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UT Golf Club in Steiner Ranch
UT Golf Club in Steiner Ranch

Austin, Texas is nationally recognized for its strong economy, tech industry, and job market. With Austin City Limits festival and over 100 live music venues, it also lives up to its moniker, “Live Music Capital of the World.” Yet the Lone Star State capital is also famous for something else: GOLF.

“Austin is a golf destination without much to be desired,” said seasoned aficionado Brandon Tucker. “There’s an Austin golf course for every golfer, from the exclusive private settings and resorts to bargain and casual golf courses.”

Though summers sizzle, the spring and fall weather in Austin is perfect, and golf fans can play virtually year-round. The Greater Austin area boasts over 32 public courses and 15 private courses, including the coveted Austin Golf Club (where native son Ben Crenshaw plays). Did you know CNN and Golf Magazine both deemed Austin “The Best Golf City in America”?

Private Golf Courses

Here, we will introduce you to 10 of the best private golf courses in Austin, grouped according to location.

West Austin Golf Courses

Nine miles (15-18 minutes) west of downtown, the verdant rolling hills of West Austin are home to two exclusive country clubs: Lost Creek Country Club and Barton Creek Resort & Spa.

Lost Creek

Lost Creek Country Club, which opened in 1970, offers a private course with narrow, tree-lined fairways, well-conditioned greens, and an abundance of winding creeks. Its 18 holes cover 6,522 yards with a par of 72. “The back nine is known for its two solid par 3s. No. 10 starts the side with a 147-yard carry over water, and the longer 18th finishes the round off with a 187-yard carry over water,” reports

The beautiful, secluded community surrounding Lost Creek Country Club offers homes for sale up to and over $1 million. The hilly Lost Creek neighborhood skirts winding Lost Creek Boulevard, and the zip code is 78746. Most students attend Eanes ISD schools, including Forest Trail Elementary, West Ridge Middle School, and Westlake High School. The Ridge at Lost Creek subdivision also skirts one of the fairways.

Barton Creek

Only a few minutes from Lost Creek, four-star Barton Creek Resort & Spa was ranked #1 Golf Resort in Texas by Golf World and offers three private championship golf courses. “Barton Creek Resort & Spa is just a few minutes outside of downtown Austin, but you’d never guess that based on green, rolling hill country terrain spanning 4,000 acres full of canyons and rocky outcroppings,” said Tucker.

The newest course, environmentally-friendly Fazio Canyons was ranked #1 in Texas by Golfweek Magazine in 2002 and 7th best course in Texas by Golf Digest in 2014. It was also one of the first courses in the country to be certified as an Audubon Sanctuary. This 7,153-yard, par-72 masterpiece course designed by Tom Fazio offers canyon views, sycamore and oak strewn fairways, and the limestone-imbedded meanderings of Short Springs Branch Creek. “The ender is the signature, a 561-yarder that might be the best finishing hole at Barton Creek. The most difficult hole finishes off the front side, a 457-yard par 4,” said

Fairway at Barton Creek Course

Next door is must-play sister course Fazio Foothills, rated #2 in Texas by Golfweek Magazine in 2002 and #8 by While the Canyons course is two miles from the club, the 7,125-yard Foothills course actually surrounds award-winning Barton Creek Resort and Spa. Established in 1986, it was ranked among Golfweek Magazine’s 40 best American Resort Courses. This 18-hole, par-72 course boasts an abandoned bat cave, and six of its holes were recognized by The Dallas Morning News as among the State’s most beautiful (#4, 9, 10, 12, 16, 18).

Last but not least is Crenshaw Cliffside. This 6,678-yard, par-71 course designed by Ben Crenshaw follows the natural landscape and is known for its challenging greens. “One of the first designs by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw, the Cliffside showcases some of the area’s largest and most perplexing greens,” commented Tucker. “Even Gentle Ben reportedly can’t master them.” Free of course-side residences, Cliffside is also praised for its secluded feel. After #116, golfers cross a scenic valley toward a cliffside green. The next two short holes, a par 3 and par 4 respectively, provide some of the best views on the entire course.

