Hill Country Golf Club - Lakes Course Review

Texas Outside Rating: 9.0

Golf - Resort Public Course · 9 Holes · Par 72
San Antonio
Website · Locate This Course
· Discounted Tee Times · Stay & Play
Date Last Played: November 01, 2014

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Hill Country Golf Club - Lakes Course Review

Review of Hill Country Golf Club Lakes Course - San Antonio

Hyatt Hill Country Resort has 27 holes of some of the best golf in Texas. The three nine hole courses play through more than 200 acres of diverse terrain with tree lined and rolling fairways, tranquil lakes and ponds, wooded ravines, hillsides, and dry rock creek beds.  All three courses at Hill Country Golf Club were designed by Arthur Hills and he gave  each of the nines it's own unique challenges, personality, and character:

  • the Oaks Course is the hardest of the three thanks to tight fairways, forced carries, and dog legs plus you need to place shots and work the ball to score well - here is a link to read our review of the Oaks Course
  • the Creeks Course is the easiest thanks to wide and forgiving fairways and easier approach shots to the greens - read our review of the Creeks Course to lean more
  • the Lakes Course is the middle of the road course and offers several risk reward opportunities

Although each nine is different, here is what is common to all three nines:

  • they are all well maintained and manicured
  • the greens and fairways are in very good condition
  • each nine takes maximum advantage of the terrain
  • the pace of play is excellent
  • with 4 sets of tee boxes, you can find a yardage that fits your game and handicap
  • the GPS is excellent and beneficial to helping you decide where to try and place your shots
  • service is impeccable with an experienced, friendly, and helpful staff
  • you'll have a fun and memorable round on any of the nines
  • all are open to the public with a fantastic rate for locals with proof of residence and a good stay and play package
  • the 19th hole Cactus Oak Tavern has good food, cold drinks, TVs, and a pool table

The Lakes course typlifies what golf is all about - great conditions, excellent service, challenging but fair holes, scenic beauty, lots of variety, some very fun holes, and an excellent 19th hole.

Arthur Hills did an excellent job of leveraging the gently rolling and heavily treed terrain, meandering rock creek, and four lakes to present you with nine holes with lots of character and challenges. Some of challenges that make this nine fun are sharp doglegs, narrow slots, some small landing zones, elevated and well protected greens, four lakes, bunkers, and a dry creek bed. This nine is fair and doesn't beat you up, but it does require excellent club selection, good course management, and some target golf - you may want to leave the driver in the bag on a few of the holes.

Some of the holes that we really liked include:

  • #5 is a fun 336 yard par four with a fairway that is pinched into a figure 8 thanks to trees on left and a bunker on the right and then the approach (the green is set way off to the left) is over a dry creek to a 28 yard long severe sloping green with a lake on the left, grass swales on the right, and mounds in the back
  • #6 is the #2 handicap hole and it's a beautiful 563 yard dogleg left par 5 that offers a tee shot with an excellent risk reward opportunity if you want to shorten the hole and rip it across the lake to a narrow oblong fairway (watch out for the strategically placed trap and the rough and the lake on the left and OB if you're long) - survive that and you then have to cross a rock creek and position you shot to avoid a huge tree blocking the approach to the green which also has a bunker on the left and the lake on the right - this is a shot makers hole
  • #8 is a 560 yard par 5 that horseshoes left around the trees and the tight fairway is lined with 5 bunkers on the right side

Like the other 18 holes, the conditions were excellent when we played in early November and the entire course is very well maintained and landscaped. The fairways on the Lakes nine are tight but manageable and in near perfect condition. 

The greens are about average size with manageable slope and contour.  They held the ball well and ran true but were a tad slow.

The bunkers range from small to good sized with shallow to deep lips.  They were wet from a rain when we played and all of the bunkers will be renovated starting in December.

This is a fun, but challenging nine that you will want to play again. Although it's got its challenges you can score well if you think your way through the course.

Slope and rating are based on playing the Lakes and the Creeks. If you play the Lakes and the Oaks the slope from the tips is 136 and the rating is 73.7, which makes this combo of nines the toughest.

The Hyatt Hill Country Resort & Spa is fantastic and it has a very good Stay & Play Package - read our review of the Hyatt Hill Country Resort.

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Course Slope & Ratings

Tee Box Yardage Rating Slope
Gold 3,502 73.7 132
Blue 3,242 71.4 130
White 2,926 67.7 116
Red 2,446 69.2 118

Course Information

Course Architect:
Arthur Hills
Greens Type:
TIF Dwarf
Greens Condition
9.0
Greens Difficulty
8.0
Fairway Condition
9.0
Bunker Condition
8.0
GPS:
Yes
Walkable:
Yes
Course Map
Beware of water on 6 holes and the 22 sand traps.

Texas Outside Rating

Overall Rating:
9.0 out of 10
Beauty:
9.5
Difficulty:
8.0
Variety:
9.5
Fun to Play:
10.0
Value:
7.5
Condition:
9.5
Front Nine Rating:
9.2
Back Nine Rating:
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FEES & AMENITIES

Approximate Weekend
Rates:
$95.00 to $145.00

Service is excellent - somehow, all the staff seem to know your name and want to make sure you have a fun and memorable round. The cart lady seems to show up at just the right time. The Pro Shop is well staffed and the practice facilities are good. The Cactus Oak Travern has good food, a full bar, and pool table, TVs, and games - a great 19th hole hangout.

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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. 

 

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