Austin's Best Courses You Can Play

By Ryan Watson

Austin, TX is well known as a center for music, food, and art. But this cross between college town and bustling metropolis is also home to a vibrant golf scene. The city is home to the WGC-Dell Technologies Match, held since 2016 at the Austin Country Club. This event is unique in PGA Tour and WGC events because it is a match play, rather than stroke play, event. This means the golfers compete against each other to see who can win the most holes, rather than the fewest overall strokes. For the visitor to this fine city, Austin provides numerous options for a quick round of golf. The following are some of the best public courses in Austin.

Lions Municipal Golf Course

2901 Enfield Road
Austin, TX 78703
(512) 477-6963

Any list of course in the Austin area should reserve a spot for “muni”, as the beloved course is known. The exact designer remains unknown, but he created a layout that snakes through the heavily wooded area with numerous doglegs and tight fairways. Muny isn’t the most difficult or best maintained course in Austin, but the unique layout will peak any golfer's interest. Though it has been surpassed in some golfers’ eyes by its fellow municipal courses, notably the Jimmy Clay and Roy Kizer courses, it still maintains its local popularity. Aside from the actual course design, Lions makes this list for its historic nature. This course holds the distinction of being the first integrated golf course in the South, when it was voluntarily and peacefully integrated in 1951. For this reason, the course is on the National Registry of Historic Places.

Falconhead Golf Club

15201 Falcon Head Blvd.
Austin, TX 78738
(512) 402-1558

Falconhead Golf Club features a Christ Gray designed course that serves as a celebration of Texas hill country golf. The course features large elevation changes and uses natural water and local trees to provide at atmosphere that feels attuned with nature. Despite the hilly terrain, most fairways are generous making this course playable for golfers of multiple levels. The short game, including navigating the subtly undulating greens, will likely be the difference between victory and defeat. The most memorable hole that ties all these features together is the 17th hole. This is a par-3 that features a green placed on top of a small limestone ledge over Friday Creek featuring multiple small waterfalls.

Wolfdancer Golf Club

575 Hyatt Lost Pines Rd.
Cedar Creek, TX 78612
(512) 308-4770

Another rollicking Texas hill country course, Wolfdancer was designed by Arthur Hills and Steve Forrest and first opened in 2006. The course falls from high prairie through woodlands down into a floodplain, providing both beautiful views and challenges. The course is known for the difficulty of approach shots, with small greens proving the bane of many golfers. Despite the challenge, golfers appreciate that the course is kept up beautifully, as you would expect from a luxury resort. Golfers will also enjoy the long scenic views from the front 9, and the challenge of the course will keep golfers on their toes as they play through Wolfdancer.

Avery Ranch Golf Club

10500 Avery Club Dr.
Austin, TX 78717
(512) 248-2442

Located in Northwest Austin, Avery Ranch Golf Club is a golf course that uses the naturally geography seamlessly to create an interesting and challenging course. The course, designed by Andy Raugust, includes limestone outcroppings, forced carries over ravines, as well as numerous tree lined holes, water hazards and strategic bunkers. The course requires good course management and accurate shotmaking to keep your scores near par. Finish your round with the panoramic views of Avery Lake and the surrounding hill country from this 477 yard par-4.

Omni Barton Creek Resort & Spa

8212 Barton Club Drive
Austin, TX 78735
(512) 329-4000

Omni Barton Resort & Spa has long been considered one of Texas’ premier golf facilities and it’s easy to see why. Boasting four excellent courses, including two designed by Tom Fazio, Omni Barton has something for everyone. The Fazio Foothills course plays like a traditional Texas hill country course with waterfalls, limestone outcroppings, and dramatic changes in elevation. Just one example is the 10th hole featuring a tee box situated one hundred feet above the fairway. The Fazio Canyons course, as its name suggests, winds through canyonlands. Standout holes include the isolated par-3 3rd hole and the 457 yard par-4 uphill monster that is the 9th hole. Both holes are bordered by water making accurate swings a necessity. The Bill Coore Crenshaw Cliffside course is noted for using the natural terrain and is a throwback to older course designs with its large fairways and greens of carrying sizes. The easiest course is the Palmer Lakeside course, a beautiful course in its own right but best played on a relaxing day as a break from the other more challenging courses.

About the Author

Ryan Watson is a freelance sportswriter and history professor. He has been an avid fan of golf since his father signed him up for golf camp as a young child. Ryan enjoys following the professional game and learning about new equipment and gadgets.