Homes in Barton Creek, the beautiful hill country community surrounding Barton Creek Resort & Spa, are priced into the multi-millions. Homes in the development generally follow the path of Barton Creek, which encircles the resort. While original Barton Creek homes were built in the 80’s, newer custom homes continue to be built today. The area zip codes are 78735 and 78746, and students generally attend schools in either Eanes ISD or Austin ISD.

Newer subdivisions edging these three fairways include The Falls at Barton Creek, The Estates above Lost Creek, Calera, The Canyons, and The Fairways.

Northwest Austin

One of the most scenic areas in Austin, hilly northwest Austin offers five private golf options: River Place Country Club, University of Texas Golf Club, Austin Country Club, Great Hills Country Club, and Balcones Country Club.

River Place

Designed by Tom Kite and Roy Bechtol, River Place Country Club offers a driving range, pro shop, and a beautiful par-71 course with 6,611 yards of rolling hills and creek-cut canyons. Just off River Place Boulevard, the club is about 15 miles (22 minutes) from downtown off RM 2222. Of its 18 holes, “No. 7 is one of the toughest: a 430-yard dog-legger that bends right around the creek,” noted

The zip code for the River Place community is 78730, and homes run into the multi-millions. Aside from the country club, the community offers a nature trail, a boardwalk, and two verdant parks, as well as nearby Emma Long Metropolitan Park. Students in the area attend Leander ISD, which includes River Place Elementary School, Canyon Ridge Middle School, and Vandegrift High School. The Overlook at River Place also skirts part of the golf course.

University of Texas Golf Club

The University of Texas Golf Club can be found off RM 620 on University Club Drive just west of River Place in the Steiner Ranch community. Ranked in the top 100 Texas courses by Dallas News, this private, par-71 course opened in 2003 and was designed by the Bechtol-Russel Golf Group. Its 18 holes offer 7,412 yards of panoramic Lake Austin views, a 16,000-square-foot club house, a golf shop, large open-air pavilion, fitness facility, and extensive practice facilities. Tucker said the UT Golf Club is “among the most prestigious and exclusive clubs in central Texas.”

The UT Golf Club is the crown jewel of prestigious Steiner Ranch, a 4,600-acre, master-planned golf course community with a wide range of homes starting around median price and going up to the multi-millions. It sits on the same bend of Lake Austin as Lake Austin Spa, about 18 miles (28 minutes) northwest of downtown in zip code 78732. Students attend Leander ISD schools, which include Steiner Ranch Elementary, Laura Bush Elementary, River Ridge Elementary, Canyon Ridge Middle School, Cedar Park High School, and Vandegrift High School.

Austin Country Club

Austin Country Club is Austin’s original and dates back to 1900. Its 18-hole “Austin Course” was designed by Pete Dye and offers 6,948 yards of lakeside green. This par-72 course offers deep pot bunkers, varying topography, and Dye’s trademark railroad ties. “The opening holes play along Lake Austin, and are more of a links-style design,” remarked “Afterwards the Hill Country takes effect, featuring canyons, ravines, creeks, and unbelievable views.” This course was ranked 12th in Texas by Golf Digest for 2013-2014.

Located at 4408 Long Champ Drive, the Austin Country Club is within northwest Austin’s gorgeous Davenport Ranch community about 11 miles (18 minutes) northwest of downtown. Homes in the area run up to the multi-millions. The zip code is 78746, and students attend the coveted Eanes Independent School District. EISD schools include Bridge Point Elementary, Hill Country Middle School, and Westlake High.

