Review of San Saba River Golf Club in San Saba, Texas
San Saba River Golf Course is one of those unknown and hidden ccourses that you love to discover as you travel through Texas. Owned and operated by the City of San Saba, the course could be classified as a true country golf course with reasonable rates, fair conditions, a straightforward and traditional layout, country friendly service, peace and quiet (except for the birds, owls, squirrels, and an occasional moo from some grazing cattle), a good pace of play, and no tee time reservations needed. Maybe those are some of the reasons that San Saba River Golf Course has been rated 3.5 stars by Golf Digest and voted as "one of the best places to play..." for six years in a row.
San Saba River Golf Course plays through a forest of 2600 stately pecan trees, which make most of the fairways fairly tight requiring precision off the tee box as well as accuracy on the approach shots. There are also a few ponds to contend with but no bunkers. All of which means that if you pick the right set of tee boxes, hit it fairly straight (or have a good "under the tree" recovery shot), and you can putt, you'll have a fun and well scoring round. I couldn't do any of that and I still enjoyed the round!
San Saba River Golf Course opened in 1972 as a nine hole course - the original nine is now the back nine. The front nine opened for play in 1986 and it is fairly traditional and straightforward. In most cases from the tee box you can see the flag and what you're up against - which is lots of trees and flat fairways. The good news is that there are no out of bounds and the trees aren't so thick and dense that you'll lose your ball or not be able to chip back to the fairway. In some cases, you may land in the adjoining fairway and have a pretty good shot at par. The front has a couple of fun holes like:
We really liked the back nine and found it to be more challenging and much more interesting. On this nine you'll find some very tight landing zones off the tee box, some forced carries, challenging approach shots, doglegs to manage, and lots of trees to contend with. And #18 will make you want to come back and play San Saba River Golf Course again - what a fun and challenging 538-yard par 5 that requires some precise shots to be in a position to see the green, avoid the trees, and carry the pond and stuff it on the green.
When we played in November, the conditions weren't the best we've seen in previous rounds, but the course was still very playable. The fairways are flat and dry (lots of extra roll) and the first cut was thin and very playable. Under the trees was a mixture of grass and dirt.
The greens were in fair condition. Most of the greens are small and slightly elevated which puts a premium on your approach shots. They are relatively flat with some minor breaks that are easy to read. The San Saba greens ran true and were a little slow (7 or so) when we played. There are no bunkers but where some of the bunkers were are now grass bunkers or a little thicker rough that you need to avoid - all are around the collar of the greens.
Bottom line - a good value and a fun track where you can have a relaxing and peaceful round of golf in the country. The course is next door to the San Saba River RV Park which is a cozy small full hookup RV park and a great place to camp and enjoy a round of golf.
Rates: $20.00 to $38.00
Service is country friendly but no beverage cart service is available. The facilities are a little dated, the pro shop has limited supplies (balls, gloves, caps, and some clothing) and they have accounts with all major OEM's and can order any club that you want Snacks, munchies, drinks, and some sandwiches (possibly the best ever Chicken Salad Sandwich) are available. There is a small driving range and putting green.
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.