Tucked in a lush pocket of central Collin County, just 10 minutes east of Central Expressway, lies an oasis of active-adult living called Heritage Ranch Golf and Country Club. Tied to McKinney by meandering Wilson Creek, which runs through its heart, Heritage Ranch is home to some 1,900 residents who enjoy top-flight golf and dining.
And unbeknownst to many outside its manicured borders, this hidden respite is open to the public, seven days a week.
“A lot of people think because they see ‘Heritage Ranch Golf and Country Club,’ that we’re a private golf course,” says club General Manager Tony Trevino, son of legendary pro golfer Lee Trevino. “But we’re not. We’re semi-private. Our restaurant, our golf course … are open to anybody in the area.”
The 575-acre gated community for the 55-and-over set is located in Fair view, on the east end of Stacy Road. It reached its build-out of 1,144 homes in 2007, and there hasn’t been much turnover.
“It’s tough to get people who have been here for a long time to move out because they just enjoy it so much,” says Community Activities Director Eric Hoyle.
Mary and David Naehring have called Heritage Ranch home for seven years.
“The people are fabulous and the golf is terrific,” Mary says. “Just the whole atmosphere, it’s fun and beautiful.”
Says David, “It’s the cruise ship that never leaves port.”
Renowned golf course architect Arthur Hills designed the club’s challenging par-72, 6,988-yard course. He has designed or renovated over 300 courses worldwide, including some of the most revered spots in the United States – like Oakmont, near Pittsburgh, Lake Michigan’s Bay Harbor and Inverness in Toledo, Ohio.
For Trevino, who has played more than a little golf with his dad, Heritage Ranch’s appeal is in its natural hills and valleys.
“The elevation changes, you just don’t see a lot of that on this side of town. They didn’t have to move a whole lot of dirt here to get those looks,” Trevino says.
When golfers compliment the course as being well-maintained, Trevino credits Director of Agronomy Monty Ashworth.
“He’s worth his weight in gold.”
Has Lee Trevino played Heritage Ranch?
“He’s played,” Trevino says, “but he plays kind of funny. We’ll hit some golf balls and he’ll say, ‘Aw, let’s go play.’ We’ll play two holes and he’ll say, ‘Aw, let’s go hit some golf balls.’
“He’s been super busy with some other stuff, but he’s threatened to come out, here and there. He’ll get out here again, I’m sure, pretty soon.”
Course highlights include the signature 16th hole, a 182-yard par-3, which features a steep drop off the tee box, a tree-funneled fairway and a lazy creek down the left side.
On the No. 2 fairway, a 20-foot wood carving, hewn from a dying Arizona elm, greets the approach to the green. The artwork was completed last February by West Texas artist Cam Dockery, using three chainsaws over three days. Inspiration for the project came from resident Shirley Taylor, who couldn’t bear to see the tree cut down.
Behind the No. 8 tee box stands the ninth-largest sycamore tree in Texas, duly noted with official signage. Thought to be at least 150 years old, the tree boasts a trunk circumference of more than 16 feet and stands 101 feet tall.
“[The golf course] is a challenge every time,” says resident Ron Samuels, who with his wife Jan has lived at Heritage Ranch since its opening. “It’s not a real easy course. If it was, we’d get bored of it, as many times as we play it.”
Walking trails for homeowners weave in and about the course for three-plus miles, mostly under cooling canopies of elm, pecan and oak.
Wildlife is abundant, with coyotes, raccoons and an occasional bobcat seen traipsing near fairways. One mountain lion sighting has been reported over the years and, in 2007, an eight-foot alligator was hauled from the lake near hole No. 6 and relocated to more accepting climes.
Heritage Ranch offers various rate packages and two dining areas. No public lodging is available on the property, but the club’s Stay-and-Play program partners with a nearby Courtyard by Marriott for single-rate golf/hotel packages.
Mary Naehring is active in the club’s annual Scramble for Soldiers tournament in October, which supports Brooke Army Medical Center’s Wounded Warrior project. “It’s a lot of fun and there’s a good spirit,” Mary says. “One-hundred percent of the money goes to the soldiers at the Warrior Family Support Center in San Antonio. Many of our supporters are from McKinney.”
The tournament now attracts over 200 golfers.
The Golf Channel held an amateur tournament at Heritage Ranch in June and the North Texas PGA has also come calling. “When they come out here,” Hoyle says, “they don’t realize that such a great golf course is located here.
“Every day out here is a treasure,” he says. “We’d love more people to share in it.”
For more information, go to heritageranchgolf.com.
Chamber-Member Golf Courses
McKinney businesses and residents enjoy the benefits of having several public and private golf courses from which to choose. We invite you to learn more about our Chamber-member courses. For more information visit McKinney Online or go directly to their websites.
Eldorado Country Club • eldoradocc.com
Gentle Creek Golf Club • gentlecreek.com
The Golf Club at McKinney • thegolfclubatmckinney.com
Heritage Ranch Golf & Country Club • heritageranchgolf.com
Stonebridge Ranch - Dye Course • stonebridgeranchcountryclub.com
Stonebridge Ranch - Hills Course • stonebridgeranchcountryclub.com
TPC Craig Ranch • tpccraigranch.com
Westridge Golf Course • westridgegolfcourse.com
About the author: Rick Atkinson is a former U.S. Marine Corps helicopter pilot and commercial airline pilot who lives in McKinney with his wife of 23 years, Debbie. He is a freelance writer and cartoonist.