Great Hills Country Club

Great Hills Country Club offers an 18-hole course with a par of 71 and over 6,599 yards. Designed by Billy Martindale and Don January, the course boasts panoramic views as it winds through hill country canyons. “No. 17 is the most scenic par 3 on the course, a 183-yarder. And the par 5 No. 18 is one of the more welcome finishing holes that you’ll come across — a definite birdie opportunity at only 477 yards,” reported

Located near the intersection of North Capital of Texas Highway (Loop 360) and Highway 183, this golf course stands within the beautiful north Austin community of Great Hills. The area is 11 miles (16 minutes) from downtown in zip code 78759 . Homes in the area range from around median price to just over $1 million, and students attend either Austin ISD or Round Rock ISD. Both Cherry Hill Park and Prominent Point neighborhoods also edge parts of the course.

Balcones Country Club

Balcones Country Club is located at 8600 Balcones Club Drive in northwest Austin. Dating back to 1975, its 18-hole “Spicewood Course” measures 6,769 yards with a par of 72, and was designed by Bob Cotton. “With water on only two holes (15 and 16), it’s just a friendlier layout that is enjoyable also because it plays fast,” shared “The signature hole is No. 6, a 456-yard par 4 highlighted by a magnificent old oak tree in the fairway.”

The course winds around the homes of Balcones Village, Balcones Greene, Balcones Park, the Gardens at Balcones, Spicewood at Bullcreek, Kercheville Estates, Forest at the Villages of Spicewood, and Spicewood at Balcones. Homes in the area start from over median price. Originating in the 70s, many homes enjoy mature trees and large lots. The zip code for the area is 78750, and the drive to downtown is 13 miles (16 minutes).


Onion Creek Club

In south Austin, golfers play a round at the exclusive Onion Creek Club. The 18-hole “North 18” opened in 1996 with over 6,579 yards and a par of 70 and was designed by Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore. The 9-hole “Original 9” was designed in 1974 by 3-time Masters Champion Jimmy Demaret and measures 2,778 yards with a par of 35. “Onion Creek Club has one of the most beautiful golf courses in the state, with gently rolling fairways shaded by towering cypress, oak, and pecan trees that line the banks of Onion Creek,” described

Onion Creek Club is located within the community of Onion Creek, with homes in a wide range of prices. Established in 1974, the club stands 12 miles (15 minutes) from downtown in zip code 78747. Onion Creek amenities include a hike and bike trail, fitness room, playground, and picnic area, and students attend Austin ISD (which includes Blazier and Williams Elementary Schools, Bedichek and Paredes Middle Schools, and Akins High School). The neighborhood of Cypress Ridge also skirts part of the course.

Public Golf Courses

The Greater Austin area boasts over 32 public courses. Here are some of the best, grouped by location.

Central Austin Golf Courses

Central Austin offers three public golf courses: Butler Park Pitch & Putt, Hancock Golf Course, and Lions Municipal.

Butler Park Pitch & Putt

This nine-hole course next to the Palmer Events Center and Lady Bird Lake in downtown Austin is a dog-friendly, all-levels course. Designed by Winston Kinser, it opened back in 1949 and offers 805 yards of challenging holes, water and grass traps, plus a diverse clientele under shady pecan trees.

“Swing by a local institution, Butler Park. It’s a small, par-3 layout with the longest hole at about 120 yards, and it’s ultra-casual with regular six-somes. Bring your dog, beers, or smokes, though you might need a helmet, too; stray balls whiz by at all time,” said Tucker.

Butler Park Pitch & Putt is located on the northern edge of south Austin in trendy area code 78704, where nearby homes and condos run into the millions. Area amenities include Zilker Park, the Long Center for the Performing Arts, and the South Lamar (SOLA) and South Congress (SOCO) districts. Nearby neighborhoods include the Market District, the Warehouse District, West End, Bouldin, Zilker, and Travis Heights. Students attend Austin ISD.

Hancock Golf Course

“The nine-hole Hancock Golf Course dates to 1899 as Texas’ oldest standing golf course,” shared Tucker. Former Austin Mayor Lewis Hancock, Jr. founded Hancock Golf Course, which was the original site of the Austin Country Club until 1946. Today, this popular par-35, hilly municipal course in the heart of Austin is known for its easy greens and challenging putting. It winds over Waller Creek with small, well-manicured greens.

