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Riverhill Country Club Review

Texas Outside Rating: 8.5

Golf - Private Course · 18 Holes · Par 72
Kerrville
Website · Locate This Course
· Stay & Play
Date Last Played: June 06, 2006

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Riverhill Country Club Review

Review of Riverhill Country Club

Riverhill Country Club in Kerriville was designed by Byron Nelson and Joe Finger and opened for play in 1974.  They did an excellent job of leveraging the natural rolling and treed terrain to create an outstanding course that is scenic, fun, and demanding but fair.  Byron stated when ask "if you had one course to play, what would it be" and his answer was Riverhill Country Club.

RiverHill is a fairly traditional and straightforward layout with 4 sets of tee boxes plus three combo tee boxes which gives golfers some wide choices to bite off as much as they think they can handle - from 5217 to 7191 yards and a slope ranging from 139 to 126.  Bryon and Joe created a course  where if you want to turn in a good score you find that placement off the tee is critical, the ability to hit the ball both right to left and left to right to manage the dog legs is needed, and the approach shots need to be accurate and keep the ball below the pin.

Both nines are great - scenic, fun, good variety, and somewhat demanding - but the front seemed more interesting, a little more challenging, and more enjoyable.  Some of what you'll need to manage during your round include elevated tee shots, lots of dog legs where positioning is critical, narrow tree lined fairways, guarded and contoured greens, and water and other hazards like trees blocking your shot.

Each of the nines have some great holes, some of which include:

  • #2 is a 211 yard (from the tournament tee box) par 3 that's all carry across water to a big green with little room for error
  • #4 is a fun 548 par 5 where placement off the tee is critical as well as an accurate approach shot across the creek to a green sitting on a mound - miss and you're rolling down the hill for a tough chip
  • #16 is a 445 yard par 4 where you can bring out the camera to capture a stunning panoramic vista from an elevated tee box and then bring out the big dog and let er rip and hope that your tee shot turns out as good as your picture
  • #18 is a fun finishing hole where your tee shot needs to follow a narrow tree lined fairway

When we played in late July, the fairways were in good condition but starting to show some signs of drt areas abd damage thanks to the drought and water rationing.  Most of the fairways are ample and forgiving, but if you spray the ball you'll be under the trees with a tough shot out of a rough that varies from thin to fairly thick. 

The bent grass greens at Riverhill Country Club were near perfect - soft, smooth, true, and ran at a good speed around 10 or so.  Practice putting and your sand shots before you head out - the greens are guarded with some treacherous bunkers and have lots of slope and contour.  A number of the greens are also raised with false fronts.

The bunkers were all shapes and sizes and varied from small lips to some very steep and deep faces.  The sand also varied from course and gritty to fine and soft.

Riverhill Country Club is private but available for play if you stay in one of the Stay & Play cottages or casitas and rates are reasonable.

Head Pro's Corner

The initiation fees to join Riverhil Country Club are waived for new members who join in 2012.

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Course Slope & Ratings

Tee Box Yardage Rating Slope
Black 7,191 75.3 139
Gold 6,896 74.0 137
Blue 6,470 72.3 133
White 6,036 70.2 131
Red 5,217 71.0 128

Course Information

Course Architect:
Byron Nelson & Joe Finger
Greens Type:
Bent
Greens Condition
9.0
Greens Difficulty
9.0
Fairway Condition
8.3
Bunker Condition
7.5
GPS:
No
Walkable:
Yes
Beware of water on 11 holes and the 32 sand traps.

Texas Outside Rating

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

Initiation Fees: Under $10,000
Monthly Dues: $201 to $400

Service is good, the practice facilities have everything you need for a good warm up, and the grill has a wide selection of very good food. The Pro Shop is well stocked.

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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.