Tapatio Springs - The Resort Course Review

Texas Outside Rating: 9.0

Golf - Resort Public Course · 18 Holes · Par 72
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· Stay & Play

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Tapatio Springs - The Resort Course Review

Tapatio Springs Hill Country Resort, which is one of our favorite resorts (read our review of Tapatio Springs Hill Country Resort to find out why), is home to a fantastic 18 hole course that was frequently ranked in the "Texas Top Ten" by the Dallas Morning News.  We love everything about this course and it made our list of the Best Golf Courses in the San Antonio Area.

Since Tapatio Springs golf course opened in 1981 it has gone through several changes and the course has suffered from those changes.  Country music legend George Strait and longtime friend Tom Cusick purchased Tapatio Springs Resort in 2011 and have made a number of changes and improvements.  In 2014 they partnered with Northview Hotel Group, a professional management company with a portfolio of excellent resorts and hotels. Shortly thereafter world-renowned golf course architect Tripp Davis was brought in to start a $2 million restoration of the golf course that included:

  • new and artful bunker designs that have increased the drama and strategy of many holes
  • regrading of the fairways to improve drainage and the playing surfaces
  • resurfacing and improving some of the greens
  • adding a new practice putting green
  • a complete renovation of the driving range

The result is a stunning transformation into a stimulating “must play” golf experience.  As a result of all this renovation, Tapatio Springs was named the #1 Most Improved Public Golf Course in the U.S. by Golf Inc. Magazine.

Tapatio Springs Hill Country Resort's Golf Course has two very different and fun nines.  Both nines are fun, short but somewhat challenging (a rating of 124 to 133) but very fair, and scenic with the trees, water, and towering hillsides (some of the tallest in the area at 1900 feet) dotted with beautiful homes.  The course is very well manicured and maintained.

The front nine is a par 35 with only one par 5, two par 3s, and six par 4s and the yardage ranges from 2237 to 3115 - a tad short but still challenging thanks to elevation changes, doglegs, forced carries, 23 bunkers, and water on six holes.   After the first three challenging holes, I was ready to move up to a more forward tee box.  Some of the holes we really liked on the front nine included:

  • #1 sets the stage for your front nine - a 487-yard par 5 with an elevated tee shot to a landing zone pinched by trees and a bunker on the right and left side of the fairway which turns left and has a tough approach shot to a raised small green with 3 bunkers guarding the front
  • #5 is fun and challenging thanks to an elevated tee shot over the creek to a fairly tight fairway with a pond along the entire left side and a slight uphill shot to a green guarded by 3 bunkers and trees and the lake on the left side

The back nine plays up and down the ridgeline and then back into the valley and it is a little longer and tougher with elevation changes, water on four holes, and 26 more bunkers.  The back nine is a par 37 with three par 5s, two par 3s, and four par 4s.  On this nine, we loved playing:

  • #10 is an elevated tee box, with a great risk-reward opportunity to try and fly the trees to shorten the dog left – if you don’t try that you’ll need a good second shot through a tree-pinched fairway leading to a raised green with a right-side bunker
  • #11 is only 154 yards but it's uphill to a green with no room for error - 2 trees block the left side, there is a bunker in front of the green, and a white picket fence marks the entire right side as out of bounds which drops down to the water
  • from the scorecard, #12 looks easy - but it's a 296 yard shot from an elevated tee box over a pond and large rock pile and then a big uphill climb past 4 bunkers to a green with slope on the front that can take your ball rolling several yards back down the hill

The fairways at Tapatio Springs Hill Country Resort Golf Course range from wide open to a little tight thanks to trees and or water.  Most of the fairways are flat and firm resulting in lots of extra roll that you need to manage plus there is some slope that can take you to places you don't want to go to.  When we played the fairways were in very good condition and the rough was cut thin and playable. 

The Tapatio Springs Resort greens range in size from about average to a tad small, some are raised, most are guarded putting a premium on the approach shot, and they all have some gentle slope.  They were running around a 9 or so, rolled very true,  and they held the ball ok.  Study the slope and contour before you putt because it can be subtle and surprise you.

The bunkers were in excellent condition with soft, thick, and fluffy sand.  The bunkers range in size from large to average size and lots of them are have steep and difficult faces – do whatever it takes to avoid them. 

Tapatio Springs Hill Country Resort has an excellent Stay & Play package and it's a perfect place to stay for a fun weekend of golf.  To learn more, read our review of Tapatio Springs Hill Country Resort.  

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Course Slope & Ratings

Tee Box Yardage Rating Slope
Black 6,477 72.1 133
Blue 6,077 70.1 128
White 5,892 68.8 125
Gold 5,663 73.9 134
Red 4,997 69.9 124

Course Information

Course Architect:
Trip Davis
Greens Type:
Greens Condition
Greens Difficulty
Fairway Condition
Bunker Condition
a little hilly
Beware of water on 11 holes and the 49 sand traps.

Texas Outside Rating

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


Approximate Weekend
$65.00 to $85.00

Service is very good and very friendly - the cart lady seemed to always showup when needed! The pro shop is well stocked with a good variety of everything. The practice facilities are excellent. The GPS is very helpfull.The bar and restaurant are open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The patio is superb and perfect for dining, drinks, and watching fellow golfers try to hole the ball on #9 and 18.



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.