Olympia Hills: Home to San Antonio's Toughest 3-Hole Stretch

Olympia Hills Golf CouseThe picturesque Texas Hill Country that extends well northwest of San Antonio all but dissipates by the time you reach the northeastern suburb of Universal City, making the sharp terrain and dramatic elevation changes present at Olympia Hills Golf Couse surprising sights to say the least. The unexpected landscape is like a Hill Country enclave or a last stand of sorts.

This geographical anomaly is a perfect fit to house Olympia Hills, one of the city’s most intriguing golf destinations for a number of reasons.

Owned by the city, Olympia Hills is anything but what you would expect from a municipal course. With championship-caliber conditions created through consistent maintenance practices such as overseeding tees, fairways and greens, the on-course quality more closely resembles that of an upscale daily-fee or resort course. However, the affordability of Olympia Hills is more in line with a city-owned golf course. 

“Championship golf for half the cost,” said Olympia Hills General Manager Jason Wiedeman. “That’s our main focus.”

In addition to offering golfers great value, Olympia Hills is capable of presenting quite a stringent challenge. When it was recently re-rated by the United States Golf Association, the course ranked as the second hardest in the San Antonio area just behind the Palmer Course at La Canterra based on slope and rating.

Characterized by a variety of elevation changes, with some areas rising and falling as much as 80 feet, this Finger Dye Spann design necessitates a good warm-up session on the range by immediately introducing the golfer to the most difficult nine.

The front side features relatively tight, tree-lined fairways, framed greens and risk-reward opportunities at every turn.

Olympia Hills: Home to San Antonio¼s Toughest 3-Hole Stretch

“Even from the amateur tees it’s quite a test,” said Wiedeman. “It’s definitely the harder of the two. It’s shaped like a big horseshoe with no holes side-by-side. If you go right or left there’s a good chance you’ll find trouble. To play well you’ll need to hit the ball straight throughout the first nine.”

The highlight of the front nine is the three-hole stretch from 6-8 that’s as difficult as any in the San Antonio area. Colonial Country Club has “The Horrible Horseshoe,” Palm Beach’s PGA National has the “Bear Trap,” and who could forget Augusta National’s “Amen Corner.”

Wiedeman said the only element his course’s stretch of brutal back-to-back-to-back holes is missing is the name. He added that efforts have been underway to develop a name, but thus far nothing has stuck. Suggestions from anyone who plays 6-7-8 are certainly welcome.

The action begins at the boomerang-shaped par-5 6th that is truly a three-shot hole. In order to set yourself with a decent birdie try, you’ll need to play three shots nearly to perfection. Even if you cut the corner, you’re left 225-250 yards out to a green complex fronted by a creek.

Olympia Hills Golf Couse

The 240-yard par-3 7th is the most difficult par 3 on the golf course. Even from the white (220) and gold (200) tees, finding a birdie is a rare occurrence.

The conclusion to Olympia Hills’ disastrous stretch has a habit of being quite cruel; the 474-yard par-4 8th is the No. 1 handicapped hole on the course. Even from an elevated tee box, reaching the green often requires a fairway metal.

“That stretch has ruined more good rounds than any stretch out there,” said Wiedeman. “We see a lot of people licking their wounds by the time they get to the clubhouse after No. 9.”

Olympia Hills also has a host of off-course amenities in order to accommodate corporate outings, tournaments and special events, as well as an ample practice facility.

The 8,000-square-foot clubhouse serves as the nerve center for events such as wedding receptions and banquets. The actual conference room is 5,000 square feet of meeting and party space.

The full-length driving range has nearly 15,000 square feet of teeing ground. There’s also a practice green, target greens and a chipping area complete with practice bunkers. In total, the short game area is roughly 10,000 square feet. A new putting green was recently installed in front of the clubhouse.

For more information about Olympia Hills or to make a tee time, visit www.olympiahillsgolf.com.

 

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