Just north of the University of Texas campus in zip code 78751, Hancock Golf Course is located near the Heart Hospital of Austin, Thinkery (Austin’s children’s museum), Elisabet Ney Museum, and Dell Children’s Medical Center. Nearby neighborhoods include Hancock, Hyde Park, North University, Cherrywood, and Bryker Woods. Children attend Austin ISD.

Lions Municipal Golf Course

“Another storied municipal, Lions Golf Course sits just west of downtown Austin. It’s locally adored and a spot visited by many of the game’s great players, like Ben Hogan,” shared Tucker. Known for its small greens and tight fairways, this 18-hole, par-71 course offers 6,000 yards and a driving range. Since its opening in 1934, it has remained Austin’s most popular course.

Lions Municipal is just west of downtown in zip code 78703, a coveted residential area between Lake Austin and downtown. Amenities in the area include spring-fed and historic Deep Eddy Pool, Walsh Boat Landing, and six-acre Reed Park. Homes range up to the multi-millions for lake view estates, and kids attend Austin ISD. Neighborhoods in the area include Tarrytown, Old Enfield, Pemberton Heights, Belmont, Rosedale, and Highland Park West.

South Austin Golf Courses

Southwest and south Austin feature three public golf courses: the Jimmy Clay/Roy Kizer Golf Complex and Grey Rock Golf Club.

Jimmy Clay/Roy Kizer Golf Complex

Home to Phillips Golf Academy, the State High School Golf Championship, and the final round courses for the Austin City championship, the Jimmy Clay/Roy Kizer Golf Complex offers two challenging courses, a driving range, Pro Shop, and practice facility.

The daily-fee, 18-hole Roy Kizer course was once an abandoned wastewater plant. This 6,749-yard, par-71 course offers ample fairways set against 22 acres of waterfowl-friendly wetland and 35 acres of lakes. Elms, oaks, and cedars shade its links-style layout. Water comes into play for 10 of the 18 tee shots.

As for Jimmy Clay, this course dates back to 1974 and is a traditional tree-lined course skirted by Williamson Creek and designed by Joseph Finger. Recently renovated, this 6,918-yard, par-72 course offers large, elevated greens and forgiving tee shots.

“The all-encompassing, 36-hole Jimmy Clay/Roy Kizer facility south of town offers two styles – Clay’s more traditional parkland look and Kizer’s wide-open golf with wide fairways. The complex includes a huge practice facility and practice course,” concluded Tucker.

Located next to McKinney Falls State Park and within the 78744 area code, the Jimmy Clay/Roy Kizer Golf Complex is surrounded by neighborhoods such as Onion Creek Forest, Onion Creek Plantations, Silverstone, Greenslopes, and Nuckols Crossing. Homes in the area are zoned for Del Valle ISD.

Grey Rock Golf Club (Southwest)

“Grey Rock Golf Club is an upscale, semi-private golf course set among heavy oak trees in the Circle C residential development,” explained Tucker. “It’s also just 10 miles from the famous Salt Lick in Driftwood, so pack a cooler of beer and grab some of the Hill Country’s best barbeque after 18 holes!”

Formerly Circle C Golf Course, par-72 Grey Rock Golf Club offers 6,859 yards of first-class golfing. Recognized as one of the top 20 public golf courses in Texas by Texas Golfer Magazine, it was designed by Jay Morrish and Roy Bechtol to celebrate the hill country beauty of the surrounding 160 acres. Over 40 species of birds reside in the cedar and live oak forest surrounding the course, which includes a full-service restaurant and clubhouse.

Grey Rock is located in the 78739 area code in southwest Austin. Home prices in the area range from around median to above $1 million, and children typically attend Austin ISD. Area amenities include Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, The Veloway, Slaughter Creek Preserve Trail, Hielscher Tract Greenbelt, and Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

East Austin Golf Courses

East Austin offers three public golf courses: Morris Williams Golf Course, Harvey Penick Golf Campus, and Riverside Golf Course.

