Squaw Valley Golf Course has received a 4-1/2-star rating from Golf Digest Magazine. Those who make a habit of returning to the 36-hole facility may believe it’s worthy of 5 out of 5.

This August will mark the 25th anniversary of the course. That means that many golfers throughout the region have already gotten the message over the years: Squaw Valley is an essential site to play.

“If you come here once, you’re ready to come back,” said head pro Duff Cunningham, noting that golfers from as far away as England and “all over” have come to play. “Once you get on the course, it’s just breathtaking.”

He noted that one group of golfers from Longview has been coming to play here twice a year since 1998.

“They’re all members of the same club,” Cunningham said of the men. “This is their getaway. We’re a destination golf course.”

Cunningham noted that “a big to-do” is in the works this fall to highlight the big anniversary.

“We are thrilled that we’ve been here for 25 years,” Cunningham said. “We are going to have a celebration.”

Cunningham, who has worked at Squaw Valley for about 20 of his 25 years as a head pro, said the resident grounds keeper, Jeff Hansen, was voted a sectional finalist for Superintendent of the Year two years ago.

“Our superintendent is the best. He knows this place frontward and backward — every blade of grass,” said Cunningham, whose assistant pros are Steve Heppler and Stuart Camp. “Jeff’s always striving to make it better — which means we’re always well-maintained.”

The facility includes two championship courses — Apache Links, which was the original one, and Comanche Lakes, which opened in 2001.

“This year, both are in the top 100 for the state in the Dallas Morning News,” Cunningham said. “One course was No. 4 and one was No. 5 in their category for mid-price, daily fee courses.”

Cunningham said both courses offer something for every level of golfer — from the beginner to the scratch player.

“Both are outstanding,” Cunningham said. “Squaw Creek meanders through both of them. You can see how the holes are framed with it in mind.”

Cunningham said the back 9 of the original course offers golfers some intriguing challenges.

“On the back 9, you see water on all but two holes,” Cunningham explained. “Water comes into play, but even for a beginning golfer you can play your way around it, especially on the Lakes course.”

Even beyond the obvious charms the two individual courses offer, a personal connection through the facility’s employees adds even more to the mix.

“What makes this is our relationship with people — it’s how we connect with people,” said Cunningham, a Cleburne High School graduate who was assistant pro here when the course opened in 1992. “It’s having an awesome golf course, well-maintained by Jeff and his crew, and how people are treated when they get here. The experience is what we like to think brings them back.

“I just know that when people call or when they walk through the door, we expect to treat them like they are a long-lost relative.

“What you are getting for the value of your dollar is second to none.”

Squaw Valley offers opportunities for youth golfers of any age, as well as adults. There are three teams formed to compete in the PGA Junior Golf League. There are two youth summer golf camps each year. The next will be Aug. 7-10.

“My job as a golf professional is to promote the game and introduce the game to those that have never played it — to adults and juniors as well,” Cunningham said. “There are a lot of options out there. We want to offer that variety.”

Greens fees are $57.25 (including a cart) on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. Mondays through Fridays, greens fees are $45.25. A senior rate of $34.25 if offered Mondays through Fridays for those age 50 and over. Various pricing packages are also available.

Squaw Valley Golf Course is at 2439 East Highway 67 in Glen Rose. Call the pro shop at 254-897-7956 to get more details or to make reservations.