Balcones Country Club Review

Texas Outside Rating: 7.9

Golf - Private Course · 18 Holes · Par 70
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Balcones Country Club Review

Review of Balcones Country Club Course in Austin, Texas

The private Balcones Course is part of Balcones Country Club and it was built in 1958 and has the traditional look and feel of most courses built in that era - rather straight Bermuda fairways, some side by side holes, short (4 tee boxes and yardages ranging from 4850 to 6215 yards and a par 70), and not a lot of unique or challenging holes - all of which makes for an easy, relaxing, and enjoyable round where you can typically score very well.  Balcones Country Club is a member of the Palmer Advantage which entitles members to numerous benefits including "Member for a Day Privileges" at over 100 private clubs.

The front fairways are flat, straight, and lined by trees or some houses on each side. From the tee box, you can see what you're up against and in most cases, the fairways are wide enough to let 'er rip and there are only 15 bunkers to contend with and most are guarding the greens. When we played the rough was cut very short and it was easy to recover from the rough or from under the trees.  Our favorite hole on this nine was #1 which is a 377-yard par 4 with a dogleg right around a big tree in the middle of the fairway and a small green with a bunker on the right side:

The back nine was much more interesting, more scenic, and a little harder as it meandered through the trees and homes sites - and no side by side holes. This nine has doglegs, a water hole, 11 bunkers, some fun holes, and several ups and downs. For example, hole #11 which is the #1 handicap is a 407 yard downhill par 4 with a dogleg (a good risk-reward shot if you want to try and carry the trees!) and an uphill shot to the green protected by a couple of bunkers. The back nine of Balcones Country Club also has a couple of fun par threes including the beautiful #15 which is a challenging 163 yard carry over a lake to a green that is protected on all sides - club selection is critical on this baby! 

The fairways were in average condition and just starting into the spring growing season.  Most of the fairways on the front are ample but the back fairways are much tighter with back yards that can come into play.  You can expect a lot of extra roll on the flat and firm front fairways, but that's not the cast on the back nine. 

The 26 bunkers at Balcones Country Club seemed relatively easy to avoid.  The sand was good and they were well maintained.  The lips ranged from steep to shallow and you might get lucky and roll out. 

The greens at Balcones Country Club are about average size to a tad smaller than normal and they were in good condition when we played.  They ran true but a little slow - an 8 or so.   The front nine seemed to be a little flatter, while the back nine greens had a little more slope and contour.  Expect some raised greens and a couple of false fronts. 

The Balcones Course is a good value and if you're looking for an enjoyable and relaxing round,  good club amenities, reasonable membership fees, and an active membership, then you should look into a membership. 

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Course Slope & Ratings

Tee Box Yardage Rating Slope
Blue 5,915 68.9 117
White 5,541 67.1 113
Gold 6,215 70.2 118
Red 4,850 67.8 113

Course Information

Course Architect:
Bob Cotton
Greens Type:
Greens Condition
Greens Difficulty
Fairway Condition
Bunker Condition
Very Easy
Beware of water on 1 holes and the 26 sand traps.

Texas Outside Rating

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


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

Service is good, the pro shop has all you need, and the practice facilities are more than adequate and the driving range is lighted! The Country Club includes a pool, tennis courts, and a restaurant.



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.