs through the middle of town. It is here, 70 miles from downtown Dallas, 32 miles north of McKinney, that you'll find the closest thing to Scotland in the Lone Star state. Ravenna and its amazing links-style track known as the Royal Ravenna Scottish Links is the perfect place for a quick get-away into the country, and a great excuse to break up the monotony of playing at your local club.

The golf

Owner and course architect David Galvan has an affinity for the way golf was played in the beginning, and he's built one of the most unique golf experiences in Texas to prove his passion. This one is links-style all the way, from narrow fairways that might make you want to head home to the 3-foot high "heather" that frames the skinny targets. And while the course is short, tipping out at only 5,150 yards, the steady breezes force accurate shot making, and you will definitely lose if you're determined to bang away for distance.

The short, flat course is favorable for walking, which you'll be forced to do just like in the old days. Pull carts are available, but we recommend that you carry your bag to really get into the mood.

Galvan designed the course so that most of the par 4s play against the prevailing wind, but both sides feature numerous short par 4s, and the longest par 4s (Nos. 6 and 15) are impacted only by cross winds.

From the No. 8 green you can see into Oklahoma, but you'd have to say that the 572-yard No. 5 is the signature since according to Galvan, it has never been birdied. The two notable par 3s both play over water-No. 9 is 160 yards and No. 18 only goes 145 yards. The greens are a mixture of savannah Bermuda and perennial rye grass, which apparently does well in these parts of Texas.

A real treat that is only $9 to play all day--however, that's bound to increase once the metroplex splurges north and the course becomes more popular. Bring your own food and refreshments for now, as the pro shop offers only the bare minimum at this stage in the club's development. Galvan has plans to add a grill that will overlook the entire 18th hole, but that's a few years away.

The details

903-640-2216. 2727 Texas Hwy. 1753 West. Ravenna, TX 75446 1999. David Galvan. Par 70. 5,150 yards. 3 sets of tees. Pull carts only. Price - $.

Getting there

Southeast corner of Texas 1753 and Fannin 1410.

NOTES

Befriend the locals for down-home entertainment or head to Bonham, TX (10 miles southeast) - unless you think you might be able to strum up some action at the community center or volunteer fire department, which are about the only two things in Ravenna. Also note that Bonham is home to one of Texas' oldest courses, the Bonham Country Club (903-583-8815), as well as a recently added track called Legacy Ridge Country Club (903-640-4500). Bonham is tree-shaded and old, known for its courthouse square statue of Alamo hero James Bonham and as the home of "Mr. Sam" Rayburn, the longtime dean of the US Congress. Lake Bonham is 2 miles east and is a nice, quaint place to fish without the big crowds. The best place to eat in the area is also in Bonham, a new joint called Shumardii's Restaurant (903-640-0900).

Jason Stone is the author of The Texas Golf Bible, an 800-page golf-travel book that covers over 900 courses and 430 Texas towns - the perfect inspiration for filling up the ice chest, spreading out the maps, throwing the clubs in the back of the truck, and heading down the road for a golf adventure. For more information visit www.texasgolfbible.com, or call 866-357-2122 to get your copy today.

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