Morris Williams Golf Course

Designed by Leon Howard in 1964, renovated Morris Williams Golf Course has a new clubhouse, greens, and fairways. “It took nearly a year, but the city of Austin’s Morris Williams Golf Course is reopened and better than ever,” said Tucker.

Known to locals as “Mo Willie,” this 18-hole municipal course was named after Morris Williams, Jr., one of Austin’s best golfers and a casualty of the Korean War. The 6,637-yard, par-72 golf course once served as the home for the University of Texas golf teams under legendary coaches Harvey Penick and George Hannon with teams that featured Tom Kite and Ben Crenshaw. Slightly elevated, small, contoured greens combine with rolling terrain to make this course the most difficult of the city’s courses.

Area attractions include Little Walnut Creek Park, Thinkery (the children’s museum), and Dell Children’s Hospital. Located in zip code 78723, children attend Austin ISD, and nearby neighborhoods include Mueller, Windsor Park, University Hills, Pecan Springs, Springdale, Chestnut, Cherrywood, MLK, and East MLK.

Harvey Penick Golf Campus

This nine-hole, 112-acre, PGA Tour-designed course on Ed Bluestein Boulevard was named after legendary teacher and author Harvey Penick, a former golf pro at the Austin Country Club. “Legendary golf teacher Harvey Penick’s lasting imprint is everywhere you look in Austin,” said Tucker. A daily fee course, it is set on gently rolling, wooded hills and features a three-hole short course with driving range.

Like Morris Williams, Harvey Penick Golf Campus is located in zip code 78723. Kids in 78723 typically attend Austin ISD. Surrounding neighborhoods include Pecan Springs, Springdale, East MLK, Sendero Hills, Meadows at Trinity Crossing, Las Cimas, Meadows of Walnut Creek, North Point, and Colony Park. Located just next door to Walnut Park, other area attractions include Green Gate Farms and Walter E. Long Metropolitan Park.

Riverside Golf Course

Riverside Golf Course is a challenging 18-hole, par-71 course with 6,562 yards of open, oak- and pecan-lined fairways and guarded Bermuda greens. Designed by architects James P. Maxwell and Perry Maxwell, Austin Country Club was located here during the Harvey Penick era. Interesting fact? Penick’s old house can be seen from the 5th tee.

“The layout is a bit pinched by development,” commented Tucker, “but the bones and aura of a stately club of another era faintly remain.”

Riverside Golf Course is located off Riverside Drive in zip code 78741. Children attend Austin ISD. Area amenities include Roy G. Guerrero Park and Austin Community College-Riverside. Surrounding neighborhoods include Pleasant Valley, East Riverside, East Oltorf, and Montopolis.

Northwest Austin Golf Courses

One of the most scenic areas in Austin, hilly northwest Austin boasts Avery Ranch, a daily fee golf course.

Avery Ranch Golf Club

Located in the heart of the Texas Hill Country beside a 60-acre lake, 18-hole Avery Ranch Golf Club is a daily fee course that offers a 7,121-yard, 72-par course and driving range. Architect Andy Raugust wrapped this course around meandering streams, natural limestone caverns, live oak groves, and rolling hills.

“Avery Ranch, located northwest of Austin near Cedar Park, has always carried one of the best reputations among clubs that offer a consistent daily fee play,” said Tucker. “While the golf course is part of a large residential development, the layout feels far more secluded than its location might suggest.”

Homes located in the zip code surrounding Avery Ranch Golf Club, 78717, run up to over $1 million. Children in 78717 often attend Round Rock ISD. Area attractions include Brushy Creek Regional Trail, Brushy Creek Sports Park, and Lakeline Village Mall. The golf course is surrounded by Avery Ranch neighborhoods such as The Reserve, Avery Estates, The Plaza Townhomes, Avery West, and Avery Ranch Garden Homes.

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