Review and Rating of Great Hills Country Club in Austin
Great Hills Country Club is a private, non-profit member-owned club and is one of those hidden gems that you ask "where have you been all my life?" Wow, what a fantastic layout with excellent conditions, unexpected elevation changes, great greens, and lots of memorable holes – all of which is coupled with good service.
Great Hills Country Club was designed by Don January and opened for play in the late 1970s. The course blends into and leverages the rolling hills, a creek, and scenic vistas as it traverses up and down the Austin hills dotted with some huge beautiful homes. Some of what we think makes Great Hills well worth the initiation and monthly fees includes:
- the course is demanding and requires some excellent course management and strategic shot making if you want to turn in a good score
- the layout offers several memorable holes and a lot of variety with each hole being a little different
- Great Hills will throw a lot at you to keep you on your game and make for fun round – huge elevation changes of over 150', wind, trees, tight fairways, forced carries, dog legs left and right, strategically placed bunkers, several temping risk reward opportunities, and challenging green complexes
- both nines are great, but the back is a blast and a little more challenging, scenic, and memorable
- friendly members and some excellent amenities
When we played in January, the course was in excellent condition. The greens at Great Hills Country Club were near perfect and the Club claims that they are "the best Champion Grass greens in Texas." They were smooth and ran at a good speed of around ten (normal speed throughout the year is 10 to 11, held the ball well, and ran true, if you could read some of the subtle breaks. The are a variety of shapes and sizes (ranging from 3,500 to 6,500 square feet) and have lots of slope, undulation, and contour. Plus the greens have some tiers, several are raised, all are guarded by one to three bunkers, and a few require huge uphill shots (add one to two club lengths) to reach them – we added a lot of strokes because we didn't know the greens well enough!
The fairways at Great Hills Country Club were also in very good condition and during the summer I would imagine they are close to near perfect. The fairways range from tight to wide open and the rough is wide and playable. All of the fairways have slope and contour that you need to manage. Miss the rough and you're in the hills, under the trees, in the creek, or in the back yard of a beautiful huge home.
The bunkers are about average, with thick soft sand, and lips that range from small to challenging. They are strategically placed in the fairway and guard all sides of the greens.
Some of the holes that we really liked included:
- the 5 par 3s are fun, somewhat long, and most have some elevation changes – #17 is the signature hole with 4 big bunkers surrounding the green, a creek crossing in front of it, and a 100' drop from the tee boxes
- #9 is a 372 yard par 4 with an elevated tee box with beautiful vistas, a downhill dog leg right, followed by a huge uphill shot to a tiered green that is raised and guarded by a tall natural rock wall
- #11 is a beautiful 550 yard par 5 with 150 drop off the tee box to a dogleg right with a creek along the right side, a rock wall down the entire left side, and a challenging sloping green
- #13 requires some shot making skills – a 417 yard par 4 with a creek to carry off the tee, a wide sloping fairway, and another creek to cross that's 90 yards in front of a guarded green
- #18 is a 477 yard par 5 that has a huge uphill climb to a significantly raised green (short and you'll watch your ball roll back down the fairway) with two front bunkers and a beautiful view from the pin
Bottom Line – a fantastic private course with lots of variety, scenic vistas, huge elevation changes, and excellent conditions
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Service is very good. The practice facilities are more than adequate. The Country Club is home to a restaurant, tennis courts, fitness center, and swimming pool. The website has a great tour of the holes. In 2015 40 plus tee boxes will be re-leveled and enlarged.