Texas Outside's Review & Raging of Lakeside Golf Club in Spicewood
Designed by Arnold Palmer, Lakecliff Golf Club opened as a private golf course in 2001. The course changed hands in 2019 and the new owners have done a remarkable job in improving the course conditions and helping the course recover from conditions which had deteriorated. When we played in March 2020 was very playable and we were impressed with the conditions which we thought were very good from the tee box to the cup, except for the bunkers and considering that the course was still transitioning from winter conditions. The new owners are homeowners in Lakecliff and seemed committed to making Lakecliff a premier Hill Country golf course. A new golf superentendent and head pro have also been hired. Lakecliff has also just moved from private to semi-private, opening the course for public play.
Arnold Palmer did an excellent job in designing a layout that leveraged the natural terrain and created a scenic and fun course to play. In fact, from my perspective, Lakeside Golf Club in Spicewood has a little bit of everything that makes me continue to play this expensive and frustrating game. Some of the reasons we love this course and rated Lakecliff a 9.2 include:
Both nines are a pleasure to play (we liked the front a little more than the back thanks to the variety and uniqueness of some of the holes) and the back nine is a par 35 with 3 par 3s, 2 par 5s, and 4 par 4s. Some of the holes that we really liked included:
The bent grass greens at Lakecliff are excellent – soft and smooth and velvet-like, fast (around 10 or so), hold the ball well, and run true. Relatively speaking, they are flat to gently sloping with minor to no undulation. They are a wide variety of shapes and range in size from average to a tad small. All are guarded by some combination of bunkers, water, and mounds.
The fairways were also in very good condition with a few weeds popping up which is expected after the course sat unattended for a long period of time. The fairways are ample off the tee box and then range from wide open to a little tight. The fairways have a fair mix of strategically placed bunkers, mounding, and undulation that can cause uneven lies, some minor ups and downs, a good mix of dogs left and right, and some hazards (trees, creeks, ponds, ravines) that force you to deploy some good course management skills. The rough was wide and ranged from very playable to a tad thick. Miss the rough and you’re under the trees or in the native and thicker grass.
The bunkers at Lakecliff Golf Club range from small steep and deep pot bunkers to some huge multi-fingered monsters. Most of the faces are manageable but you’re not going to roll out. The sand was thin and gritty and heavy which may have been due to recent rains. Work on the bunkers was started in 2016 and they are currently working to regrade and edge all of the bunkers on the course in the fall and winter of 2016.
Rates: $50.00 to $90.00
Service is very good and very friendly. The pro shop has a limited supply of gear, mostly clothes. The bar and grill are good and the patio overlooks the lake and green of beautiful 9th hole. Practice facilities are excellent – good putting greens, a driving range, short game area and a state of the art teaching center with 6 of the 100 top US instructors.
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.