Lago Vista Golf Course Review

Texas Outside Rating: 9.0

Golf - Public Course · 18 Holes · Par 72
Lago Vista
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Lago Vista Golf Course Review

Review of Lago Vista Golf Course - Lago Vista

Sitting peacefully on the North Shore of Lake Travis is a fantastic golf course that offers scenic views, plenty of elevation changes, excellent conditions, lots of variety, and some really fun holes, all at a great value.  Lago Vista Golf Club which is owned and operated by the City of Lago Vista was designed by Leon Howard and opened for play as a nine-hole course in 1971.  Shortly after opening, another nine holes was added.  

What a fun course Lago Vista Golf Course is to play - every hole is a little different than the one you just played, the views are stunning, the deer seem to own the course, the elevation changes add some excitement, and the course will throw a little bit of everything at you.  You'll encounter dog legs, bunkers, meandering creeks, significant uphill and downhill shots, blind shots, some terraced and sloping tight fairways, risk-reward opportunities, lots of grazing deer that have little fear of getting hit, and some challenging green complexes.  To score well here you need some strategic shot making and excellent course management skills.

Also what makes Lago Vista Golf Course fun is that each nine has its own unique personality.  The front nine is relatively open and compared to the back much flatter and tamer.  While the back nine fairways are much tighter, the elevation changes more dramatic, and there is more emphasis on shot making.  The greens on the back also seemed a little bigger but more difficult. 

Some of our favorite holes include:

  • #2 is the #2 handicap and it's a beauty - 562 yards with a risk-reward shot off an elevated tee box, a dog leg right, a valley to cross, and an uphill shot to the green
  • #9 is a blast - check out the layout before you tee off - it's a short 376 yard blind tee shot down a 4 level terraced fairway (each of which has a big downhill drop) to a small green with some severe slope - big hitters can risk flying the trees and trying to stuff it on or close to the green
  • accuracy is needed from tee to cup on #10 which is a 502 yard par 5 with a tight fairway with a creek along the right side, trees lining the left side, and a fairway with severe sloping left to right plus a huge sprawling oak tree that can block the shot to the green which has 3 bunkers guarding it
  • #13 has an uphill blind shot and a cluster of trees splitting the fairway and #14 is only 294 yards but it's uphill, has 3 bunkers, and trees on the left and right that can block your tee shot or second shot
  • #16 is a "Kodak Moment" and a fun hole - beautiful view of Lake Travis and the surrounding countryside from an elevated tee box and a 367 yard downhill shot to the green along a fairly tight fairway

When we played in February 2019 the conditions weren't the best.  Apparently, the City had mismanaged the course and the conditions had significantly deteriorated prior to 2018.  The greens had some damage and the fairways were rough.  The good news is that the City brought in a new general manager in 2018 and has committed to additional funding - and as such the course is in much better playing condition than it was and it is continuing to improve.

The Lago Vista Golf Course fairways range from tight to "let-er-rip", are heavily contoured and rolling with some huge elevation changes, and they are tree lined or lined by homes or creeks, all of which will cause you to reload if you spray the ball off the tee box.  The deer are everywhere and they don't like getting hit and don't understand "fore."  The roughs range from small to fairly wide and with thin grass to dirt and weeds,  Keep in mind that we also played in February when the course was dormant and seeded with winter rye.

The greens at Lago Vista range in size from small to a little above average.  The back nine greens seemed a little tougher with more slope and contour - some had a severe bowl type slope on one side.  Some are raised and 9 have two bunkers guarding them.  Minor slope and undulation require some study.  They were soft and held the ball well but were a little slow - maybe an 8 or so.

The Lago Vista bunkers were in great shape with somewhat soft and thick sand.  The faces ranged from manageable to steep.  The good news is that they seemed easy to avoid. 

Bottom line - go out of your way to play this course and enjoy the scenic drive from Austin to get to it! The pictures in this review were taken on a previous visit during the summer.

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Course Slope & Ratings

Tee Box Yardage Rating Slope
Blue 6,170 70.8 129
White 5,807 69.0 124
Gold 6,544 72.6 134
Red 5,187 69.8 117

Course Information

Course Architect:
Leon Howard
Greens Type:
TIF Dwart
Greens Condition
Greens Difficulty
Fairway Condition
Bunker Condition
Beware of water on 4 holes and the 22 sand traps.

Texas Outside Rating

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


Approximate Weekend
$25.00 to $43.00

Service is friendly, the pro shop has the basics, the clubhouse has a full menu and some good fun, and 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.