Review & Rating of Omni Barton Creek Resort & Spa's Coore Crenshaw Cliffside Golf Course in Austin
The newly renovated (150 million dollar renovation completed in 2019) Omni Barton Creek Resort & Spa in Austin, Texas, recognized as one of the best golf resorts in the Southwest by GOLF Magazine is home to four fantastic golf courses that are consistently ranked among the best in Texas. Texas Outside listed all four courses on its list of the Best Resort Golf Course in Texas.
You have to be a member or a resort guest to play any of the four courses (the links will take you to our review and rating of the course):
The Coore Crenshaw Course was designed by two-time Master Champion Ben Crenshaw and opened for play in 1988 shortly after the Fazio courses. Several years later Crenshaw partnered with architect Bill Coore to re-design this course and he adhered to his design philosophy that “the best architect is nature.” The Coore Crenshaw Cliffside Course is a typical Texas Hill Country course with scenic vistas, rolling treed terrain, elevation changes, and carries over ravines. What makes this course atypical and one of the best Hill Country courses is the first-class service coupled with a great layout that leverages the natural terrain, wide forgiving fairways, near-perfect conditions, colorful and well-manicured landscaping, and large undulating putting surfaces.
Crenshaw designed this course to take advantage of some beautiful Texas Hill Country and as such you’ll encounter some dramatic elevation changes that will require you to club up or down, deep ravines you’ll need to carry, risk-reward opportunities that will tempt you, dense trees that will devour your ball if you spray it left or right, rolling and sloping fairways that cause some interesting lies and will give you lots of extra roll that can take your golf ball to places you don’t want it to go.
But don’t let that scare you, Coore Crenshaw Cliffside is relatively short, has wide sweeping fairways, bunkers that we had no trouble avoiding, wide playable roughs, and huge greens. With five sets of tee boxes, yardages from 4795 to 6650 yards and a slope of 72.6 and rating of 133 from the tips, if you don’t bite off more than you can chew you’ll have a very relaxing, low scoring, and memorable round.
One caveat, the greens are huge and all shapes and very challenging so make sure you practice putting before you head out, check the pin placement before each approach shot, study the GPS and the slope of the terrain surrounding the green to help you understand the slope of the putting surface, and try to stay below the pin. All of the greens were in near perfect condition, fast (a 10 or better!) and smooth, soft, and true if you can read the very subtle breaks. Most of the greens have a fairly wide and puttable collar and they are flat making bump and runs possible.
The front nine of Coore Crenshaw is your warm-up nine – it’s a little shorter from all tee boxes, is a par 35/36, has several doglegs left and right, some elevation changes and rolling fairways, and is fun to play. It's also fairly straightforward and traditional.
The back nine is fantastic with lots of variety, three par 3s and 3 par 5s, 32 bunkers (one hole has 8 and another has 7), and some very interesting and memorable (and challenging) holes.
Some of the holes we really enjoyed included:
The Coore Crenshaw Course fairways were in good condition when we played in September with a few brown and dry spots. All are lined by densely packed trees, so if you miss the wide sweeping fairways, in most cases you're lost in the woods. You'll need to manage the rolling contour, the slope, and the extra roll.
The rough was also in great shape and varied from thick to playable. A scattering of beautiful homes are set way back in the trees or in the rolling hills. The scenery is stunning.
The bunkers range from small to some monsters with steep and deep faces that are real trouble. The bunkers were in perfect condition with soft sand that was fairly thick and fluffy. For some reason, even though there are 49 bunkers, our foursome only found a couple of them.
The course is pricy and you need to be a member or a guest at the Omni Barton Creek Resort & Spa to play any of the four courses. The Resort is fantastic and has a good stay and play package. All in all, it's worth the price and you only live once!
Initiation Fees: $40,001 to $55,000
Monthly Dues: $401 to $600
Service is first class, the pro shop is well stocked, the cart ladies show up at the right time, and the practice facilities are good.
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.