Review of Riverside Golf Course
Riverside Golf Course was built in the 40's and was one of the first courses in Austin and 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.
There are three sets of tee boxes with yardages of 6349 (6219 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. There isn't a lot to cause you trouble - 10 fairway bunkers, 7 dog legs, some elevated tee boxes, and a couple ravines that might have water in them that you need to cross on the approach to the green. But what makes this 18 a tad challenging are the small greens, the majority of which are elevated and guarded by bunkers. To score well you'll need to really be accurate on your approach shots.
The fairways are ample and if you miss them, you'll have a recovery shot back to the fairway from under the trees. There are no homes and back yards to worry about. Watch out for #7 a 387 yard par 4 with a dog leg left and a sloping right fairway - with dry conditions you may get to watch your ball roll off the fairway and right under the trees making par difficult. When we played in May, the course was still transitioning from winter to summer conditions and it was starting to green up but most of the fairways were still pretty rough with some weeds and bare spots.
The greens were also transitioning from a bad winter and all of them had damage and some very rough spots. Generally speaking, the greens are relatively flat with minor to no slope or undulation. They are smaller than normal and a variety of shapes. All but five are guarded by at least two fairly large bunkers. Since the majority of them are elevated, a bump and run is tough and since they are small you may find it hard to get the ball to hold. The good news is that they roll true and are easy to read.
The bunkers are all shapes and sizes with thin lips and firm gritty sand. Most of the bunkers are guarding the greens but on the back nine five holes have some fairway bunkers.
The front nine is very straightforward and gives you an opportunity to turn in a good score. Beware of the two gullies, which were dry when we played, the dog leg on #8 that requires a good tee shot to make the turn, and the sloping fairway on #7. The first hole plays as a 335 yard par four or a 205 yard par 3 from the tips. Otherwise the front is a par 34 with 3 par 3s, a 493 yard par 5, and some easy par fours.
The back nine seemed to have a little more character, a tad harder, and was a little more interesting. 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 - a dog left 488 yarder with a small marsh on the left and no bunkers but some swales and depressions around the green.
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
Rates: $15.00 to $39.00
Service is good, the facilities are dated, and the practice facilites are ok. The pro shop has the basics and the Tin Cup Grill has some pretty good grub.
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.