Barton Creek's Palmer Lakeside Golf Course Spicewood
With four outstanding golf courses, Barton Creek is considered one of the premier golf resorts in Texas. The four courses are designed by some of the best – Tom Fazio, Arnold Palmer, and Ben Crenshaw. Common to all four courses are excellent conditions, superb layouts offering golfers lots of variety and plenty of challenges, and spectacular vistas as the courses meander through the natural beauty of the Texas Hill Country. Click on the link to read the reviews of Fazio Foothills, Crenshaw Cliffside, and Fazio Canyons.
The Lakeside course is about 30 minutes from the resort and sits on a hillside above Lake Travis offering majestic views of the lake, golf course, community, and surrounding hill country. The Lakeside course winds it’s way through some huge beautiful homes of the exclusive gated Barton Creek Lakeside community. Lakeside is a little easier than any of the other Barton Creek courses and a little tougher than the Crenshaw 18.
The Arnold Palmer designed Lakeside front nine is characterized by deep, brushy, and intimidating ravines that will come into play on holes 5 through 8. On each of these holes you'll need to carry the ravine off the tee box or somewhere along the way to the green - study the yardage guide to manage the ravines. If you can't carry the ravine and land in one of these deep crevices, your ball is gone and your score will escalate. In addition to the ravines, you'll need to contend with water, soft sand bunkers, and some tight approaches - regardless of all that, this is a fun and fair nine and with good course management you can score well.
The front nine is very good but the back nine is awesome with lots of variety, fabulous scenery, excellent conditions, plenty of challenges, and a blast to play. For the first 7 holes on the back nine, after we finished each hole we said, “wow, that was another great hole!” This nine is a par 35 with 3 par threes that are some of the best in Texas offering scenic beauty, challenges, and good variety. Number 11, which is the signature hole requires a shot across the water to a green protected with 6 bunkers on the right, a rock creek in the back and along the left side leading to the pond, and a beautiful huge rock waterfall and home behind the green. The Dallas Morning News ranks #11 among the “18 Most Beautiful in Texas” - it also made our list of the Most Scenic Golf Holes in Texas. The Barton Creek website has a great course tour.
When we played in late September the course was in near perfect condition despite the drought. The Bermuda fairways and the roughs are well maintained and manicured. Most of the fairways are ample off the tee box but water and ravines can cause a real problem.
The bunkers were in excellent condition with soft fluffy sand. They range in size from small steep pot bunkers to some huge multi-fingered monsters. Most are guarding the green and others are strategically placed in the fairways.
The Palmer Lakeside Champion Bermuda greens were in great condition, smooth, and a tad fast around 11. Most of the greens have some slope but with some study you should be able to see and read the breaks. They are large, soft, run true, and hold the ball well.
Service is first class from the time they bring you the cart to the sad moment when they load your clubs back in the car. The club house is phenomenal – a bar and grill, formal restaurant and dining room with panoramic views, a well stocked pro shop, fantastic men’s and women’s locker rooms, a spa, fitness center, and pool. As you dine or sit on the deck sipping a cold one, the views of Lake Travis, the course, the beautiful homes, and the surrounding hill country are unequaled.
The good news, bad news is that you have to be a member or stay at Barton Creek Resort to play any of the four courses – so treat yourself to a stay at the resort and enjoy these must play courses. All the Barton Creek courses are pricey but, hey, life is short so treat yourself to some outstanding golf.
Initiation Fees: $10,001 to $25,000
Monthly Dues: $401 to $600
Service is excellent and the club house, restaurant, pro shop, and locker rooms are first class.
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!
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.