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):
- Fazio Foothills – newly renovated, Fazio Foothills offers a challenging but fair layout that places a premium on shot-making
- Fazio Canyons – this award-winning course has numerous scenic holes, spectacular Hill Country views, and a beautiful limestone bed creek that meanders throughout the course
- Palmer Lakeside in Spicewood – designed by Arnold Palmer this 18 offer views of Lake Travis, elevation changes, and some fun holes
- Coore Crenshaw – leverages the natural beauty of the Texas Hill Country with rolling hills, natural plateaus, soft contours, and native vegetation
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:
- #2 is a 470-yard par 5 with a great risk-reward opportunity if you want to try to fly uphill and over the trees where the fairway turns right and then twists through 4 fairway bunkers and then uphill to a huge heavily contoured green with a very steep slope off the right side
- Both par 3s on the back are excellent – #11 is 185 yards with an intimidating carry over a natural area and #13 is a breathtaking downhill 160 yard shot to a green surrounded by 5 bunkers
- #14 has a dramatically elevated tee shot downhill and then a slight uphill shot to a small oblong green with a left and right side bunker and trees making the approach shot tight – it’s short at 317 yards and will tempt you to pull out the big dog and go for the green. If you do, you'll most likely be reloading if you’re not deadly accurate
- Some of what makes the last 4 holes a blast includes: a 590 yard uphill par 5 with a cluster of 9 bunkers to avoid; a very intimidating carry over a deep ravine off the tee on 16 and then past 3 monster bunkers to a huge green; a picturesque 142 yard par 3 with a carry all the way to the narrow green with a small and a very large bunker guarding it; and a fantastic finishing hole that includes a blind uphill shot, a downhill shot over a deep ravine and creek to a sloping oblong green with little room for error thanks to 3 bunkers and the ravine.
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.
To learn more about the Omni Barton Creek Resort & Spa, read our article about a 4-day visit to the Omni Barton Creek Resort & Spa and why we loved the beautiful pool, luxury accommodations, 5 dining options, luxury spa, and playing the four outstanding golf courses.
The course is pricey 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!
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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.