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ShadowGlen Golf Club Review

Texas Outside Rating: 8.9

Golf - Public Course · 18 Holes · Par 72
Website · Locate This Course
· Discounted Tee Times · Stay & Play
Date Last Played: November 02, 2015

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ShadowGlen Golf Club Review

Review and Rating of ShadowGlen Golf Club in Manor Texas

ShadowGlen is a hidden gem just north east of Austin in Manor. The course opened in 2004 and is well deserving of it's rating as Golf Digest's "Top 10 Best New Golf Courses."  Roy Bechtol and Randy Russell of Bechtol/Russell Golf did a superb job of leveraging the natural rolling and undulating terrain and they exceeded their challenge to build a course that was a stout test of golf and one where top-level golfers could challenge their "A" game but us average golfers can have an enjoyable round. Roy Bechtol said "This may be my most impressive work yet" adding that "if I did it all over again I wouldn't change a thing."  It's not surprising that ShadowGlen is consistently rated as one of the top courses in the Austin area - in fact, for 2014 Avid Golfer rated it #5 in the Mid Priced Category.

ShadowGlen was designed to make you think your way around the course and you'll need to manage dog legs, forced carries, elevation changes, ponds and creeks, berms and mounding, bunkers, and more.  From the tips at 7174 yards ShadowGlen can be a monster - this is also somewhat true of playing the Bronze- so if you just want a fun and somewhat challenging round, be humble and move up to the next set of tee boxes. We got this advice in advance, so we played the White tee boxes, scored well, and had a very enjoyable and fun round.

Each of the nines is very different - the front has lots of elevation changes as it's unique holes meander through the rolling countryside while the back is much more traditional and straightforward with somewhat tighter fairways.

Some of the holes that we really liked included:

  • #3 is a 587 yard par 5 dog leg left around a pond that requires some shot making - off the tee you need to thread a tight slot to a big landing zone or try a risk reward shot to fly the trees and lake to shorten the hole and then the approach shot to a huge green is extremely tough thanks to trees blocking most of the right side and a bunker on the left
  • #7 is a bear - a 561 yard par 5 with three bunkers crossing the fairway where your drive from the back tees wants to land, then up a heavily contoured fairway and right past two more nasty bunkers, and that's followed by a tough uphill approach to a green perched on a hill with 2 left side bunkers and no room for error
  • #8 and #17 are both beautiful par threes - one requires a slight down hill carry over a deep ravine and the other is a 183 yard carry over the lake
  • #18 is a fantastic finishing hole - a 513 yard par 5 that dog legs left around a minefield of 6 big bunkers on the right and mounding all along the left side plus a rock creek crossing the fairway about 100 yards in front of the green - a great risk reward shot off the tee that will cut off a lot of yards if you think you can carry some or all of the fairway bunkers

When we played in November, it had rained 18 inches two day earlier and the course was recovering from some significant flooding (which also happened in May!) that covered the fairways and washed out the bunkers!  Sad to see such damage.  Normally, ShadowGlen is in very good condition from the tee box to the pin.  The staff had done an excellent job of making the course playable shortly after the flooding.

The fairways on the front nine are rolling and heavily contoured while the back is flatter and a litter tighter.  The fairways range from tight to wide open let-er-rip. Both are home to mounds, berms, ravines, creeks, big bunkers, water, and natural area hazards.  When we played, it was cart path only and considering all the rain, they were in pretty good condition.  The rough was playable and varied from grass to a mixture of dirt, grass, and natural area.  Miss the rough and you'll be looking for your ball for a while.

The greens at ShadowGlen are huge and most have some significant combination of tiers, slope, and contour.  Some are raised and most are guarded which puts a premium on your approach shot. They were in very good condition but slow and bumpy because they couldn't be mowed due to the rain.  They were soft, held the ball well, and ran true.

The bunkers were not playable - every bunker has some standing water and all were missing most of their sand.   When we played before, the sand was great - soft, deep, and fluffy.  The bunkers range in size from small to huge and the faces are 1 to 4 feet or more.

Book a tee time now - you'll love this course regardless of your skill level. ShadowGlen has definitely achieved their goal of providing championship golf at reasonable prices.

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Course Slope & Ratings

Tee Box Yardage Rating Slope
Black 7,174 74.2 139
Gold 6,629 72.7 132
Blue 6,047 69.7 126
White 4,898 64.5 105

Course Information

Course Architect:
R Roy Bechtol and Randy Russell oy Bec
Greens Type:
TIF Eagle
Greens Condition
Greens Difficulty
Fairway Condition
Bunker Condition
Beware of water on 10 holes and the 52 sand traps.

Texas Outside Rating

Overall Rating:
8.9 out of 10
Fun to Play:
Front Nine Rating:
Back Nine Rating:


Approximate Weekend
$25.00 to $50.00

Service is ok, the club house is great with a cool patio overlooking the course, the proshop has the basics, and the practice facilities are good. The Bar & Grill is good with some craft beer and a variety of food options.



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.