REVIEW: Hill Country Golf Course

An Arthur Hills Classic
I have played golf all over the world and I have always enjoyed Arthur Hills designed golf courses.  He has a knack for creating an enjoyable, playable and challenging golf course.  The Hill Country 27 shows off his flair for course design.  It is set on a sprawling parcel of land and weaves through trees, wetlands and some open space.  It is well kept and offers an excellent test of your game.  They could use a little work on their bunkers, the sand was a little inconsistent, but everything else was in great shape.
Overall Hill Country is a great course with 3 different nines.  Each one had interesting challenges and great scenery.  The pace of play was also quite nice.  The staff was excellent and helpful too.  They also recently introduced a “Family Play” initiative which sets up 9 holes specifically for families with the standard tee markers and some very short tee markers for kids or those just learning the game.  
If you are in the San Antonio area, you need to check out Hill Country. 

For more information:
Quick Hits
+Arthur Hills design
+27 Holes
+Excellent conditions
+Great variety

-Uneven bunker quality

The Oaks

he Oaks was my favorite of the 3 nines.  It felt older (which it was) but also seemed to be just a bit more interesting.  As the name would suggest it was set in the trees, but it didn’t feel claustrophobic.  There was still a sense of openness to the nine holes yet being tree lined.  It wraps around the back side of the hotel, spa and resort.  It offered some unique greens with ample undulations.  I’ll just highlight a couple of my favorite holes from this nine.  It starts with a great opening hole that has a tricky green approach over a dried creek bed.  The second hole is probably the hole that needs to be reworked a little; it just is tough to keep the tee shot in the fairway because of the bunker and sloping.  The third hole is a great short par 4.  

drops downhill.  If you have the clearing you could drive this green.  The 4th hole is a challenging long par 4 again with another creek cutting in front of the green.  The 5th hole is a beautiful and challenging par 3.  The 6th hole is a moderate to short par 5, which doglegs to the left.  The 7th hole is an uphill par 4 that is very challenging. (missing a picture below of hole 7) The 8th hole is a tough par 3.  It is not that long, but the green is so undulated and kicks balls here and there, par is a great score.  The finishing 9th hole is a long par 5 that goes downhill.  The approach is really the tough shot with tree right of the green and water left, accuracy is key on this huge double green.

The Lakes

The Lakes starts off on the front side of the resort and winds in through the trees and around some lakes.  It begins with a gentle par 4.  It is short and fairly wide, it is always nice to start with an easier hole to gain some confidence.  The second hole is a moderate downhill par 3. (missing picture)   The 3rd hole is a long downhill par 4 ending by the lake.  The 4th hole is a strong par 3.  But the green is big enough to accept those long irons or hybrid shots.  The 5th hole is a challenging shorter par 4.  It plays down to a creek bed and then up to the green.  The 6th hole might be one of the toughest on the property.  

The tee shot angles over a waterway/ditch.  The second shot must navigate over this ditch again, around a tree and away from the pond on the right.  Then the green is set just to the left of the water.  Par is a great score.  The 7th hole is on the other side of the road.  This one too is intimidating with a large pond between you and the fairway.  It isn’t that long to clear, but still intimidating.  The 8th hole is a big bending left par 5 I don’t think it is possible to reach in two.  I hit a 300 yard drive to the far right side of the fairway and I still couldn’t see the green.  Maybe if I was really gutsy I would have tried to hit a hybrid or something over the trees, but it would be completely blind.  The final holes brings you back into the clubhouse with a solid par 4 that runs parallel the driving range and has a decorative windmill up as you approach the green.

The Creek

The final 9, The Creek starts on the left side of the driving range and plays parallel.  It is a solid starting hole.  Plenty of room for driver, but into an elevated undulated green.  Then you cross the road for holes 2-8.  The second hole is another solid par 4.  It plays pretty straight. The 3rd hole is probably the toughest par 3 on the property.  It is fairly flat, but plays long and is one of the higher points of the property so the wind really impacts the play.  The green is not overly receptive to shots kicking them right and left.  The 4th hole is an excellent par 5 that can be reached in 2, but danger comes into play on the approach because of the water on the right side of the green.  The 5th hole is a great short risk reward par 4.

It is reachable off the tee, but trouble is short and right with a creek bed.  The 6th hole is a fantastic and stunning par 4.  It is all about the second shot.  The green is elevated with a stone wall and the creek bed runs at the base.  The 7th hole is a solid par 4 with an oak tree in the middle of the fairway.  Once you navigate the tree, it is a dogleg left into the green. (missing picture)  The 8th hole is a beautiful medium length par 3.  Avoid the bunkers and you will be just fine.   The 9th hole is an awesome finishing par 5 hole.  It plays downhill with many challenges.  Imperfect tee shots can quickly find the trees.  The lay-up also needs precision and coming into the green is tricky with the pond on the right side.