Crystal Highlands Golf Club
|Blue M: 70.6/128||527||302||400||182||376||392||353||531||146||3209||501||174||290||344||327||447||389||177||384||3033||6242|
|White M: 66.1/112||510||276||378||160||363||353||333||509||107||2989||480||151||265||321||308||395||363||130||371||2784||5773|
|Red W: 68.7/104||417||190||284||136||278||312||291||452||82||2442||427||137||218||233||292||326||282||95||290||2300||4742|
Food & BeverageSnacks, Restaurant
Worth The Drive To Play
About 25 miles outside the 270 loop of St. Louis, Crystal Highlands is worth the drive. Upon arriving, overlooking the course from the clubhouse is stunning. Beautiful rolling hills and valleys. The course has great design with all the holes being different. They have some of the best greens in the St. Louis metro area. They are concerned about pace of play and have a ranger actually monitoring this. They offer a great price for the course you are getting and the service inside the restaurant/bar was outstanding. The course is not perfect (see below) but well worth the drive and you should go play this course.
They redesigned hole #2, which I think actually slows down play because it has 3 hidden bunkers and it can be driven by the longer hitters. I would suggest looking at Google Earth to get an overview from above to give you an idea on how to play the hole.
Like I said previously, some of the best greens you will find. However, several greens have some bare spots (mostly on the edges) which they have covered with sand. These spots really don’t come into play but are more of an eyesore on the greens. These are greens on holes 3, 9, 10 and 11. Hole 11 has the most of these spots. The greens are heavily watered and produce a lot of footprints from the soft conditions.
They offer an attractive Saturday morning price on-line of $63. However, this requires you to pay for all the green fees at that time. The only course in the area that does this. This requires you to collect from your playing partners. What happens if you get rained out? I don’t like this policy. I called to get my tee time and this requires no pre-payment. The greens fee goes from $63 to $67 using this method.
The course has a mixture of wiry Bermuda grass and zoysia in the fairway. This course would be much better if they had all zoysia fairways. Especially, on hole 12, the fairway is mostly the Bermuda and that fairway was extremely dry. With this dry Bermuda, you get a very tight lie. The same of hole 13. On hole 15, you have sections of zoysia and Bermuda. If you hit your ball in the zoysia, you have a perfect lie. If your ball lands in the Bermuda, you have very little grass to hit from.
The last thing, the branches of the sycamore tree are entering the fairway on the tee shot on hole 5.
Incredible Greens & Hospitality
I last played Crystal Highlands about 8 months ago. This time the course had taken on a lot of water and the fairways were dormant. We were lucky enough that we were able to play the course before they aerated their greens. This course is scenic and hilly.
It was the middle of April. You will NOT find any better greens in April or probably this upcoming year. With slopes and contours of these greens, you have to putt defensively because they are very smooth and fast - especially downhill. When you play this course, you really need to try to keep your ball below the hole,
You will also not find any better hospitality at a golf course either. Many family members of Gary Surdyke are working at the course. From his motorsports business he started, he has instilled his customer service mentality into his employees that is unmatched.
The remodeling of the clubhouse looks great too. A bar was added and plenty of tables to sit at. Service was outstanding.
In my last review, there was a large plant blocking the view of the beautiful par 3 - 9th hole. They have removed this plant and the hole could not look any better.
The only negative I have to say about the course, is the wiry dormant bermuda grass is not the best to hit off at this time of the year. With the course being soggy from the rain, this did not help either. If this course had full zoysia fairways, along with their greens - this would be one of the best courses around.
Make sure you put this course on your "must play" list this year - you will not be disappointed.
Best Greens In The St. Louis Area
I used to play Crystal Highlands quite a bit in the 1990’s and the early 2000’s. Then the course was sold to the Union Pacific Railroad in 2003. Then I learned that Gary Surdyke (a local resident and owner of Surdyke Motorsports) purchased the course in July and opened the course back to the public in early August. I was very excited to hear this news and went down to play it on August 21.
The first thing you notice when you stand on the hill by the clubhouse and overlook the golf course – it looks beautiful. The starter could not have been any nicer. When you play the course, you will notice a few changes have been made.
CHANGES MADE TO COURSE:
The 1st green has been elevated a bit and the trees removed. It looks great. The 2nd green has been moved to the right and elevated quite a bit. The 3rd green looks even more severe than I remember it. Before 2003, 12 of the 18 greens were 2-tiered or more. Now, there is only 7 tiered greens. The 18th green used to be a 4-tiered green, which now has no tiers.
You will not find better greens than what Crystal Highlands has. These greens are just as good as any top-notch country club. They are scary fast when putting downhill. Many of the greens are large and you will have several 3-putts. All the tees are zoysia and are in great shape. However, the fairways are just ok. The front nine seems to be more of the wiry Bermuda grass and the back nine a mixture of zoysia/Bermuda. You will occasionally find sections which are thin/bare and contain crabgrass. The rough can be difficult because it is a mixture of fescue/Bermuda. Your ball will sink to the bottom and the wiry Bermuda makes it hard to get your club through it. The bunkers are in great shape.
Because the course is hilly, there are plenty of blind shots where you need to be cognizant of this, as to not hit into the group in front of you. These are holes 1, 6, 8, 10, 15. There are several shorter par 4’s you need to wait until the green is clear before going for the green. These are holes 2, 12, 14. The tee box of hole 11, is just to the right of the 10th green, which is reachable in two. The course has a consistent presence of rangers but these course characteristics slows down play some.
All the sprinkler heads have yardage on them and some of the cart paths have white and red painted squares (some need to be repainted). It would be nice to have some type of blue, white and red poles just to the side of the fairways. In front of the beautiful par 3, 9th hole, is a large ornamental plant. It blocks the view of the hole and ruins the look of the hole. The trees on the left side of the par 3, 11th hole are starting to block the view of the hole. May need to make the tee box a little larger on the right side.
Everyone needs to travel the 30 miles south of the 270 loop in St. Louis, to play this gem. Haven't been able to play this course for 18 years and you won't be disappointed.