Grey Rock Golf Club Review

Texas Outside Rating: 8.4

Golf - Public Course · 18 Holes · Par 72
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Grey Rock Golf Club Review

Review of Grey Rock Golf Club

Grey Rock Golf Club, previously known as Circle C is an outstanding course about 15 minutes from downtown Austin. It is well deserving of the following accolades: "Best Places to Play" (2004) by Golf Digest and "Top Public Golf Courses in Texas" (2001) from Texas Golfer Magazine.  The course was designed by Jay Morrish and is defined by fairways lined by majestic oak trees, white sand bunkers, and several dog legs.  Grey Rock is fair but demanding from any of the four tee boxes, the fairways are ample, and the approach shots can be be challenging but if you play smart and do whatever it takes to stay out of the trees and bunkers you'll have an enjoyable round.  The front seemed a little easier and the back is fun and has more character and interesting holes.

Most of the holes are fairly straightforward and traditional and you can see the pin and what you're up against from the tee box.  On several of the dog legs there are some very tempting risk reward opportunities where you'll be tempted to try and fly the trees to shorten the hole. There are also some short par 4 holes like #9 at 317 yards and #15 at 323 yards where you long hitters may try to go for the green - but miss and par may be impossible.  In most cases, it's smarter to lay up, avoid the bunkers, and have an easier approach for a par or birdie. The four par 3's are outstanding but challenging thanks to hazards (trees, water, or bunkers), length (187 to 206 yards from the tips), and challenging green complexes.

Some of our favorite holes included:

  • #5 is a fun 380 yard par 4 with three huge fairway bunkers in your landing zone and a dog leg left to a green with two more nasty bunkers 
  • #9 is only 317 yards and will temp you to go for the green but if you do, you need to avoid the 5 bunkers and putt well because the green has a lot of movement
  • the par 3 168 yard #13 is fantastic and demands a precise shot - short is trouble with water and left or long will be in a deep bunker
  • #14 is a demanding dog leg right 591 yard par 5 with bunkers on the left and middle of the tee shot landing zone and an elevated green with two more big bunkers

The greens at Grey Rock Golf Club are a variety of shapes and sizes and can be challenging thanks to slope, spines, and false fronts and most are well guarded by pot to huge bunkers, putting a premium on your approach shots.  When we played the greens were still in transition from winter to summer conditions and were a little slow and bumpy.  They run very true and the breaks seemed easy to read.  During the summer they should be in great shape.

The fairways are ample but if you spray it, you'll be lost in the trees and natural area.  They were in very good condition for April.  Most are flat with some gentle contour and mounding.  You'll find a few homes set way back off the fairway on a couple holes.  During your round you'll enjoy the peace and quiet and likely see plenty of wildlife.

The bunkers at Grey Rock Golf Course have all been redone and they are still settling in, but they are fantastic - thick soft white sand that's a joy to hit out of.  I know because it seems I found several of them and took a lot of sand home in the shoes and hair!  The bunkers range is shape and size - small steep and deep pot bunkers to some huge monsters that may keep you in them for a couple shots.  They are strategically placed and you need to plan your shots to avoid them if you want to walk in the clubhouse and not have to pay for the drinks.

Bottom line - play smart, avoid the bunkers, and carefully study the risk reward opportunities before you you decide to go for it and you'll find the course challenging but fair and fun to play.

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Course Slope & Ratings

Tee Box Yardage Rating Slope
Blue 6,378 71.1 126
White 5,732 68.1 123
Gold 6,909 73.6 131
Red 5,215 69.8 120

Course Information

Course Architect:
Jay Morrish
Greens Condition
Greens Difficulty
Fairway Condition
Bunker Condition
Beware of water on 4 holes and the 58 sand traps.

Texas Outside Rating

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


Approximate Weekend
$45.00 to $100.00

Service was excellent, the proshop was well stocked, and the practice facilities are good. The pace of play is great and typically around 4 hours. The clubhouse is stunning and the grill and bar area are very good. The course is currently (April 2014) in the process of being sold to the City of Austin - we hope that they will keep it as a high end course.



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.