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Horseshoe Bay Resort - Slick Rock Course Review

Texas Outside Rating: 9.2

Golf - Resort Private Course · 18 Holes · Par 72
Horseshoe Bay
Website · Locate This Course
· Stay & Play
Date Last Played: July 02, 2011

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Horseshoe Bay Resort - Slick Rock Course Review

Review & Rating of Horseshoe Bay Resort's Slick Rock Golf Course in Horseshoe Bay

The fantastic Horseshoe Bay Resort on Lake LBJ is home to three championship Robert Trent Jones, Sr. golf courses which are consistently ranked as some of the best courses in Texas. Some of the awards and accolades that Slick Rock has received over the last couple years include:

  • Best You can Play in Texas, Golfweek, 2016
  • Top 50 courses you can play in Texas (#16) - Dallas Morning News, 2015
  • Top 100 overall courses in Texas (#66) - Dallas Morning News, 2015
  • Top 50 courses you can play in Texas (#19) - Dallas Morning News, 2014
  • Top 100 overall courses in Texas (#68) - Dallas Morning News, 2014
  • Best Resort Courses in Texas - Golf Magazine, 2014
  • Places to Play (4.5 stars) - Golf Digest

Each of the three courses, Ram Rock, Slick Rock, and Apple Rock, have their own unique challenges and personality. Ram Rock is the most challenging and one of the toughest courses in Texas and Apple Rock is the most scenic with breathtaking majestic views of Lake LBJ. Here is a link to Texas Outside's review of Ram Rock and the review of Apple Rock.

Common to all three courses are absolutely stunning facilities that blend in perfectly with the surrounding picturesque Hill Country; excellent service; great food; and an outstanding and well equipped pro shop plus good practice facilities. The bad news is that you need to be a member or staying at the Horseshoe Bay Resort to play these courses. The good news is that you'll be staying at one of the best resorts in Texas and playing some of the best courses in Texas. So what are you waiting for, pick up the phone and book a reservation and a tee time. 

In 2015, Slick Rock closed for six months of renovations  that focused on green replacement, bunker reshaping, green collars and improvements in irrigation. For example:

  • all of the sod was removed on the greens and planted with bent grass and the green contours were softened slightly
  • all of the sand was removed from all of the bunkers and new drainage and liners were installed, sod on bunker faces and surrounds were replaced, and new light fluffy sand was installed
  • a two-foot Diamond Zoysia collar was installed around the greens to create a buffer
  • a new irrigation system was installed around the greens and new automated sprinkler heads were added to the rest of the course
  • trees were trimmed and cart paths were repaired

As you make the turn into the Slick Rock course you cross some creeks, go down the gently rolling terrain, and past some beautifully landscaped grounds, and arrive at the stone clubhouse surrounded by granite boulders, you sense you are in for something special. And you won't be disappointed. Slick Rock was built in 1971 on over 170 acres of lush Texas Hill Country with granite outcroppings, rolling hills, and a variety of native trees including oak, cedar, and persimmon. Sage and other landscaping bring a variety of colors to this meticulously maintained course. 

Slick Rock is the most user friendly of the three 18s and James Rolls, Head Golf Professional, says "Slick Rock is hard to par but easy to bogey" - and that sure held true in our foursome's group. Like most resort courses, Slick Rock has wide and forgiving fairways off the tee box, big greens, huge bunkers, and near perfect conditions. At 3390 yards, the front nine is pretty traditional and what you see is what you get - so pull out the driver and let it rip but don't get overconfident because the approach shots can be challenging because of the trees and green-side bunkers. On this nine you'll encounter water on 4 holes, 33 fairway and green-side bunkers, two great par 3's, and homes lining both sides of the fairways. Number 8 is a fun and scenic par 3 requiring a 170 yard carry over the water to hit the front of the green. The 3rd hole, a 575 yard par 5 is a fun hole with water along three fourths of the right side and the dog leg right approach is narrow with traps, trees, and water leading to the green. 

The back nine is fantastic with some fun, challenging and very scenic holes, including the infamous "million dollar waterfall" number 14 - probably one of the most scenic and dramatic holes in Texas. On this nine you need to deploy better course management and club selection to avoid the numerous bunkers, water on five holes, and dog legs. Number 12 is a good example - 530 yard par 5 which is wide off the fairway but the landing zone is tight with a bunker on one side and a tree on the other side right where your ball wants to land. Survive that and its decision time - can you make it across the water crossing the fairway about 110 yards out from the green? Get your camera ready for the Kodak moment at #14 - it's easy to want to stop and have a picnic on this breathtaking beautiful hole. And 18 is a great finishing hole with an uphill tee shot to the dogleg right heading down and back up to the elevated very well protected green. Great nine. 

The facilities and service are second to none - the grill and restaurant are excellent, the grounds are beautiful with plenty of colorful landscaping and granite boulders; the practice facilities are very good; and the pro shop has everything you need. For example, when nature called and I walked into one of the restrooms on the course, a loud wow popped out of my mouth! What a great restroom - granite counter tops, beautiful stone tiled floors and walls, and it even smelled refreshing - unique to any other golf course restroom facilities. 

Slick Rock, like both of its sister courses, is in excellent condition - the fairways are near perfect, the rough was cut playable, the landscaping is beautiful, and everything is immaculate. The Bent grass greens were large, very true with gentle slope, extremely soft, and fast - but they are decievingly tough to one put, at least for our group.

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Course Slope & Ratings

Tee Box Yardage Rating Slope
Blue 6,834 72.8 131
White 6,354 70.3 129
Red 5,438 72.7 126

Course Information

Course Architect:
Robert Trent Jones, Sr.
Greens Type:
Bentgrass
Greens Condition
9.8
Greens Difficulty
8.5
Fairway Condition
9.8
Bunker Condition
10.0
GPS:
No
Walkable:
No
Scorecard
Beware of water on 10 holes and the 71 sand traps.

Texas Outside Rating

Overall Rating:
9.2 out of 10
Beauty:
9.3
Difficulty:
8.8
Variety:
9.0
Fun to Play:
9.5
Value:
8.8
Condition:
9.8
Front Nine Rating:
9.0
Back Nine Rating:
9.7
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FEES & AMENITIES

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

Service is first class, the pro shop is well stocked, and the facilities are outstanding. The bar is great and the food is very tasty.

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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.