Lady Bird Johnson - A Hill Country jewel that deserves its accolades and your attention

Sometimes a golf course’s challenge is in its length and other times the test is a track’s series of hazards or its demands on accuracy. The best courses are a combination of those three features, which taken together requires the golfer to be both skilled and savvy.

The Lady Bird Johnson Golf Course in the small Texas town of Fredericksburg, set about an hour and a half from Austin and an hour from San Antonio, brings those course challenges and that required talent level to the forefront. It is rare that you find much variety in a municipal golf course, much less a track nestled in the serene beauty of the Texas Hill Country.

Lady Bird Johnson

The beauty and challenge of Lady Bird Johnson GC can, at times, be very distracting. With fairways lined by huge oaks, water in the form of a winding creek through the front nine and three lakes that are played around on the back, Lady Bird Johnson GC asks you to hunker down and concentrate to play your best game. The carefully crafted fairways and greens offer a challenge to all levels of players.

A par-72 layout playing at just 6,448 yards from its back set of four tees, Lady Bird Johnson GC will not overwhelm you with its length. Its hardest holes – the 425-yard uphill ninth, the 450-yard uphill 18th, the 430-yard 16th and the 40-yard No. 1 – are tough as nails par 4s that all ask the player to really golf his or her ball, not just grip it and rip it. The front nine features plenty of undulation and is countered on the back nine by a relatively flat landscape, populated by plenty of what Ross calls “big ol’ oaks.”

There’s plenty to like about Lady Bird Johnson GC. Besides the challenges already mentioned, there are four short par 4s – three of which that can be reached if you have the gumption and the wind is at your back. The par 3s on the course are varied, 166-yard fourth, which plays downhill, to No. 7 – a deceptively tough 126-yard one-shotter over Live Oak Creek – to the 182-yard 11th, which plays along a huge game fence that separates the course from a ranch with herds of native and exotic deer.

Lady Bird Johnson GC’s par 5s are also notable. On the front side you will play over the creek twice on the three-shotters, first on the 523-yard third hole, which asks for an uphill tee shot over the hazard and a cliff, and then on No. 5, a whopping 578-yard test on which the layup must be carefully judged and the approach – downhill to a green that sits over the creek from the top of a hill – is a knee-knocker.

On the back-nine the 478-yard 10th is a par 5 that can be challenged with a long right to left approach over water, and the 14th, at 540 yards, is a good par 5 that can be attacked with three good shots.

Change is at hand at Lady Bird Johnson GC, as a FAA-mandated expansion of the corridor surrounding the adjacent Fredericksburg Airport has forced a reworking of the area that that now hold the tee box on the third hole, the No. 5 green complex, the No. 6 tee box and the green complex and the huge oaks that guards it on No. 7. Work on the renovation on that part of the course is underway.

Lady Bird Johnson GC has a handsome 10,000-sq-ft. limestone and cedar clubhouse that sits next to the 10th tee and has a fullystocked golf shop, restaurant and a great meeting room for your corporate outings or tournaments. Practice facilities include driving range with 20 hitting stations and two practice greens.

 

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