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Llano River Golf Course Review

Texas Outside Rating: 8.0

Golf - Public Course · 18 Holes · Par 71
Llano
Website · Locate This Course
Date Last Played: May 17, 2015

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Llano River Golf Course Review

Review of Llano River Golf Course in Llano

Llano River Golf Course is one of those sleepers and a pleasant surprise - a real bargain, some fun and challenging holes, scenic, and enjoyable to play.  The course is suitable for all levels of play - long hitters will find it short but troublesome because it's tight, juniors and new players with find it fun, it's fair for the ladies, and average players might be able to turn in a good score. 

The City of Llano owns and runs the course which opened as a nine hole course in the 30's. The back nine was added in 1996 and over the last few years some bunkers have been removed and converted into swales near the green and the front and back were reversed. 

The front nine is fantastic - it's fun; challenging thanks to elevation changes, tight fairways, dog legs, and trees blocking some shots; each hole is a little different; there is lots of variety; and it's scenic. The terrain on the front nine is rolling hills and this nine takes maximum advantage of the terrain giving you some scenic views of the hill country and the Llano River and several uphill as well as downhill shots as well as ravines and valleys to cross. Some of the holes we liked on the front nine at Llano River Golf Club included:

  • #3 is a sharp dog leg right with a slightly uphill shot followed by an approach to a small back to front sloping green guarded by a bunker and the Llano River in the background - a great risk reward opportunity off the tee box if you want to try and shorten the hole
  • #4 is 350 yard dog leg right with another risk reward opportunity (lots easier) to shorten the second shot to an uphill green
  • #6 is the only par 5 on this nine and it's challenging - 486 yards with an uphill tee shot, then slightly downhill over a gully followed by a huge uphill climb to a challenging green complex
  • on #8 you best hit it straight on this pretty 165 yard par 3 or you'll be swimming in the Llano River (not a bad idea on a hot day

The back nine is very traditional with nothing really unusual or exciting. The holes are straight and "what you see is what you get."  Most of the holes are side-by-side so keep an eye out for fellow golfers who think taking your fairway may be a better approach to the green - seems that I am typically one of those guys but it's because I spray it bad!   The back is a little longer than the front but still short at 2294 to 3198 yards but plays easier because of no elevation changes and if you survive the first three holes and can hit the ball straight, you're likely to have a very good round on this nine.

A couple of holes that we liked on the back included:

  • #11 is a challenging 205 yard slightly uphill shot to a raised green with swales along the side plus you'll need to carry two intimidating ravines off the tee box
  • #16 is only 306 yards from the tips so long hitters can go for the green
  • #17 offers a risk reward shot if you want to try to carry the trees on the right side to shorten the hole a tad

When we played in May after some significant rains, the fairways were ok but had lots of fire ants to watch out for and some bare spots.  Trees line all of the fairways and they range from sparse and easy to chip back to the fairway to thick and dense ball eaters.   Some of the fairways are pretty tight and you might want to keep the big dog in the bag.  The rough can be pretty rough and a mixture of grass and dirt and weeds.

The majority of the bunkers have been filled in creating some challenging greenside swales.  The few remaining bunkers were wet due to the rain and not playable.  They look like under normal conditions the sand would be soft and thick and very playable.

The greens at Llano River Golf Club are going to cause you some challenges. They range from small to about average and they are a variety of interesting shapes and pin placement can be a killer thanks to slope, contour, and undulation!  A lot of the greens on the back are elevated and because of the size may be hard to hold.  They were running at a good speed and run true if you can read the breaks . The greens were in pretty good condition - a few had some damage but nothing that impacts your putting. 

Bottom line - well worth playing and a good value and family friendly.

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Course Slope & Ratings

Tee Box Yardage Rating Slope
Gold 6,265 68.9 116
Blue 5,624 66.4 112
White 4,802
Red 4,466 66.2 113

Course Information

Course Architect:
Jep Willie
Greens Type:
Bermuda
Greens Condition
6.5
Greens Difficulty
7.5
Fairway Condition
6.8
Bunker Condition
7.0
GPS:
No
Walkable:
Yes
Beware of water on 3 holes and the 4 sand traps.

Texas Outside Rating

Overall Rating:
8.0 out of 10
Beauty:
8.3
Difficulty:
8.0
Variety:
8.5
Fun to Play:
8.8
Value:
8.5
Condition:
6.8
Front Nine Rating:
8.3
Back Nine Rating:
7.5
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FEES & AMENITIES

Approximate Weekend
Rates:
$33.00 to $33.00

Service is very friendly, the pro shop sells golf balls, soft drinks, and snacks only. The entire facility is very dated and in need of some upgrading. There is a putting green and driving range.

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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.