The Golf Club Star Ranch

Enjoy the friendly bounces but respect the course and its challenges!

The Golf Club Star RanchBy Steve Habel
Special to The Golfers Guide

If you are a golfer looking for a fair but challenging course in line with the most ballyhooed tracts in the Central Texas region, you are going to enjoy teeing it up at The Golf Club Star Ranch in this small suburb just north of Austin.

Designed by Austin-based golf course architect Roy Bechtol with help from Carter Mor-rish and Randy Russell, Star Ranch - an 18-hole facility that plays to a par of 71 and 7,017 yards of golf from the back set of tees - opened in 2001 on the former site of the Timmerman Ranch.

In the ranch’s stead, a Hill Country golfing experience has taken shape as the course fulfills its promise as both a test and a reward for golfers of all skill levels, following the natural rolling contours of the land while using a central lake and prevailing wind to create an experience both formidable and fun. The course is rated at 73.8 and it has a slope of 131 on Bermuda grass.

This track also features a massive stone clubhouse, restaurant and lounge that combine with the very best in architecture, topography development and management. And thanks to Star Ranch’s “all-inclusive” package that applies to play scheduled before 2:22 p.m. each day, you get a round of golf with cart, unlimited range balls and breakfast and lunch for one low rate. Replays, as available, can be had for just $10.

Highlights of the front side are: the 455-yard second hole, which plays with the predominantly south wind and to a green that is bracketed on both sides by sand; the 451-yard third hole, which turns back into the wind and is a near twin to the second hole, just in reverse and with a large mound in the middle of the fairway to navigate; No. 5, which at 582 yards is ranked as the hardest hole at Star Ranch; the 357-yard sixth, a sharp dogleg-left with water down the entire left side of the fairway; and the eighth, which - at a lengthy 474 yards from the back tee makes the drive crucial.

On the back side, No. 10 is a dogleg right 453-yard tester, with bunkers on either side of the green. The 11th hole again gives you the wind at your back and, despite, its 446 yards it is not punitive unless you are weak with your driver. On the approach, four sand traps play sentinel to the putting surface.

Grip it and rip it at the 13th hole, which, at 532 yards, is a reachable par-five and poses little trouble until you get to the green.

The fun really begins at the 14th, which at 376 yards, challenges you to hit a 3-wood or a long iron between two sets of fairway bunkers to a landing area that is down hill. The shallow, three-tiered green sits on rock ledge, with a stream in front to catch drives that are too long and a cactus garden behind the green to put a premium of your approach.

No. 16 at Star Ranch is a 427-yard par-4 that sports a cactus garden about 160 yards from the green and bordering the left side of the fairway - it’s like a magnet for golf balls; alas, the area is considered ground under repair and you get a drop for relief.

You head home with a little present - a 507-yard par-5 that plays uphill and features a huge false front to the putting surface. Three bunkers guard the front of the green, so you will have to fly your ball to the top of the hill.

Star Ranch’s also features a 55,000-square-foot driving range and short game area with multiple teeing areas, six target greens, five bunkers, two chipping greens and rolling terrain for every golf shot in the bag.

A round at Star Ranch is always enjoyable. Expect to shoot a few strokes better than normal here, thanks to the courses friendly bounces and playability But don’t take Star Ranch for granted - it is a true and fair challenge.


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