Riverside Golf Course - Austin Review

Texas Outside Rating: 7.7

Golf - Public Course · 18 Holes · Par 72
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Riverside Golf Course - Austin Review

Review & Rating of Riverside Golf Course In Austin

Riverside Golf Course was built in the 40's and was one of the first courses in Austin and it was home to golf legends Ben Crenshaw and Tom Kite.  Like most older courses, Riverside is very traditional and straightforward and short by todays standards.  The terrain is gently rolling and the course meanders through some stately oaks, pecans, and maples some of which are up to 400 years old!

In 2015, Austin Community College took over the operations and maintenance of Riverside Golf Course.  Prior to the takeover, the course conditions were pretty bad and the new team has done an excellent job in improving the course conditions.  See the head pro's comments below.

Riverside Golf Course has three sets of tee boxes with yardages of 6349 (6229 if you play the first hole as a par three instead of a par 4), 5744, and 4877 yards.  From the majority of the tee boxes you can usually see the flag and what you're up against, but beware there are some bunkers you can't see.  During your round you'll need to avoid the 45 bunkers, manage the 6 doglegs and some minor elevation changes, and carry a couple of gullies - some of which have water.   The small greens, most of which are raised and all but one of which are guarded by 1 to 3 bunkers, put a premium on your approach shots.

The Riverside Golf course fairways are ample (bring out the big dog and let it rip!) and if you miss them, you'll have a recovery shot back to the fairway from under the trees.  There are no homes or back yards to worry about but watch out for some sloping fairways (#7 in particular) which can take your ball under the towering trees.  The fairways are thin and firm meaning lots of extra roll to manage.  The back nine fairways seemed to be in much better condition than the front nine.

The Riverside greens are relatively flat with minor to no slope or undulation.  They are smaller than normal and a variety of shapes.  All but one are guarded by one to three bunkers, some of which are hidden.  The greens were soft, held the ball well, and ran true and a good speed of around 9 or so. 

The bunkers are all shapes and sizes with firm thin sand, most of which was replaced when Austin Community College took over maintenance.  The majority of the bunkers are guarding the greens but on the back nine watch out for nine fairway bunkers.  The good news is the lips are not that tall and you may get lucky and roll out.

The front nine is very straightforward and gives you an opportunity to turn in a good score.  This nine has one par 5, 3 par 3s (if you play #1 as a par 3), and 5 par 4s.  Some of the holes we liked included:

  • #1 plays as a 335-yard par four or a 205-yard par 3 from the tips with an uphill shot to the green
  • #2 is a short, but tricky, 313-yard par 4 with an elevated tee shot, a tree that can block your shot to the green, and a dog left over a creek leading to the green
  • #8 is a fun 431-yard par 4 with a sharp dogleg right leading to a raised green with a big left side bunker

The back nine of Riverside Golf Course seemed to have a little more character, was a tad harder, a little more interesting, and in better condition.  The back is a par 37 with two par 3's, three easy par 5s, and a couple driveable par 4's.  This  nine has a great par 5 - #13  has a wide open fairway, a dogleg left around a dry pond at 70 yards in front of a raised green (with lots of undulation and slope) surrounded by swales and mounds.  #18 is a good finishing hole with a slight dogleg right, lots of deer snickering at your shot, and a green with a false front and big left and right side bunkers.

Bottom line - great service, reasonable rates, improving conditions, and an opportunity for all skill levels to have a fun and enjoyable round.

Head Pro's Corner

In September of 2015, Austin Community College took over the daily operations and maintenance of the Riverside Golf Course.  Since then, we have been working hard to get the course back into the conditions players were used to seeing.  We have removed more than 200 dead trees from the property, upgraded all of the maintenance equipment and irrigation system, and slowly improved the overall health of the putting surfaces.  We also now have hitting nets and mats for players to warm up before their round.  Additional work to come includes the leveling of tee boxes and bunker improvement.

Michael Travis - Riverside Golf Club Head Pro

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Course Slope & Ratings

Tee Box Yardage Rating Slope
Blue 6,359 69.0 123
White 5,744 67.2 113
Red 4,877 63.1 105

Course Information

Greens Condition
Greens Difficulty
Beware of water on 3 holes and the 45 sand traps.

Texas Outside Rating

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


Approximate Weekend
$28.00 to $47.00

Service is very friendly. The pro shop has the basics and the grill is good, but both were closed due to COVID-19. There is a putting green, a driving mat, and a short hole.



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.