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Barton Creek - Fazio Canyons Course Review

Texas Outside Rating: 9.1

Golf - Resort Private Course · 18 Holes · Par 72
Austin
Website · Locate This Course
· Stay & Play
Date Last Played: May 16, 2016

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Barton Creek - Fazio Canyons Course Review

Review & Rating of Barton Creek's Fazio Canyons Golf Course in Austin

Barton Creek sets the standard for excellence in resort amenities, service, and golf courses in Texas with four excellent golf courses. The two Fazio designed courses - Fazio Canyons and Fazio Foothills - are consistently rated as two of the best courses in Texas. Golf World ranked Barton Creek the #1 Golf Resort in Texas.  Golf Digest and Golf Magazine rate Fazio Foothills and Fazio Canyons among the best in the United States. Golf Magazine listed both Fazio courses as the only two Texas courses in its "Top 100 You Can Play" and also as #1 and #2 in its "Best Public Courses in Texas"   To learn more about Fazio Foothills, read our  review of Fazio Foothills.

Both courses are a tribute to the game of golf and to the rugged beauty of the Austin Hill Country. The Canyons course in particular leverages the scenic beauty of the Hill Country as it winds through the canyon and up and down some beautiful hills and around a wildlife sanctuary - so it's just you and nature and that elusive par. The rugged terrain provides some elevated tee boxes and greens, plenty of natural hazards, and scenic beauty. The limestone-rock hillsides feature prickly-pear cacti, aged pink-skinned Madrone trees, Spanish oaks, red oaks, junipers and sycamore trees on the 210 acres.  Short Springs Branch, a beautiful limestone bed creek with several cascading waterfalls  meanders throughout the course and awaits stray balls.

The Canyons course is one of the best maintained and manicured courses in Texas. Each time we have played Fazio Canyons the course the greens, fairways, and tee boxes have been in very good condition, the rough has been perfectly trimmed, the bunkers are in great condition, and the colorful  landscaping is very well maintained. 

From the tips, Fazio Canyons will give your game a good test - with a slope of 144 and a rating of 74.4 you'll need your "A" game to score well.  You might consider moving up a tee box or two - you'll enjoy the course more and have a much more relaxing and memorable round.   The front nine has more of a resort feel to it and is more traditional and straightforward and a little easier.  The fairways are ample and the greens are large and flat to gently sloping.  

That's not to say the front is a walk in the park - tee shots are critical, bunkers can cause problems, and approach shots need to be accurate.  You'll encounter some elevation changes, thick rough, uphill shots, risk reward opportunities, and some very good holes, like:

  • #5 a very scenic 596 yard par five with a drive from an elevated tee box to a landing zone guarded by two large bunkers and a sharp dog leg left to a well protected (7 bunkers within a 100 yards of the green) two tier green
  • #7 is a fantastic 543 yard  par 5 with an extreme downhill shot with a creek and ravine cutting across the fairway requiring long hitters to keep the driver in the bag and an uphill climb to an elevated green protected by 4 more treacherous bunkers - club selection and accuracy are critical to par this beauty
  • #9 is the #1 handicap and a very scenic and long (457 yard) uphill par 4 with a cascading creek running the length of the fairway

The front gets you warmed up and is one of the best nines and Texas and well deserving of all that accolades that Fazio Canyons has received over the years.  You'll encounter stunning Hill Country scenery including some huge mansions tucked into the hillsides, cascading creeks, dramatic elevation changes, some risk reward opportunities, ravines, forced carries, and some very fun and challenging holes. 

Every hole on the back nine is unique and different, fun to play, and throws something at you to keep you on your game.  For example,

  • #10 kicks it off with a 442 yard sharp dog leg right that offers a really good risk reward opportunity if you want to try and fly the trees or huge heart shaped bunker to make the hole shorter and give you an easier approach shot over a creek with several waterfalls to a well protected green - the rest of us can try to avoid the bunker and creek by taking the longer but safer approach up the left side of the fairway
  • #14 is a fun "z" fairway from an elevated tee box and uphill to a green requiring an accurate approach to avoid the bunkers on the right side of the green
  • #18 is one of the best finishing holes in Texas - a 561 yard big downhiller off the tee box with three huge fairway bunkers, and a creek that cuts across the fairway twice

What makes this course very fun and enjoyable is the scenic beauty and serenity; variety with no two holes playing or looking the same as the previous hole; immaculate conditions; limited amount of play; and the challenge - all-in-all a near perfect place to play golf. The Canyons offers a very intriguing layout with lots of character and personality. You'll start to feel lonely as you get into your round - its quiet and peaceful. No holes are side-by-side and no homes line the fairways - there are some huge, and I mean huge, homes on some of the hillsides.

You do need to play with a member or be a guest of the resort to play the course. It's pricey, but who cares, you only live once so add The Fazio Canyons to your list of must plays. Barton Creek has an excellent stay and play package which is the best way to enjoy the resort and some excellent golf - check it out and call and make a reservation.

Accuracy is critical off the tee box, the fairways are ample but the rough is thick and if you miss it you'll need to reload.  When we played the rolling and sloping fairways, greens, and bunkers were in very good condition. 

The bunkers are fairly typical for a Fazio design - large, all shapes and sizes, and steep faced.  And most of them are guarding the greens.  When played in May, they were washed out and not playable thanks to a huge storm the day before.  Normally they are perfect with soft thick sand.

The Fazio Canyon greens are large (29 to 50 yards deep with most with 11 over 41 yards and more deep) and much tougher on the back nine thanks for some severe slope, more undulation, and some tiers.  They are very true, held well, and were pretty fast - about a 10 on the Stimpmeter. A few had some damage around the fringe but it didn't impact the putting.

Fazio Canyons has an excellent practice facility and is also home to the Barton Creek Golf Academy.

Bottom line - this is a must play course but is only available for play for members and Barton Creek Resort guests.  The Resort does have a variety of very good Stay & Play options. 

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Course Slope & Ratings

Tee Box Yardage Rating Slope
Black 7,153 74.4 144
Gold 6,745 74.0 142
Blue 6,405 72.5 139
White 6,002 70.2 132
Red 5,098 71.1 125

Course Information

Course Architect:
Tom Fazio
Greens Type:
Bermuda
Greens Condition
9.2
Greens Difficulty
8.5
Fairway Condition
9.2
Bunker Condition
9.2
GPS:
No
Walkable:
Hilly
Scorecard
Beware of water on 8 holes and the 43 sand traps.

Texas Outside Rating

Overall Rating:
9.1 out of 10
Beauty:
9.8
Difficulty:
8.5
Variety:
9.5
Fun to Play:
10.0
Value:
8.2
Condition:
9.2
Front Nine Rating:
9.0
Back Nine Rating:
9.4
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FEES & AMENITIES

Initiation Fees: $40,001 to $55,000
Monthly Dues: $401 to $600

The Barton Creek Canyons course is a few miles from the main resort and it has a small temporary pro shop with limited equipment and no bar or restaurant. There is a small snack bar at the turn, and a fantastic practice and driving range. Service is excellent and very friendly.

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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.