Review of The Golf Club at Star Ranch Golf – Hutto, Texas
Wow, what a fun course to play – excellent conditions, fair yet demanding, outstanding layout, huge smooth greens, reasonable rates, good service, and best of all, an opportunity to have a relaxing and low scoring round.
The Golf Club at Star Ranch Golf Club plays through some gently rolling terrain just north of Austin. Rated 4 stars in Golf Digest's "Best Places To Play" in 2008 and 2009, Star Ranch is a very golfer friendly course and an excellent layout. From the tips at 7017 yards you'll be challenged (slope of 128 and rating of 73.4) but step back a few tee boxes and the yardages are shorter (4990 to 6341 yards) and the course is much more forgiving for the higher handicap players. In fact, Star Ranch offers you an excellent opportunity to turn in a great score if you pick the right tee box, avoid the monster traps, and have an average day of putting. Oh, and you need to manage the wind which can have a pretty big impact both for and against you. The course also offers you the chance to take some risks for a birdie or better.
Each of the nines is a little different from the other. The front nine is a par 35 with only one par 5, a little shorter, and much more open and forgiving off the tee. This nine plays like a links style course with gently rolling and wide open contoured fairways, no tricks or hidden hazards, huge strategically placed bunkers, and above average sized greens. If you avoid the bunkers, leverage the wind, stay in-bounds, and play smart you're going to have a very good and enjoyable nine. You'll have some uphill and downhill shots, a couple dog legs, and water but no tricks and no hidden hazards. On the front nine there are some really fun holes like:
- #1 which is a 398-yard downhiller that dog legs right around a large bunker to a huge well guarded green – try flying the fairway bunker off the tee box for an excellent opportunity for a birdie
- #6 is short at 357 yards but tight as the fairway dogs left along a lake on one side and bunkers on the right that are waiting for your drive – the fairway slopes toward the water and the approach shot to the green is demanding
- #7 is a scenic and challenging 189 yard carry over the lake and pot bunker to a green with a spine across the middle
As good as the front nine is, the back is a tad better. It's a little longer, tighter and more demanding, and home to some great holes. On this nine you've got to manage the water, some tighter fairways, the bunkers, a creek that crosses the fairway, and a cactus patch that can get nasty if you try to retrieve your ball. Some of the holes that we really liked included:
- #10 is similar to the first hole – a downhill dog leg right over a huge bunker to a green with two gigantic bunkers plus water on the right – off the tee it offers an excellent risk-reward opportunity to fly the bunkers and cut off a lot of yardage
- #13 is a 532 yard slight 170-yard right par 5 but it's a little tight (dense tree line on the entire right side and a natural area along the left side) and the green is oblong but large (48' deep and 17' wide) plus there is a string of five bunkers on the left side at 110 yards out
- #14 is the first hole where you really need to manage your tee shot or you could end up wet in a creek that crosses in front of an elevated green guarded by a rock wall in the front and trees in the back
- #15 is a beautiful and challenging 170 yard par 3 with a creek with a waterfall and pond along the right and back side of a green plus a rock wall along the right front and side
When we played in late August the fairways were n excellent condition which was very surprising after 45 days of triple-digit heat – it was 103 when we played! The first cut was also in excellent condition and thick but the ball tends to sit up on the grass. The entire course is very well maintained and manicured. Most of the Star Ranch fairways are rolling and contoured with several uphill and downhill shots. The majority of the fairways are also wide and forgiving but spray it and you're in trouble.
The greens at The Golf Club at Star Ranch are a variety of interesting shapes and most of them are huge – ranging from 19' to 49' deep and 17' to 43' wide. All but one green is guarded by at least one, and typically two huge bunkers and some mounding or berms. When we played the greens were soft, rolled smooth and true and at a good speed of around 10. All have some slope, mostly back to front, and contour that you need to study before you putt.
The bunkers at Star Ranch are formidable – most are huge, multi-fingered, and with some steep faces. They are strategically placed, typically on one side of the fairway and both sides of the greens. Luckily, we found them fairly easy to avoid – the big greens helped. The bunkers were well maintained and new soft white sand was added in 2018.
The rates are very reasonable and super twilight is a real bargain. Plus they have an "all-inclusive" price which includes breakfast buffet (eggs, biscuits, gravy, bacon, and more) and a fantastic lunch Buffett. On our last visit, the lunch buffet included: chili, hot dogs, burgers, chicken and beef fajitas, and the fixings. The Buffett always has dogs and burgers plus a main dish that ranges from fajitas to Chinese to barbeque! Superb. The all-inclusive also includes additional play based on availability.
Bottom line – The Golf Club at Star Ranch has it all (good conditions, fun holes, excellent layout, great conditions, and reasonable rates plus the all inclusive) and it's a must play if you're anywhere near Austin.
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The 15,000-square-foot clubhouse is excellent with a well-stocked pro shop and the Traditions Cafe which offers features breakfast, appetizers, salads, sandwiches, burgers and much more! Service is very friendly and the practice facilities are good.