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Morris Williams Golf Course Review

Texas Outside Rating: 8.3

Golf - Public Course · 18 Holes · Par 72
Austin
Website · Locate This Course
· Discounted Tee Times
Date Last Played: March 02, 2016

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Morris Williams Golf Course Review

Review and Rating of Morris Williams Golf Course in Austin

Morris Williams Golf Course has been an Austin staple since it was designed by Leon Howard and opened in 1964.  It's very popular thanks to a great layout, reasonable rates, and good conditions. In 2012 the course closed for some major renovations, some of which included:

  • adding an additional 400 yards increasing the length from the tips from 6700 to 7023
  • reshaping and enlarging the greens
  • moving and redoing some of the bunkers
  • reshaping some of the holes
  • enlarging and adding additional tee boxes - there are now 5 with yardages from 4973 to 7023 yards

The front nine at Morris Williams Golf Course has some elevation changes, 3 dog legs, water that can cause a problem on three holes, and some uphill as well as downhill shots.  A couple of the holes that we liked on this nine included:

  • #2 is a 573 yard par 5 with an elevated tee shot, a risk reward opportunity to try and fly the trees to go for the green in two, and an uphill shot past a hidden lake on the right to big green with a left side bunker, a ridge, and some subtle breaks
  • #3 is a 218 yard downhill par 3 over a pond to a raised green - club selection and wind management are critical on this hole
  • #6 is a 427 yard par 4 that requires a good drive uphill to a dog leg left fairway - left and your down the hill and blocked by trees, long and you might be in the pond, and short is most likely a blind shot blocked by trees

The back nine was my favorite - it seems to be a little more challenging, has a little more character, and has some great holes.  This nine has several up and downs, some doglegs left and right, elevated greens, and water on 5 holes. Two holes we really liked are:

  • #11 is wide open off the tee box but at about 200 yards out it goes downhill and over a creek and back up to a roller coaster small green
  • #13 is a hole you'll want to play again - a hill and trees split the fairway and you can go uphill to the left but need to be accurate or you're in tree trouble or you can go down and right to a very tight fairway but a shorter uphill approach shot to a green with lots of movement

The Morris Williams Golf Course greens are a variety of shapes and most are huge ranging from 28 to 39 yards deep.  A majority of the greens are raised and they all have some combination of slope, tiers, saddles, ridges, or tricky contour.  They were running a little slow (7 to 8) when we played and were a little bumpy.  Most had some winter damage which in a few months should be gone and I image the greens would be near perfect.

The fairways were in very good shape as was the rough which might be trouble in the summer.  All the fairways are tree lined (no homes) but the brush is cleared under the trees which means you can usually find your ball and have a worm burner or tree flyer shot back to the fairway.  The fairways range from wide open to fairly tight and have lots of ups and downs plus slope and contour.  Some are side by side.

The bunkers were perfect - soft, fluffy, deep sand.  There are only 11 bunkers and they all guard the greens.  They aren't huge and the lips are manageable but don't expect to roll in and roll out.

Bottom line - a fun layout for all skill levels and very reasonable rates.

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Course Slope & Ratings

Tee Box Yardage Rating Slope
Black 7,023 73.0 124
Gold 6,568 70.9 121
Blue 5,969 68.3 119
White 5,342 65.2 109
Red 4,973 68.5 106

Course Information

Course Architect:
Jep Willie
Greens Type:
Bermuda
Greens Condition
6.5
Greens Difficulty
8.0
Fairway Condition
8.5
Bunker Condition
9.2
GPS:
No
Walkable:
Yes
Beware of water on 8 holes and the 11 sand traps.

Texas Outside Rating

Overall Rating:
8.3 out of 10
Beauty:
7.5
Difficulty:
7.6
Variety:
8.0
Fun to Play:
8.6
Value:
9.0
Condition:
8.2
Front Nine Rating:
8.2
Back Nine Rating:
8.5
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FEES & AMENITIES

Approximate Weekend
Rates:
$33.00 to $42.00

The pro shop is well stocked, the service is friendly, and the practice facilities are adequate. The grill has breakfast stuff and burgers (excellent), dogs, sandwiches, and more.

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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.