Great Hills Country Club Review

Texas Outside Rating: 9.3

Golf - Private Course · 18 Holes · Par 71
Austin
Website · Locate This Course
Date Last Played: January 28, 2015

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Great Hills Country Club Review

Review and Rating of Great Hills Country Club in Austin

Great Hills Country Club is a private, non-profit member-owned club and is one of those hidden gems that you ask "where have you been all my life?"   Wow, what a fantastic layout with excellent conditions, unexpected elevation changes, great greens, and lots of memorable holes - all of which is coupled with good service.

Great Hills Country Club was designed by Don January and opened for play in the late 1970s.  The course blends into and leverages the rolling hills, a creek, and scenic vistas as it traverses up and down the Austin hills dotted with some huge beautiful homes.  Some of what we think makes Great Hills well worth the initiation and monthly fees includes:

  • the course is demanding and requires some excellent course management and strategic shot making if you want to turn in a good score
  • the layout offers several memorable holes and a lot of variety with each hole being a little different
  • Great Hills will throw a lot at you to keep you on your game and make for fun round - huge elevation changes of over 150', wind, trees, tight fairways, forced carries, dog legs left and right, strategically placed bunkers, several temping risk reward opportunities, and challenging green complexes
  • both nines are great, but the back is a blast and a little more challenging, scenic, and memorable
  • friendly members and some excellent amenities

When we played in January, the course was in excellent condition.  The greens at Great Hills Country Club were near perfect and the Club claims that they are "the best Champion Grass greens in Texas."  They were smooth and ran at a good speed of around ten (normal speed throughout the year is 10 to 11, held the ball well, and ran true, if you could read some of the subtle breaks.  The are a variety of shapes and sizes (ranging from 3,500 to 6,500 square feet) and have lots of slope, undulation, and contour.  Plus the greens have some tiers, several are raised, all are guarded by one to three bunkers, and a few require huge uphill shots (add one to two club lengths) to reach them - we added a lot of strokes because we didn't know the greens well enough!

The fairways at Great Hills Country Club were also in very good condition and during the summer I would imagine they are close to near perfect.  The fairways range from tight to wide open and the rough is wide and playable.  All of the fairways have slope and contour that you need to manage.  Miss the rough and you're in the hills, under the trees, in the creek, or in the back yard of a beautiful huge home. 

The bunkers are about average, with thick soft sand, and lips that range from small to challenging.  They are strategically placed in the fairway and guard all sides of the greens. 

Some of the holes that we really liked included:

  • the 5 par 3s are fun, somewhat long, and most have some elevation changes - #17 is the signature hole with 4 big bunkers surrounding the green, a creek crossing in front of it, and a 100' drop from the tee boxes
  • #9 is a 372 yard par 4 with an elevated tee box with beautiful vistas, a downhill dog leg right, followed by a huge uphill shot to a tiered green that is raised and guarded by a tall natural rock wall
  • #11 is a beautiful 550 yard par 5 with 150 drop off the tee box to a dogleg right with a creek along the right side, a rock wall down the entire left side, and a challenging sloping green
  • #13 requires some shot making skills - a 417 yard par 4 with a creek to carry off the tee, a wide sloping fairway, and another creek to cross that's 90 yards in front of a guarded green
  • #18 is a 477 yard par 5 that has a huge uphill climb to a significantly raised green (short and you'll watch your ball roll back down the fairway) with two front bunkers and a beautiful view from the pin

Bottom Line - a fantastic private course with lots of variety, scenic vistas, huge elevation changes, and excellent conditions

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Course Slope & Ratings

Tee Box Yardage Rating Slope
Gold 6,625 72.4 128
Blue 6,103 70.0 120
White 5,346 66.2 115
Red 4,681 72.1 128

Course Information

Course Architect:
Don January
Greens Type:
Champion Bermuda
Greens Condition
9.3
Greens Difficulty
8.8
Fairway Condition
9.0
Bunker Condition
9.0
GPS:
No
Walkable:
No
Scorecard
Course Map
Beware of water on 6 holes and the 42 sand traps.

Texas Outside Rating

Overall Rating:
9.3 out of 10
Beauty:
8.8
Difficulty:
9.0
Variety:
10.0
Fun to Play:
10.0
Value:
9.0
Condition:
9.0
Front Nine Rating:
9.1
Back Nine Rating:
9.6
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FEES & AMENITIES

Initiation Fees: Under $10,000
Monthly Dues: $401 to $600

Service is very good. The practice facilities are more than adequate. The Country Club is home to a restaurant, tennis courts, fitness center, and swimming pool. The website has a great tour of the holes. In 2015 40 plus tee boxes will be re-leveled and enlarged.

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Here's How Texas Outside Determines the Scorecard Rating

The Texas Outside rating scale ranges from 1 to 10 – a perfect 10 course would be something like this:  links along a cliff overlooking the Pacific ocean and bordered by tall trees; lush fairways on rolling hills with lots of natural hazards; water (which is crystal clear) on most of the holes; immaculate greens (but they are undulating and tough); lots of variety and character (each hole is completely different and includes blind shots, elevation changes, doglegs, and significant challenges); perfectly manicured traps with the whitest and prettiest sand you’ve ever seen; a nice club house with great food and a 19th hole; a GPS; plenty of beverage carts or your own cooler and ice; and it only costs $40 bucks! What this means is that you probably won’t find any 10s in Texas – try Cabo San Lucas, Pebble Beach, or some of the Hawaii courses! 
Texas Outside rates courses on the following:

  • Beauty – tall trees, rolling hills, beautiful houses, waterfalls, and similar stuff would score high; a 1 would be flat, bushes or cactus instead of trees, and some grass but mostly weeds
  • Difficulty – a straight, 300 yard par 4 with no traps or hazards, no out of bounds or water would probably get a 1; if it is a 460 yard par 4 over two ravines, with water along one side, natural hazards on the other, strategically placed traps or that dreaded tree right in the middle of the fairway, we are talking a 10. 
  • Variety – what would you give a course where all the holes looked and played exactly the same (“I thought we just played that hole!”); were side-by-side, which is good for finding or dodging other people’s balls, but not much fun; and you can see the flag from every tee box?  That’s right, it gets a 1.
  • Fun Scale – a 10 is where you walk off the course and say “now that was fun” and you can’t wait to get back, or you immediately turn around and play another 18 holes
  • Value – a 5 is $50 to $60, a 10 is $20 to $30, and 1 is $200 or so – of course all of this is dependent upon how you liked the course.  For example, if a run down, boring municipal course, with six players on each hole was only $10; it would still get a value rating of 1.
  • Condition – this one’s pretty easy – what condition are the fairways. A 10 commands very lush perfectly manicured fairways, compared to a 1, which has fire ants, weeds, and more dirt than grass!
  • Condition of Greens and Difficulty – very hard to read greens with lots of undulation and tough pin placement, rate very high on the difficulty scale.  Condition is self-explanatory.  

All of the above determines the overall score for the golf course.  In other words, we like courses that are pretty, fun, very challenging with a lot of variety, and fairways and greens in excellent condition – all for $40.  We also tend to play the courses that are affordable for the masses, which means in the $30 to $80 range. We rate hard and we haven’t found a 10 in Texas yet – don’t worry we haven’t given up and we’re still looking. 

 

About Texas Outside

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