Golf in Texas: a plethora of options in Austin
The Municipal CG of the Lions is fighting for its survival
One of the first places this author played golf was in the city of Austin. Lions Municipal Golf Coursejust west of the heart of Austin’s downtown district and north of Lady Bird Lake on green space that has become more valuable by the minute.
Nicknamed “Muny”, the course occupies more than 140 acres and is recognized by the Department of National Parks as the first desegregated golf course south of the Mason-Dixon line, a facility credited with breaking the racial barrier in 1950.
The 18-hole, 6,001-yard course is on the Greater Brackenridge Tract and opened in 1924. Although the course land is owned by the University of Texas, the city has leased it since 1936. But the contract for rental has reportedly expired and the city and university are still trying to find a new deal to save the course.
Muny is not a premier course, but it is important to Austin and its golfing history. His survival became a cause celebre for many, including Austin native Ben Crenshaw, who grew up three blocks from the first tee.
It’s a fun round, with a handful of challenges, tight fairways and quirky routing – but if you’re in Austin to golf, you have to play here.
Falconhead GC ticks all the boxes
Many experienced players believe that Falconhead Golf Club, located in the western Austin suburb of Lakeway, is the best public course in the area. Designed by Chris Gray and the PGA Tour Design Center, Falcon head offers an exceptional and challenging golf course in one of the most beautiful areas of Texas, so close to majestic Lake Travis you can often smell the water.
The course was the first built as part of the PGA Tour Signature Series projects (Falcon head has since removed the PGA logo from its signage and scorecard) and aims to provide public players with a premium experience at a reasonable price while testing the best players.
It’s a track you’ll mentally revisit long after the ride. It’s fun, challenging for all skill levels, and fair. Opened in 2003 Falcon head extends 7,302 yards from its back set of five tees, and can be a bear when the wind is up, which it always seems to be.
The layout blends and complements the terrain. Falcon headThe most striking holes of – the ones that impress you visually and technically – are its second, eighth, 15th and final holes. All this requires a sound analysis of the tee.
The eighth is the most photographed hole. The 184-yard par-3 was built on a ledge suspended over a pool of water and a flowing stream. It’s beautiful and can be downright intimidating in its place just before the bend.
Its minimalist character is expressed here in the subtlety of the greens. Make no mistake though, as this is a Hill Country course and the ‘valley effect’ is always present. The speed and firmness of the green should be constantly noted.
Falcon head is a fun place to play and the experience is memorable. We have always been struck by the fact that we have been rewarded for a good shot here.