Review and Rating of Lions Municipal Golf Course in Austin
Lions Municipal Golf Course was originally built by the Lions Club in 1928 and the City of Austin acquired the course in 1938. Known as "Muny," the course is rich with history – some of which includes being the host to players like Ben Hogan, Byron Nelson, Tom Kite and Ben Crenshaw plus many believe that Muny was the first public golf course south of the Mason-Dixon Line to become integrated. Today there is a push to add Muny to the the National Register of Historic Places and the University of Texas, who owns the land and leases it to the City of Austin, is pushing to develop the land into hotels, shops, and housing. – we hope that doesn't happen.
Lions Municipal Golf Course is similar to most older courses – it's short (4931 to 6001 yards) by todays standards with tight tree lined fairways, three sets of tee boxes, a few bunkers, and several dog legs. The front nine has some really tight fairways, it's a par 36 and 200 to 300 yards longer from all the tee boxes, and it's got 5 dog legs and all but 2 of the bunkers. On this nine you'll need some shot making skills and you'll need to keep the ball in the fairway if you want to turn in a good score. A couple of the holes we liked on this nine include:
- #1 is a 369 yard par 4 that sets the stage on what you can expect on this nine – it's got a slightly elevated tee box, requires a downhill drive that won't over run the fairway or be too short that you can't make the sharp 90 dogleg right turn and then a precise approach shot to a small oval raised green
- #6 is a 380 yard par 4 with a big tree in front of the tee box that forces you to hit the ball farther left or risk trying to fly it and hit the fairway that turns right leading slightly downhill to the green
The back nine is a par 35 and the greens seem bigger with more slope and contour and the fairways are more forgiving off the tee however water can come into play on five different holes. But you've only got to avoid two bunkers. The back nine has a little more character, is more fun from our perspective, and has a couple great holes like:
- #10 is short at 295 and it's downhill but there are two ponds 50 yards in front of the green that squeeze the fairway to about 20 yards wide and force you to layup or try to carry them on your drive
- #16 is a fun 403 yard par 4 with a tight fairway off the tee box that turns left and goes slightly downhill to a pond that crosses the fairway about 120 yards in front of a raised green – turns out that #16 is famous and dubbed Hogan’s Hole because it's one of Ben Hogan's favorite holes
- both of the par 3s (139 and 183 yards) require a slightly downhill shot that needs to carry a pond
The greens at Lions Municipal Golf Course range from fairly small on the front and a lot bigger on the back nine. They range from flat to gently sloping with some subtle and surprising breaks. Most are raised preventing a bump and run. For winter conditions they were in good condition, a tad slow (around a 7 or so) and a little bumpy but they were soft and held the ball well.
All of the fairways are tee lined (no homes) and most are tight but they are cleared under the trees which means you can typically find your ball and worm burn it back into the fairway. Several fairways are side by side and if you roll through or fly the tree line you'll be in another fairway with a tough recovery shot. Keep the big dog in the bag and you'll do well. The fairways were dormant and firm and dry providing lots of extra roll. The rough was rough with patches of dirt, rock, and grass. This course is great for walking.
The bunkers were in good shape with soft sand that was a little thin and gritty but a joy to hit out off. The lips range from several inches to fairly steep and all of them will stop your ball from rolling out.
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The facilities are dated, the pro shop has the basics, the range and putting green are good, and the grill has inexpensive food ranging from sandwiches to burgers to dogs and more. Cart service when we played was excellent - we saw her every 4 to 5 holes or so.