Jimmy Clay Golf Course Review

Texas Outside Rating: 8.6

Golf - Public Course · 18 Holes · Par 72
Website · Locate This Course

Dsc_0430 Dsc_0434 Dsc_0455

Jimmy Clay Golf Course Review

Review & Rating of Jimmy Clay Golf Course in Austin Texas

Jimmy Clay Golf Course is part of a 36 hole golf complex in southeast Austin that is owned and operated by the City of Austin.  Jimmy Clay is a typical parkland style course with tree lined fairways and Roy Kizer Golf Course, which shares a clubhouse, pro shop, and grill with Jimmy Clay is a links style layout with 35 acres of lakes and 22 acres of wetlands spread out over 200 acres and it's a couple strokes easier and a tad shorter than Jimmy Clay.  Click on the link to read our review of Rory Kizer which we rated 8.8 out of 10.

Jimmy Clay was designed by Joe Finger and opened for play in 1974.  The course was renovated in 2007 and again in 2015.  Austin Parks and Recreation Department closed down the course in 2015 and they cored out the greens and replanted them with Tif Dwarf and added a new drainage system, moved and deleted some bunkers, reshaped a couple of greens, and changed a couple green complexes to make them a little more playable. 

Jimmy Clay plays through the trees with a creek along one side of several holes and the tight fairways, dog legs, elevation changes, and raised greens make dogleg 18 holes a shot makers course.  On several holes you need to leave the driver in the bag, on others you can let it rip, and on some holes you ball positioning is critical to give you a shot at the green.  And you'll need to manage some tight fairways, avoid the trees, and stay out of the bunkers, the majority of which guard the greens.

Some of the holes that we really liked included:

  • #1 is a 408 par 4 that boomerangs left around some trees and a pond and it's easy to overshoot the fairway off the tee box - for long brave hitters there is a slot through the trees and over the lake which will give you a chip shot to the green but it's a high-risk shot
  • #6 is only 316 yards but if your drive is long you'll be in a pond that you can't see from the tee box and if you're too far left or right you'll have a tough to impossible shot to a green with water around 85% of it
  • #10 is fun - it's a 519-yard par 5 with a dog leg left around a small pond and an approach shot to a significantly raised green (30 yards or so tall) that is guarded by trees on the left and right which form a narrow slot to the thread to get to the green
  • #18 is a great finishing hole - a slightly elevated tee shot to a very tight tree lined fairway that turns right leading to a raised green with a pond on the left and right side plus a bunker on the right side

The greens at Jimmy Clay are a variety of shapes and sizes with most being large.  Some are raised and most are guarded by one or two bunkers.  You'll find some slope (nothing significant) and a little bit of contour that requires some study.  When we played the greens were in very good condition.  They ran true and smooth, but a little slow at around 8 or so. 

All but four of the bunkers are guarding the greens and for some strange reason we didn't have much trouble avoiding them.  The sand is excellent - soft, light, and deep - and the bunker faces range from a few inches to fairly steep.  In some cases, you might get lucky and roll out. 

The fairways were firm, dry, and patchy with spots of dirt.  Some were still recovering from recent flood damage - but they were very playable and I loved the extra roll!  The fairways range from very tight to ample and all are tree-lined - no homes, barking dogs, or yards to worry about.  The rough is cut thin and very playable. Best of all, on most of the holes, there is no scrub brush under the trees which means you can usually find your ball and hit a low shot back to the fairway. 

Good rates, fun holes, and pretty good conditions make this a course you should play.

Dsc_0457 Dsc_0441 Dsc_0445

Course Slope & Ratings

Tee Box Yardage Rating Slope
Blue 6,445 71.8 124
White 5,900 69.1 119
Gold 6,931 73.8 126
Red 5,209 69.8 119

Course Information

Course Architect:
Joe Finger
Greens Type:
TIF Dwarf
Greens Condition
Greens Difficulty
Fairway Condition
Bunker Condition
Beware of water on 7 holes and the 29 sand traps.

Texas Outside Rating

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


Approximate Weekend
$33.00 to $47.00

Service is good and very friendly. When we played on a Friday there was no cart service. The pro shop has the basics and the grill has sandwiches, dogs, and more. Practice facilites are 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! 
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.