I love Austin, Texas. Everything about it. Its food, its culture, its music, its scenery, its youthful vibrancy. I could go on and on. You know what I love most about it though? Yeah, you’re right… It’s the golf. I know I’m a golf geek but maybe you are too and that’s why we get along so well.
I’ve spent a healthy amount of time in Austin and played a good bit of golf. So has one of our writers. In conjunction with our loyal readers, we’ve compiled our list of the top ten public courses in this great city.
Hook ‘Em Horns and let’s get on with it.
Roy Kizer Golf Course
You don’t exactly put the words links golf and Texas in the same sentence that often, but you can when you’re talking about Roy Kizer golf course.
Set on 200 acres southeast of downtown, this course was aptly named for the longtime superintendent at nearby Lions Municipal golf course. This cat worked there from 1937 until 1973. Talk about tenure.
Even though this track is owned by the city, it’s always in impeccable condition.
A wide variety of holes that offer plenty of chances for risk and reward, make Roy Kizer the perfect place for a day with your buddies to wager a few bucks.
I make it a point to play here every time I’m in town and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.
Harvey Penick Golf Campus
If there’s a name that’s synonymous with Austin, Texas golf, it’s Harvey Penick. The gentle little pro will go down as one of the game’s most legendary teachers. Remember the Little Red Book? And don’t forget about guys like Tom Kite and Ben Crenshaw, whom Harvey mentored for their entire careers.
You could say that the Harvey Penick Golf Campus is a tribute to this great man. Even though it’s only a nine-hole course, this facility is an important institution in Austin golf culture. The 112-acre facility is home to both the First Tee of Austin and the city’s first Footgolf course.
If you’re with your family, you won’t find a more relaxed and welcoming facility than this one.
A magnificent property and a worthy testament to the man that made it all possible.
Grey Rock Golf Club
Just minutes from downtown, you’ll find what many call the best public track in Austin.
Grey Rock Golf Club sits on 160 acres of West Texas hill country that offers expansive views of the surrounding countryside.
Ancient oaks line the fairways in a way that leaves no doubt where you’re supposed to hit it. Should you venture too far offline however, you might pay the price.
I can’t get over how reasonable it is to play here to. When I’m treated like a member at a private club and only have to pay a little north of $50, I’m a buyer every time.
ShadowGlen Golf Club
ShadowGlen is West Texas golf as it was meant to be.
The front nine has a links feel to it that features well-placed bunkers and water hazards that have to be navigated with care.
On the back nine, you’ll feel more secluded as you meander through rolling terrain and elevation changes that require your full attention.
If you want to improve your game, be sure to check out the Player Development Program where some of West Texas’ finest teachers work with you one-on-one to help you understand your game and improve.
Wolf Dancer Golf Club
Even though you won’t find wolves anywhere near this track, the name is just flat out cool. And so is the golf course.
The premier course at the Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort and Spa, Wolf Dancer is a good test for the game’s best players and rank beginners.
The course is open off the tee, but the large greens will challenge you with tricky pin positions.
Make sure you don’t overdo it on choosing the right set of tees for your game. Best to err on the side of a shorter yardage rather than trying to step back.
A premier property with countless other amenities for everyone in your family, don’t overlook Wolf Dancer and Lost Pines Resort.
Lakecliff Golf Club
I know one thing about Lake Travis. It’s home to some of the best bass fishing in North America.
It’s also home to Lakecliff Golf Club, one of the finest courses in West Texas. Designed by my all-time favorite architect, Arnold Palmer, the course features 12 lakes and crosses the Pedernales River to provide plenty of watery graves for errant shots.
There are five par threes out here and the locals say they’re the best collection of short holes in the state. I can’t argue.
A great escape from the city with plenty of activities for golfers and non-golfers alike.
The Golf Club at Star Ranch
Undulating fairways and lots of white sand bunkers are what’s waiting at Star Ranch.
This is a big golf course, especially when the wind blows. Even though the fairways are wide and the greens big, you need to be precise with your full shots.
Star Ranch is known for boasting some of the most attractive golf specials in the area so be sure to do some research before you go.
Even though it’s a bit of a drive from Austin, Star Ranch is well worth the trip.
Teravista Golf Club
If views are your thing, you need to play a round at Teravista Golf Club. The panoramas here span more than 50 miles in any given direction.
At 7,200 yards, this course can play long but is forgiving from tee to green. Lots of elevation changes and contoured fairways can make for some uneven lies so be ready to adapt.
There are plenty of tee box options to choose from so don’t be intimidated. If it’s any comfort, Teravista just received the designation of a “Beginner Friendly Course” from the National Golf Course Owners Association.
A scenic track at a reasonable price, there’s no reason golfers of all abilities can’t enjoy a round here.
Forest Creek Golf Club
Another outstanding option in the town of Round Rock is Forest Creek Golf Club.
Newly opened after an extensive renovation, this hill country layout has been met with critical acclaim. That makes sense since it was named “Best Public Golf Course in Central Texas” by Golf Digest after the renovation was complete.
This course is traditional and straightforward. However, the shot values are both fun and challenging for golfers of all abilities.
If you have an aspiring junior golfer in your family, look into the Junior Golf Academy. It’s one of the most reputable in the state.
Lago Vista Golf Course
The Spanish name of this track literally translates to Lake View. And that’s exactly what you’ll find.
A little-discussed hill country gem, Lago Vista is a course I play whenever I’m in the area.
Situated on a pristine peninsula on the north shore of Lake Travis, this track has been waiting to be discovered for more than 30 years.
The atmosphere here is casual and welcoming. Maybe that’s why I love it so much.
As far as the golf course is concerned, you won’t be disappointed. Originally opened as a nine-hole track in 1971, it’s now been expanded to 18 memorable holes.
Relax when you come to play this special place. Chances are, you’ll see big whitetail bucks, coyotes, and breathtaking views of Lake Travis which makes for a memorable day regardless of how you play.
When can I go back? That’s what I keep asking myself about Austin and all there is to see and do. I could use some hearty BBQ right about now and I haven’t played much golf as of late.
The question remains, not if I go back, but when. And if you’ve never been to Austin, you need to go. It’s as simple as that.
Kind thanks to all of our readers that contributed to the creation of this article. I hope to see some of you out on the links next time I’m in town. Until then, let me know your thoughts in the comments below.