Olympia Hills Review

Texas Outside Rating: 9.0

Golf - Public Course · 18 Holes · Par 72
Universal City
Website · Locate This Course
· Discounted Tee Times
Date Last Played: March 08, 2014

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Olympia Hills Review

Review Of Olympia Hills Golf Course in Universal City, Texas

Opened in 2000, Olympia Hills is owned and operated by the City of Universal City and was designed by Finger, Dye, and Spann Design Group and they did a fantastic job of leveraging the natural beauty and terrain to create a fantastic golfing experience that is both fun and demanding.  Olympia Hills test your game by throwing a little bit of everything at you, some of which includes: dramatic elevation changes, lots of variety, roller coaster fairways, water on a couple holes, blind shots, elevated greens, strategically placed bunkers, some tight twisting fairways, a couple easy forced carries, risk reward opportunities,  mounds and swales, and complex putting surfaces! 

Don't let all of that scare you away, the course is demanding but it's fair and if you pick the right set of tee boxes and play smart, you'll have a very enjoyable and well scoring round at a very reasonable price.  If you like beautiful scenery, towering live oaks some with hanging Spanish moss, limestone cliffs, lots of deer, and dramatic elevation changes (holes 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 11, and 13 drop more than 50 feet from tee to green), this is the course for you.  And it's not surprising that Olympia Hills was named by Golf Digest as the "Best New Affordable Public Golf Course in Texas" and #4 in America!

Part of what makes Olympia Hills fun to play is that each nine has it's own unique personality. The front plays up and down the rolling hills and has dramatic elevation changes on five of nine holes and lots of variety. This is a nine that will test you shot making and club selection skills and it's home to some excellent holes, like:

  • #2 is a 513 yard par 5 with an easy carry over a gully then up and left on a right to left sloping fairway that leads to a challenging 2 tier well guarded oblong green
  • take at least one club off the 189 yard par 3 #5 - a big downhill shot to a green with little room for error
  • #6 is a 551 yard par 5 that horseshoes around a creek and ravine on the right side that crosses back under the fairway and curves around in front of a downhill small and well protected green with significant slope back toward the creek - it also offers a great risk reward shot off the tee to try and go for the green it two
  • #8 is a blast - a dramatically elevated tee box with a tight landing zone and then uphill to a well guarded green

The back nine is more open and forgiving off the tee box but has some tight approaches, a couple water holes, two holes with elevated tee boxes, some side by side holes, and much harder and smaller greens. We really liked:

  • #10 is a fun 437 yard dog leg right with an uphill blind shot and a risk reward opportunity to get closer to the green which is downhill and surrounded by a a limestone wall and a couple big bunkers.
  • #18 requires you to carry a ravine off the tee box and avoid a pond on left and bunkers on the right which pinch the fairway on the approach shot

The par 3's at Olympia Hills can bite you, most of the greens are challenging, and the conditions are very good. The fairways and rough were in good condition and during the summer we think they would be excellent.  Most of the fairways are rolling and contoured, lined by trees, and wide and forgiving to a little tight. 

The greens are challenging with slope, contour, spines, big bunkers, and plenty of mounding plus a lot of them are raised.  They range in size and shape, held the ball well, and ran true but a little slow, which is a good thing based on the slope, contour, and pin placement.  When we played they were over seeded and in very good condition.  Putting can be challenging. 

The course is maintained by using grey recycled water, which helps keep it in great condition year round.  The last time we played in March 2014, the course was dormant but starting to green up and it was easy to tell that during the season, the conditions would be very good from tee box to the cup.

The sand in the bunkers was a little gritty and thin but the bunkers were well maintained.  Most are large, a variety of shapes, and some are steep faced.

Bottom line, Olympia Hills is a must play - great variety, fun and challenging, in very good condition, and one of the best bargains in Texas.

Head Pro's Corner


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Course Slope & Ratings

Tee Box Yardage Rating Slope
Gold 6,918 74.1 139
Blue 6,543 72.0 136
White 6,023 70.2 125
Red 5,534 73.1 131

Course Information

Course Architect:
Finger, Dye, Spann Design Group
Greens Type:
Bermuda
Greens Condition
8.8
Greens Difficulty
9.0
Fairway Condition
9.0
Bunker Condition
8.5
GPS:
No
Walkable:
Hard walk
Beware of water on 3 holes and the 50 sand traps.

Texas Outside Rating

Overall Rating:
9.0 out of 10
Beauty:
9.0
Difficulty:
8.8
Variety:
8.8
Fun to Play:
9.3
Value:
9.5
Condition:
8.5
Front Nine Rating:
9.3
Back Nine Rating:
8.5
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FEES & AMENITIES

Approximate Weekend
Rates:
$29.00 to $57.00

Service is very good, the pro shop has the basics, and the practice facility includes driving range, sculpted target greens, and 10,000 foot short game area.

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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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