Omni Barton Creek Coore & Crenshaw Cliffside Golf Course Review
Omni Barton Creek Coore & Crenshaw Cliffside Golf Course
Teachers’ Comments: Thoroughly pleasant
The Coore & Crenshaw Cliffside course at Omni Barton Creek in Austin offers a thoroughly pleasant round of golf. The course is in one sense a traditional parklands design with parallel fairways separated by light scatterings of trees and tees that follow closely after greens. In another sense, it is a more adventurous design, taking full advantage of the natural contours of the Texas hill country. Crenshaw Cliffside’s inviting fairways roll uphills and down, along the plateau and over wild canyons and creeks.
Holes at the Omni Barton Creek Cliffside are for the most part straightforward affairs: play a tee shot down the length of the fairway, then angle in to the green. My playing partners — course regulars — were kind enough to point out which side of the fairway offered the best angles. It is not always obvious to the newcomer; the rolling terrain often obscures the destination.
A few of the holes have serious carries. The opening hole requires an uphill shot across a pond. The carry is only 165 or so, but it looks much longer. The par five twelfth requires a 190-plus yard carry. From the tips, the sixteenth requires a 250 yard carry. Fortunately, from the more humane blue tees, it’s just over 200 yards. I uncorked by best drive in a very long time on this hole, fading a ball over the chasm and catching the downslope which you can’t see, but is just beyond the big tree in the photo at the far right front of the gap. The eighteenth (photo at top) finishes with a long carry over a canyon to a green suspended on a hillside.
As you might expect from one of the best putters to ever play the game, the greens at Crenshaw’s Cliffside require careful study. I got through the round by thinking “lets just get this first one in a three foot radius.”
The Coore & Crenshaw Cliffside is a par 71. From the tips, it stretches to 6, 630 yards and plays to a 70.8/121. The men’s middle tees come in at 6, 152 and play to a 68.6/116. A bogey golfer should be able to post a nice score here.
My favorite hole was the par five second, which bends left, then right, then left, then right again to the green. From the tee, two lines are offered. A shot to the left takes advantage of the widening fairway, and will leave a safe second. A more risky attack is to hit the ball directly over the trees on the fairway’s right side. That could make the hole as much as thirty yards shorter. However, it also puts bunkers on the right of the green into play. On the second shot, a big hitter could try for the slightly uphill green. A more safe option would be to lay up, then play a wedge to the green. There are a lot of different ways to play this hole, and I really like that.
Another hole I enjoyed was the steeply downhill, 317 yard par 4 fourteenth. I love this sort of roller-coaster shot. The hole curves slightly right, and the green is narrow, so hugging the left side is the play. A downward slope to trouble on the right is another reason to keep to the other side. The hole is short enough that — with the height — a big hitter may be tempted to go for the green. The curve, angle of the green and narrow opening between trees makes that a risky proposition.
I also thought that the Crenshaw Cliff’s par threes were noteworthy. Each took advantage of topography to demand interesting shots. The fifth is a 210 yard (from the tips) shot from one plateau to another, across a depression to a green angled slightly away from the landing strip of fairway. The eighth is a downhill 173 yarder to a green in a bowl-like depression. The slope of the bowl and green were such that my shot, which was a little right and a little short bounced down to the green near the hole. The 185 yard eleventh is a dramatic shot from a hilltop across a gulf to a narrow, angled green. The 160 yard thirteenth is a slightly uphill shot across a ravine to a plateau, guarded on the left and right by menacing bunkers. