Review of the Hills Country Club
Just short of Lake Travis and in some of the most scenic Austin Hill Country is an exclusive gated golf community that is home to one of the best golf courses in Austin - the Hills Country Club which has two courses, the Hills Signature Course and Flintrock Falls. The Hills course was the first Austin golf course designed by Jack Nicklaus and Flintrock Falls was designed by both Jack Nicklaus and Jack Nicklaus II. Both courses are fantastic and in fact, the Dallas Morning News named the Hill Country Club in it's 2012 "Top 100 Golf Courses in Texas" - both courses also made Texas Outside's Top 25 Private Texas Golf Course list. Here is a link to our review of Flintrock Falls.
The Hills Signature Course has all of the key ingredients that we look for in a golf course. It's:
The front nine of the Hills Signature course seems like a warm up for back nine. The first few holes seem pretty easy and straightforward and the last four are excellent. #6 is a 455 downhill dog right par 5 with a creek cutting across the fairway about 100 yards out in front of green with 3 tiers and a couple bunkers guarding it. #7 is as scenic (a cascading waterfall over ferns and rocks in front of the green) as it is demanding - 184 yard par 3 that's all carry with little room for error. The #1 handicap 410 yard par 4 #8 is fantastic - a slight dog leg left along a narrow fairway and across a creek to a well guarded green. And #9 is a fun 543 yard par 5.
As good as the front is, the back is even better. It's tighter and tougher demanding accuracy on every shot, it's fun and scenic with cascading waterfalls, and every hole is unique and different. On this nine you'll encounter tight twisting fairways, uphill and downhill shots, risk reward opportunities, pull out the big dog and go for the green shots, challenging raised and guarded greens, some steep and deep bunkers, dog legs, and more.
When we played the Hills Signature Course, the fairways were in near perfect condition - lush and plush and few divots. The roughs varied from thin and playable to thick and tough. The tree lined fairways range from ample landing zones to tight and narrow with trouble left, right, and long if you overshoot it.
The greens range in size and shape but most are about average size and all are well guarded with bunkers front, left, right, and hidden off the back. Some raised preventing a bump and run. They were soft and held the ball well, ran true, and at a good speed. They ranged from mild to little slope and undulation and some had one to three tiers. The Hills Signature Course greens seemed easy to read but something caused us to have quite a few three putts!
The bunkers at the Hills course were also perfect - thick, soft, fluffy sand. But practice you sand shots before you head out because they are big, numerous, and some are steep and deep.
Bottom line - near perfect conditions, scenic, fair but very demanding holes, fun and unique holes.
Initiation Fees: $25,001 to $40,000
Monthly Dues: $601 to $800
Service is very good, the clubhouse is spectacular, the food we tried at the outside grill was good, and the practice facilities are very very good.
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.