Review and Rating of ShadowGlen Golf Club in Manor Texas
ShadowGlen is a hidden gem just northeast of Austin in Manor. The course opened in 2004 and is well-deserving of its rating as Golf Digest's "Top 10 Best New Golf Courses." Roy Bechtol and Randy Russell of Bechtol/Russell Golf did a superb job of leveraging the natural rolling and undulating terrain and they exceeded their challenge to build a course that was a stout test of golf and one where top-level golfers could challenge their "A" game but us average golfers can have an enjoyable round. Roy Bechtol said "This may be my most impressive work yet" adding that "if I did it all over again I wouldn't change a thing." It's not surprising that ShadowGlen is consistently rated as one of the top courses in the Austin area - in fact, it made our list of the Best Golf Courses in Austin! The ShadowGlen website states "The Best Golf Experience in Austin at an Affordable Rate" and I would agree with that 100%!
ShadowGlen was designed to make you think your way around the course and you'll need to manage dog legs, forced carries, elevation changes, ponds and creeks, berms and mounding, bunkers, challenging green complexes, sloping and contoured fairways, and more. From the tips at 7174 yards, ShadowGlen can be a monster - this is also somewhat true of playing the next tee box up - so if you just want a fun and somewhat challenging round, be humble and move up to one of the forward tee boxes. We got this advice in advance, so we played the White tee boxes, scored well, and had a very enjoyable and fun round.
Each of the nines is very different - the front has lots of elevation changes as the fairways meander through the rolling countryside with most fairways having lots of contour, plenty of slope, and tall mounding. This nine is harder from my perspective but a blast to play - each hole is unique and very different from the previous hole and on this nine shot-making and course management (ie, leveraging the fairway slope and roll) is critical to scoring well. The back is much more traditional and straightforward with somewhat tighter fairways, raised greens, and more of a links-style layout with water on six holes.
Some of the holes that we really liked included:
The fairways on the front nine are rolling and heavily contoured while the back are flatter and a little tighter. The fairways range from tight to wide open where you can pull out the big dog and let-er-rip. Both fairways at ShadowGlen Golf Club are home to mounds, berms, ravines, creeks, big bunkers, water, and natural area hazards. The rough varied from thin and playable to a little thick. Miss the rough and you'll most likely be lost in dense trees and underbrush. Homes line only one fairway - otherwise, it's berms and trees! We played in February and the fairways were dormant, firm, and thin.
The greens at ShadowGlen are huge and most have some significant combination of tiers, slope, and contour. Some are raised and most are guarded which puts a premium on your approach shot. They were in fair condition when we played in February and were running slow thanks to some recent rain. They were soft, held the ball well, and ran true.
The ShadowGlen Golf Club bunkers range in size from small to huge and the faces are 1 to 4 feet or more. The rains had compacted the sand which means the bunkers had a fairly thin layer of soft sand and a hard surface under that.
Several improvements were made in 2019 and 2020 which included: new carts, new cups and flagsticks, removal of several trees, and target greens and mats on the range. The course was also re-rated and given higher slope and rating scores for all 5 tee boxes.
Book a tee time now - you'll love this course regardless of your skill level. ShadowGlen has definitely achieved its goal of providing championship golf at reasonable prices.
Rates: $26.00 to $48.00
Service is good, the clubhouse is good, with a cool patio overlooking the 18th hole, the pro shop has the basics, and the practice facilities are good. The Bar & Grill is ok with some craft beer and a variety of food options.
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.