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The best courses you can play in Austin

November 04, 2022

The “Live Music Capital of the World.” Home to the University of Texas’ flagship campus. The state capital of Texas. One of the fastest-growing cities in the country. Austin is known for a lot of things, but its public golf courses rarely get the credit they deserve.

Often overshadowed by Dallas-Ft. Worth and San Antonio, Austin has plenty of quality public golf that justifies a trip of its own. This collection of Best Courses You Can Play in Austin highlights those must-plays, including resort courses designed by some notable names and affordable munys that have played an important role in the city’s golf history.

Scroll on to learn more about each course and be sure to expand each course page to read reviews from our course-ranking panelists. We hope you enjoy our searchable course database, Places to Play, our new hub for course reviews, experts’ opinions and star ratings.

Omni Barton Creek Resort: Fazio Canyons
54 Panelists
One of Texas' best golf resorts is the Omni Barton Creek, located just 25 minutes outside of Austin. The resort features four 18-hole designs, and the highest-ranked layout is the Fazio Canyons design, a former Golf Digest America's 100 Greatest Public winner. This signature Tom Fazio design, which offers scenic views of Austin’s Hill Country, recently underwent an extensive renovation.
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Omni Barton Creek Resort: Fazio Foothills
Fazio Foothills is another former member of America's 100 Greatest Public, and the favorite among many at the Omni Barton Creek, though the Canyons course ranks slightly higher in our scoring criteria. The Foothills course, which used to host a PGA Tour Champions event and hosted the 2003 U.S. Senior Women's Amateur, underwent an update in 2017 to the layout, which tumbles and undulates down the rolling hills and around and over creeks.
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Wolfdancer Golf Club: Wolfdancer
Public
Wolfdancer Golf Club: Wolfdancer
Lost Pines, TX
Just 20 miles east of Austin, Wolfdancer Golf Club feels like two courses in one: The first 12 holes weave through the rolling prairie hills, while the last six are down in the river valley. With contoured greens and ample shot variety, this Arthur Hills design provides a memorable challenge.
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Barton Creek Country Club: Crenshaw Cliffside
Part of the major renovations at Omni Barton Creek totaling more than $150 million included an update to the Coore and Crenshaw layout, which opened in 1991. (The resort also added three pools, including an infinity pool looking out over its golf courses.) Though the land on the two Fazio courses is much more rolling and interesting, Bill Coore and Austin native Ben Crenshaw created some interesting putting surfaces which will make all resort guests think.
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The Golf Club at Star Ranch
Public
The Golf Club at Star Ranch
Hutto, TX
Situated just north of Austin in Hutto, Star Ranch is a relatively forgiving layout with wide fairways. Many holes are quite exposed, leaving wind to play a significant factor as is typical in Hill Country. The greens often hold up well in the summer heat and continue to roll smoothly. The signature par-3 15th plays over a pond with a small waterfall guarding the front right part of the large green.
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Kissing Tree Golf Club
Public
Kissing Tree Golf Club
San Marcos, TX
Kissing Tree is a semi-private course situated about halfway between Austin and San Antonio, about 35 minutes south of downtown Austin. The course opened in 2018 and features a fair amount of elevation change, which creates some scenic vistas of the Hill Country. At just under 6,600 yards from the tips, the layout—an Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary—is quite playable. The course is built in the Kissing Tree community, an under-construction development targeting those 55 and older.
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Grey Rock Golf Club
Public
Grey Rock Golf Club
Austin, TX
A Jay Morrish design just south of downtown Austin, Grey Rock plays over 160 acres of rolling hills. Sprawling oak trees and large bunkers line most fairways, which are generally wide. Most fairway bunkers have low lips, but some around the green are quite deep, like at the par-4 fifth.
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Falconhead Golf Club
Public
Falconhead Golf Club
Austin, TX
Falconhead has plenty of design variety, with some narrow, tree-lined holes and others that are more open and generous. As is typical in the region, there is a lot of elevation change that creates both uphill and downhill shots as the course plays over subtle hills. The signature par-3 eighth features a green built on a limestone edge, 30 feet above a creek looming below. It’s one of the more unique and picturesque forced carries around.
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Avery Ranch Golf Club
Public
Avery Ranch Golf Club
Austin, TX
Avery Ranch, just north of downtown Austin, has a unique par-72 layout. Though the front nine has the standard two par 5s and two par 3s, there are three of each on the back nine. With the extra par 3 and par 5, there is plenty of variety and risk/reward. Water comes into play on nearly half the holes on this rolling layout, including at the par-3 17th, which requires a forced carry over a pond to a green guarded by two massive bunkers.
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Omni Barton Creek Resort: Palmer Lakeside
The Palmer Lakeside course is the only one of the four layouts at Omni Barton Creek Resort that is located off property. The course is about 40 minutes from the resort and is situated on a hilltop overlooking Lake Travis. Given the setting on the hilltop, there are scenic views of the lake down below and plenty of elevation changes. The signature par-3 11th plays over a pond to a green perched in front of an impressive stone-covered waterfall.
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Jimmy Clay Golf Course
Public
Jimmy Clay Golf Course
Austin, TX
Situated a few miles from the airport just south of downtown Austin, Jimmy Clay is a quality municipal that opened in 1974. With rates under $40 and twilight times available under $30, it’s one of the best values in Austin. The tree-lined course plays along the hilly terrain, and many greens are subtly elevated, creating some blind approaches. The 36-hole municipal complex is also home to Roy Kizer Golf Course, as well as a large grass driving range that was renovated in 2015.
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Lions Municipal Golf Course
Public
Lions Municipal Golf Course
Austin, TX
Lions Municipal has long been a historic part of the Austin public golf scene. When it opened in 1924, it became the first public golf course in Austin. In 1950, it became the first course south of the Mason-Dixon line to desegregate. Two-time Masters champion Ben Crenshaw grew up nearby and played Lions Municipal—known by the locals as “Muny”—as a kid. Some of golf’s biggest names have played at Muny, including Ben Hogan, Byron Nelson, Betsy Rawls and Tom Kite. In recent years, it’s not uncommon to see actor Matthew McConaughey on the driving range with his son. Each summer, Muny hosts Texas’ oldest amateur tournament, the Firecracker Open, which dates back to the 1940s and boasts Crenshaw and Kite as past champs. Situated in the heart of the city, it’s a quality, affordable layout with weekday rates running around $30.
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If you find yourself with an extra couple of days to spare on your trip to Austin, consider driving a little over an hour northwest of the city to Horseshoe Bay Resort. At this Hill Country resort bordering Lake LBJ, there are three Robert Trent Jones Sr. courses open to resort guests (and a fourth private layout) that are well worth the drive. The scenic courses offer varying levels of playability and have hosted multiple Texas State Opens.

