Best Golf Courses in Austin
Few if any states have as illustrious a history in the sport of golf as Texas, so it should be little surprise that its capital city, Austin, has plenty to boast about. Legendary instructor and University of Texas golf coach Harvey Penick, author of the worldwide bestseller, The Little Red Book, helped mold local phenoms Ben Crenshaw and Tom Kite into major champions. More recently, Jordan Spieth’s sole year at UT brought a national championship to the Longhorns. Austin is also considered the birthplace of the PGA Tour Champions, whose first event was staged at Onion Creek Country Club in 1978 and is considered one of the best golf courses in Austin.
It’s the largest urban center in the U.S. without one of the “big four” sports teams, but the rapidly growing town more than makes up for it with events like South by Southwest (SXSW), Austin City Limits (ACL Fest) and Formula 1 (F-1) racing. In 2015, Austin Country Club was added to the PGA Tour rotation as the host of the WGC Dell Match Play, and the iconic Pennybacker Bridge, which spans the Lower Colorado River beside the course, makes for a dramatic welcome to those TV viewers tuning in.
The golf scene in Austin took quite a while to ramp up compared to its neighboring metros, and it had just a small collection of courses until Barton Creek’s emergence in the 1980s. The emergence launched a spur of golf course and residential or resort developments, many of which are still considered some of the best golf courses in Austin. Austin Country Club was the first game in town, and the second was venerable Lions Municipal Golf Course, also known as “Muny.” Located on the Old West Side, it is on the National Register of Historic Places thanks to the role it played in desegregation in the 1950s as the first integrated golf course in the south.
Best Public Golf Courses in Austin
Lions is the most historic of a handful of city-run facilities throughout town. Jimmy Clay-Roy Kizer is the top facility, with not only 36 holes but also one of the largest public driving ranges and a short course. Riverside Golf Course, though not a muni, is the former home of Austin C.C. and today is an affordable and convenient course owned by Austin Community College. At Circle C, Grey Rock Club was purchased by the City of Austin and, while technically a municipal course, offers club-worthy facilities.
Top semi-private courses that can be found on the peripheral of the city include Star Ranch Golf Club, River Place Country Club, Teravista Golf Club, Avery Ranch Golf Club, Falconhead Golf Club and Shadow Glen Golf Club. For those with a national Clubcorp membership, there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy privileges here, including Lost Creek Country Club and the Hills of Lakeway Golf Club. Most of these courses are widely regarded as some of the best golf courses in Austin.
In addition to Omni Barton Creek, the most convenient golf resort to the city, Hyatt Regency Lost Pines’ Wolfdancer Golf Club is located just east of Austin-Bergstrom International Airport and features an Arthur Hills design on a stunning piece of property beside the Colorado River.
No trip to Austin is complete without a dip in Barton Springs as well as a venture into the Hill Country, and there are some worthy golf courses to play within an hour’s drive west of town. Horseshoe Bay Resort features 54 holes of Robert Trent Jones Sr.-designed golf, but the best golf courses in Austin in terms of value are Vaaler Creek Golf Club, River Crossing Golf Club and Delaware Springs Golf Course.