ShadowGlen Golf Club Review

Texas Outside Rating: 9.1

Golf - Public Course · 18 Holes · Par 72
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ShadowGlen Golf Club Review

Review and Rating of ShadowGlen Golf Club in Manor Texas

ShadowGlen is a hidden gem just north east of Austin in Manor. The course opened in 2004 and is well deserving of it's 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, for 2014 Avid Golfer rated it #5 in the Mid Priced Category.  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 some fairways with lots of contour, plenty of slope, and tall mounding.  This nine is a little 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 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:

  • #3 is a 587 yard par 5 dog leg left around a pond that requires some shot making - off the tee you need to thread a tight slot to a big landing zone or try a risk-reward shot to fly the trees and lake to shorten the hole and then the approach shot to a huge green is extremely tough thanks to 3 trees in the fairway blocking most of the right side and a bunker on the left
  • #4 is an interesting and unique hole with a combination of a tight fairway, severe right to left slope (what seems like 45 degrees) on the fairway at 150 yards from the green, a deep valley to cross to get up to a significantly elevated odd shaped green with mounding and a huge drop-off
  • #8 and #17 are both beautiful par threes - one requires a slight down hill carry over a deep ravine and the other is a 183 yard carry over the lake
  • #18 is a fantastic finishing hole - a 513 yard par 5 that dog legs left around a minefield of grass swales and bunkers on the right and mounding all along the left side plus a rock creek that horseshoes around the left side, in front of, and back along the right side of the green - a great risk-reward shot off the tee that will cut off a lot of yards if you think you can carry some or all of the grass bunkers

When we played in December, ShadowGlen was still recovering from 8 weeks of record rain and some flooding.  As such, the conditions weren't as good as they would normally be.

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 very thick and dense which in several cases buried the ball.  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!

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 very good condition and ran at a very manageable speed.  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 the bunker had a fairly thin layer of soft sand and a hard surface under that. 

Book a tee time now - you'll love this course regardless of your skill level. ShadowGlen has definitely achieved their goal of providing championship golf at reasonable prices.

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Course Slope & Ratings

Tee Box Yardage Rating Slope
Black 7,174 74.2 139
Blue 6,047 69.7 126
White 4,898 64.5 105
Gold 6,629 72.7 132

Course Information

Course Architect:
R Roy Bechtol and Randy Russell
Greens Type:
TIF Eagle
Greens Condition
Greens Difficulty
Fairway Condition
Bunker Condition
Beware of water on 10 holes and the 55 sand traps.

Texas Outside Rating

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


Approximate Weekend
$25.00 to $50.00

Service is ok, the clubhouse is great with a cool patio overlooking the 18th hole, the proshop has the basics, and the practice facilities are good. The Bar & Grill is good 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! 
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. 


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