Horseshoe Bay Resort: Ram Rock
Horseshoe Bay Resort: Ram Rock
Horseshoe Bay, TX
33 Panelists
Host of the Texas State Open on multiple occasions, this Hill Country course is a demanding test—so much so it used to be called “Challenger.” Designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr., the par 72 is built in a counter-clockwise circle, causing several of the doglegs to favor a right-to-left-shape. Rugged rock outcroppings throughout the course, as well as an island green on the par-3 fourth, make Ram Rock a memorable place to play at Horseshoe Bay Resort, which features four 18-hole courses.
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Horseshoe Bay Resort: Apple Rock

The most scenic course at Horseshoe Bay, Apple Rock is a rolling layout with the back nine playing down to the shores of Lake LBJ. There are plenty of elevation changes at this previous Texas State Open host, creating picturesque views of the lake below and the surrounding Hill Country. Unlike Slick Rock, which has generous greens, Apple Rock’s putting surfaces are much smaller and require far more precision. In 2019, new bentgrass greens were installed as part of a renovation that also included work on 50 bunkers.

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Horseshoe Bay Resort: Slick Rock

Slick Rock, the easiest of the three RTJ courses at Horseshoe Bay, is a parkland design that plays over 170 acres. Playing through a tree-lined landscape with granite outcroppings spread throughout, Slick Rock presents generous targets off the tee and into the large greens. Opening in 1972, Slick Rock was the first course to open at the resort, and in 2016, it underwent an extensive renovation of the greens, bunkers and irrigation system.

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