Star Ranch Golf Club Review

Texas Outside Rating: 9.1

Golf - Public Course · 18 Holes · Par 71
Hutto
Website · Locate This Course
Online Specials · Discounted Tee Times
Date Last Played: February 18, 2014

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Star Ranch Golf Club Review

Review of Star Ranch Golf Club

Wow, what a fun course to play - excellent conditions, fair yet demanding, outstanding layout, huge smooth greens, reasonable rates, good service, and best of all, an opportunity to have a relaxing and low scoring round. 

Star Ranch Golf Club plays through some gently rolling terrain just north of Austin. Rated 4 stars in Golf Digest's "Best Places To Play" in 2008 and 2009, Star Ranch is a very golfer friendly course and an excellent layout. From the tips at 7017 yards you'll be challenged (slope of 132 and rating of 73.2) but step back a few tee boxes and the yardages are shorter (4990 to 6341 yards) and the course is much more forgiving for the higher handicap players.  In fact, Star Ranch offers you an excellent opportunity to turn in a great score if you pick the right tee box, avoid the monster traps, and have an average day of putting. Oh, and you need to manage the wind which can have a pretty big impact both for and against you.  The course also offers you the chance to take some risks for a birdie or better. 

Each of the nines is a little different from the other.  The front nine is a par 35 with only one par 5, a little shorter, and much more open and forgiving off the tee.  This nine plays like a links style course with gently rolling and wide open contoured fairways, no tricks or hidden hazards, huge strategically placed bunkers, and above average sized greens.  If you avoid the bunkers, leverage the wind, stay in-bounds, and play smart you're going to have a very good and enjoyable nine.  You'll have some uphill and downhill shots, a couple dog legs, and water but no tricks and no hidden hazards.  On the front nine there are some really fun holes like:

  • #1 which is a 398 yard downhiller that dog legs right around a large bunker to a huge well guarded green - try flying the fairway bunker off the tee box for an excellent opportunity for a birdie
  • #6 is short at 357 yards but tight as the fairway dogs left along a lake on one side and bunkers on the right that are waiting for your drive - the fairway slopes toward the water and the approach shot to the green is demanding
  • #7 is a scenic and challenging 189 yard carry over the lake and pot bunker to a green with a spine across the middle

We really enjoyed the back nine at Star Ranch - it's a little longer, tighter and more demanding, and home to some great holes.  On this nine you've got to manage the water, some tighter fairways, the bunkers, a creek that crosses the fairway, and a cactus patch that can get nasty if you try to retrieve you ball.  Some of the holes that we really liked included:

  • #10 is similar to the first hole - a downhill dog leg right over a huge bunker to a green with two gigantic bunkers plus water on the right - off the tee it offers an excellent risk reward opportunity to fly the bunkers and cut off a lot of yardage
  • #13 is a 532 yard slight dog leg right par 5 but it's a little tight (dense tree line on the entire right side and a natural area along the left side) and the green is oblong but large (48' deep and 17' wide)
  • #14 is the first hole where you really need to manage your tee shot or you could end up wet in a creek that crosses in front of an elevated green guarded by a rock wall in the front and trees in the back
  • #15 is a beautiful and challenging 170 yard par 3 with a creek with a waterfall and pond along the right and in back of a green with a rock wall along the right front and side

When we played in late February, the fairways were dormant but in excellent condition and during the summer my guess is that they would be near perfect.  The entire course is very well maintained and manicured.  Most of the Star Ranch Golf Club fairways are rolling and contoured offering several uphill and downhill shots.  The majority of the fairways are also wide and forgiving but spray it and you'll be OB. 

The greens at Star Ranch are a variety of interesting shapes and most of them are huge - ranging from 19' to 49' deep and 17' to 43' wide.  All but one green is guarded by at least one, and typically two huge bunkers and some mounding or berms.  When we played the greens were soft, rolled smooth but a tad slow, and ran true.  All have some slope that you need to study before you putt.

The bunkers at Star Ranch Golf Club are formidable - most are huge, multi-fingered, and with some steep faces. They are strategically placed, typically on one side of the fairway and both sides of the greens.  Luckily, we found them fairly easy to avoid - the big greens helped.  The bunkers were well maintained with sand that was soft and fairly thick.

The rates are very reasonable and super twilight is a real bargain. Plus they have an "all inclusive" price before 1 that includes the 18 hole green fee, a cart, unlimited range balls, complimentary breakfast and lunch, and FREE space available replays.

Bottom line - Star Ranch Golf Club has it all (good conditions, fun holes, excellent layout, great conditions, and reasonable rates) and is a must play if you're anywhere near Austin.

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Course Slope & Ratings

Tee Box Yardage Rating Slope
Gold 7,017 73.2 132
Blue 6,341 70.0 120
White 5,678 67.0 114
Red 4,990 68.8 120

Course Information

Course Architect:
Roy Bechtol
Greens Type:
TIF Sport
Greens Condition
9.0
Greens Difficulty
7.5
Fairway Condition
9.0
Bunker Condition
8.5
GPS:
No
Walkable:
some hills
Scorecard
Course Map
Beware of water on 7 holes and the 68 sand traps.

Texas Outside Rating

Overall Rating:
9.1 out of 10
Beauty:
7.8
Difficulty:
7.0
Variety:
9.0
Fun to Play:
9.3
Value:
9.0
Condition:
9.0
Front Nine Rating:
8.9
Back Nine Rating:
9.3
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FEES & AMENITIES

Approximate Weekend
Rates:
$25.00 to $69.00

The 15,000-square-foot clubhouse is excellent with a well stocked pro shop and the Traditions Cafe which offers features breakfast, appetizers, salads, sandwiches, burgers and much more! Service is very friendly, the practice facilities are good.

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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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