Riverside Golf Course - Austin Review

Texas Outside Rating: 7.3

Golf - Public Course · 18 Holes · Par 71
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Riverside Golf Course - Austin Review

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.

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 6,349 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:
7.3 out of 10
Fun to Play:
Front Nine Rating:
Back Nine Rating:


Approximate Weekend
$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! 
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. 


About Texas Outside

Texas Outside has been alive & well since 1996 - that's ancient by today's internet standards! Texas Outside was originally developed by Lone Star Internet which is an Austin based web development company with an excellent reputation & client base. In March of 2006, we purchased Texas Outside & made a commitment to add new, exciting, & informative content on Texas outdoor activities & fun things to see & do.

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