Horseshoe Bay Resort - Summit Rock Golf Club Review

Texas Outside Rating: 9.4

Golf - Private Course · 18 Holes · Par 72
Horseshoe Bay
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Horseshoe Bay Resort - Summit Rock Golf Club Review

Review & Rating of Horseshoe Bay Resort's Summit Rock Golf Club

Jack Nicklaus has done it again - he's designed a fantastic par 72 signature course that is fun, scenic, and demanding but fair.  He designed the 200-acre Summit Rock Golf Club to leverage the existing rolling Hill Country terrain just west of Marble Falls.  Jack makes you think your way around Summit Rock with elevation changes, dog legs, sloping and rolling fairways, natural areas to carry, and wind - all of which put a premium on course management and club selection.   With 5 tee boxes and yardages ranging from 4967 to 7258 yards, you don't want to bite off more than you can chew until you become very comfortable with the course. 

Part of what makes this course both unique and challenging is that it contains a lower level playing area, holes 1 and 2 and 13 through 18, that is framed by oak trees and an upper playing section (holes 3 through 12) that plays up and along a ridge offering impressive panoramic 30 mile views of the rolling Hill Country and Lake LBJ.  During your round, you'll play through grazing deer and a variety of vegetation, past creeks, streams, and ravines, and up and down the rolling terrain.  The course has not yet been rated, so slope and rating are not available.  A spectacular layout that's a joy to play and it's well deserving of all the awards and accolades, some of which include:

  • Top 100 Residential Courses in America, #52, Golfweek, 2016
  • Top 100 overall courses in Texas (#21) – Dallas Morning News, 2015
  • Best in State (#13) - Golf Digest 2015-2016
  • Best Golf Club - Avid Golfer Magazine, 2014
  • Best New Course in America - Golf Digest, 2012
  • Top 100 overall courses in Texas (#20) - Dallas Morning News, 2014

Some of what makes Summit Rock Golf Club fun, demanding, and unique include:

  • bent grass greens that are perfect but have a challenging mix of tiers, slope, ridges, bowls, and more that put a premium on putting
  • a good mix of traditional holes with little to no trouble to some holes that will throw a lot at you
  • lots of ups and downs with a good mix of dramatically elevated tee boxes and significant uphill and some downhill shots to the greens
  • fairways that range from wide-open let-er-rip to some tight twisting tree-lined fairways where if you spray the ball, you're gone
  • some great risk-reward opportunities to try and go for the green - but if you miss par may be tough

Jack has also created some very fun holes at Summit Rock Golf Club, some of which include:

  • #1, a 407-yard par 4 with a forced carry to a big landing zone with 7 bunkers on the left followed by  a natural area that cuts across the fairway
  • #7 is a short 323-yard par 4 with an elevated tee shot and an opportunity to go for the uphill green - but watch out for the 2 big fairway bunkers and split fairway
  • #10 is an outstanding 469-yard slight dog leg right with 9 pot to huge bunkers on the right side and 2 more plus a cluster of trees that split the fairway and can block the approach shot to the green
  • #17 is a fun 441 par 4 with water along the left side and some monster bunkers to contend with

When we played in August, the fairways were in perfect condition - well-manicured, lush, and plush.  All of the fairways are rolling and contoured and you'll need to manage the slope if you want to score well.  The rough was wide and playable, but miss it and you're most likely lost in the natural area.  The hillsides are dotted with some big beautiful homes.

The Summit Rock Golf Club bent grass greens were also in perfect condition - smooth as velvet, true, and fast.  Most of the greens are huge, raised, and guarded.  Slope, undulation, tiers, bowls, and more demand careful study or you'll be three-putting!

The bunkers range from small pot bunkers that are steep and deep to some huge monsters with big faces.  The good news is the sand is perfect - soft, thick, and fluffy.

The first time you play Summit Rock Golf Club, forecaddies are required and you'll find that you're glad to have them along with you.  They'll help you manage the wind and elevation changes, the slope and undulation of the fairways, and read the challenging greens. 

Summit Rock offers something that we have never experienced on any of the courses that we have played - Comfort Stations on holes 4 and 13.  But these are not your normal comfort stations, the Summit Rock Comfort Stations are air-conditioned and designed with historically authentic cedar, stone and terra cotta materials creating a harmonious blend with the Hill Country landscape.  But what's inside is really unique:

  • a well done and spotless men's and women's restroom with all the amenities
  • nonalcoholic beverages including tea and lemonade and a variety of nuts, breakfast bars, and candy bars plus fresh baked cookies
  • fresh fruit, chips, hard-boiled eggs, delicious chicken and tuna salad, and more
  • ice cream and self serve frozen yogurt station with all the fixings including fudge/butterscotch sauces, nuts, crushed M&Ms, and fresh fruit

And it's all free!  What a great amenity and I found it hard to leave and get back to the course and 100-degree weather, but I reluctantly waddled back to my cart stuffed with lots of goodies.  I couldn't wait until the 13th hole Comfort Station to cool off and restock on the snacks and devour some more of the delicious chicken salad.  

Hole2 Hole9 Hole12

Course Slope & Ratings

Tee Box Yardage Rating Slope
Black 7,258
Blue 6,526
White 6,009
Gold 6,858
Red 4,967

Course Information

Course Architect:
Jack Nicklaus
Greens Type:
Greens Condition
Greens Difficulty
Fairway Condition
Bunker Condition
Course Map
Beware of water on 8 holes and the 60 sand traps.

Texas Outside Rating

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


Initiation Fees: $85,001 to $100,000
Monthly Dues: $601 to $800

Service is some of the best we have experienced in Texas from the guys at the bag drop to the guy offering a cold towel at the end of your round. The practice facilities are adequate.



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. 


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