Review Of Olympia Hills Golf Course in Universal City, Texas
Opened in 2000, Olympia Hills is owned and operated by the City of Universal City and was designed by Finger, Dye, and Spann Design Group and they did a fantastic job of leveraging the natural beauty and terrain to create a fantastic golfing experience that is both fun and demanding. Olympia Hills test your game by throwing a little bit of everything at you, some of which includes: dramatic elevation changes, lots of variety, roller coaster fairways, water on a couple holes, blind shots, elevated greens, strategically placed bunkers, some tight twisting fairways, a couple easy forced carries, risk reward opportunities, mounds and swales, and complex putting surfaces!
Don't let all of that scare you away, the course is demanding but it's fair and if you pick the right set of tee boxes and play smart, you'll have a very enjoyable and well scoring round at a very reasonable price. If you like beautiful scenery, towering live oaks some with hanging Spanish moss, limestone cliffs, lots of deer, and dramatic elevation changes (holes 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 11, and 13 drop more than 50 feet from tee to green), this is the course for you. And it's not surprising that Olympia Hills was named by Golf Digest as the "Best New Affordable Public Golf Course in Texas" and #4 in America!
Part of what makes Olympia Hills fun to play is that each nine has it's own unique personality. The front plays up and down the rolling hills and has dramatic elevation changes on five of nine holes and lots of variety. This is a nine that will test you shot making and club selection skills and it's home to some excellent holes, like:
- #2 is a 513 yard par 5 with an easy carry over a gully then up and left on a right to left sloping fairway that leads to a challenging 2 tier well guarded oblong green
- take at least one club off the 189 yard par 3 #5 – a big downhill shot to a green with little room for error
- #6 is a 551 yard par 5 that horseshoes around a creek and ravine on the right side that crosses back under the fairway and curves around in front of a downhill small and well protected green with significant slope back toward the creek – it also offers a great risk reward shot off the tee to try and go for the green it two
- #8 is a blast – a dramatically elevated tee box with a tight landing zone and then uphill to a well guarded green
The back nine is more open and forgiving off the tee box but has some tight approaches, a couple water holes, two holes with elevated tee boxes, some side by side holes, and much harder and smaller greens. We really liked:
- #10 is a fun 437 yard dog leg right with an uphill blind shot and a risk reward opportunity to get closer to the green which is downhill and surrounded by a a limestone wall and a couple big bunkers.
- #18 requires you to carry a ravine off the tee box and avoid a pond on left and bunkers on the right which pinch the fairway on the approach shot
The par 3's at Olympia Hills can bite you, most of the greens are challenging, and the conditions are very good. The fairways and rough were in good condition and during the summer we think they would be excellent. Most of the fairways are rolling and contoured, lined by trees, and wide and forgiving to a little tight.
The greens are challenging with slope, contour, spines, big bunkers, and plenty of mounding plus a lot of them are raised. They range in size and shape, held the ball well, and ran true but a little slow, which is a good thing based on the slope, contour, and pin placement. When we played they were over seeded and in very good condition. Putting can be challenging.
The course is maintained by using grey recycled water, which helps keep it in great condition year round. The last time we played in March 2014, the course was dormant but starting to green up and it was easy to tell that during the season, the conditions would be very good from tee box to the cup.
The sand in the bunkers was a little gritty and thin but the bunkers were well maintained. Most are large, a variety of shapes, and some are steep faced.
Bottom line, Olympia Hills is a must play – great variety, fun and challenging, in very good condition, and one of the best bargains in Texas.
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Service is very good, the pro shop has the basics, and the practice facility includes driving range, sculpted target greens, and 10,000 foot short game area.