For some, golf is not just a sport, it’s a way of life. And in the stunning natural beauty of the Texas Hill Country, the golfing lifestyle merges seamlessly with the impeccable greens of both the Flintrock Falls Golf Course and its sibling, The Hills Signature Course. Both of these exceptional 18-hole courses are a part of The Hills Country Club, among the most prestigious and active country clubs in Austin.
Two Nicklaus-Designed Courses
If you know golf (or even if you don’t) there’s a good chance you know the name Jack Nicklaus. This American professional golf champion, along with his four sons, operates Nicklaus Designs, a global golf course design firm.
Jack Nicklaus co-designed the Flintrock Falls course with his son, Jack Nicklaus II. What could be better than one Nicklaus-designed golf course, you might ask? How about two? Jack Nicklaus exclusively designed the Flintrock Falls companion course, The Hills, as well. These are the only side-by-side Nicklaus-designed courses in Central Texas.
Nicklaus courses are renowned for being challenging, rewarding and downright fun. With courses in 34 countries and 39 states, Nicklaus-designed courses have hosted a total of more than 600 professional tournaments and national amateur championships. Furthermore, these beautiful courses are celebrated for their enhancement of the natural landscape and the value they bring to luxury home communities across the country and around the world.
Accolades and Awards
Recently, Golf Digest ranked both the Flintrock Falls and The Hills courses among the “Top 10 in Texas.” Courses by Nicklaus Designs regularly rank in the Top 100 lists in major industry publications like Golfweek and GOLF Magazine.
The Dallas Morning News also selected the Hills as one of 2012’s “Top 100 Golf Courses in Texas,”and ranked it as having one of the “18 Best, Most Beautiful Holes in Texas.”
Flintrock Falls — A Demanding Course with Tricky Surprises
Neither Flintrock Falls Course nor the Hills Signature Course are simple to play, but of the two, Flintrock Falls is often regarded as the more challenging. It features tighter, tree-lined fairways, numerous bunkers, and a back nine many golfers find to contain at least a few surprises.
Flintrock is a worthy challenge for almost any golfer’s game, having about 78 sand bunkers and water features as part of play on 11 of the 18 holes. The water hazards on the par three 2nd and par five 5th holes include lovely waterfalls that present a slightly tricky approach. Most greens are raised and combine slope, tiers, and undulation just above the hazards. Because the course can be quite narrow — usually because of trees, creeks, or both — a strong short game is important. The course often requires accuracy not only from the tee box, but on the approach shot, too.
Five sets of tee boxes play to distances and slopes that measure 7,051 yards/140 slope, 6771 yards/135 slope, 6419 yards/132 slope, 5,871 yards/128 slope for men and 136 for women, and 5,089 yards with a slope of 125 for ladies hitting from the red tees. On course the yardage marking system includes 100, 150 and 200 yard indicators on the fairways and cart paths, plus sprinkler heads that are measured to the center of the green on all par fours and fives.
The Hills Signature Course — Increasing Challenges and Scenic Beauty
Some players have said that the first few holes of the Hills Signature course allow golfers an opportunity to leisurely work the kinks out of their game before taking on the rest of the course. The first five holes are fairly uncomplicated, then the next four begin to prepare you for the challenges of the back nine. Creeks and other water hazards, doglegs, and some better protected tiered greens increase the difficulty of these holes.
The back nine continue to intensify the game. You’ll find different sets of challenges on each hole, including cascading waterfalls and creeks, some narrow or twisting fairways, both up and downhill shots, and better guarded greens with deeper and steeper bunkers, and more.
There are 4 sets of tee boxes. The tees play to distances and slopes of 7,035 yards/141 slope, 6358 yards/133 slope, 5,845 yards/126 slope for men and 141 for women, and 5,125 yards with a slope of 131 for ladies hitting from red tees.
The Academy of Golf Dynamics
If you’re looking to hone your skills, Lakeway’s Academy of Golf Dynamics was built exclusively to provide instruction and improve your game. The first of its kind, the facility was designed by — you guessed it — Jack Nicklaus.
The complex features a 500-yard learning center with driving and putting greens and three championship practice holes: a par 3, 4 and 5. Practice your swing. Master your pitch shot. Uphill, downhill, in the sand, in the wind — no matter what, a team of expert instructors is there to provide one-on-one attention for student golfers. That’s why Tom Kite rates the Academy of Golf as the number one practice facility in the country, and GOLF Magazine ranks it as one of the top 25 golf schools. And it’s open seven days a week.
With access to a world-recognized practice facility and two breathtaking Nicklaus-designed championship courses, Austin golfers have plenty to appreciate. Flexibility, luxury, tranquility — now all you need is some good competition.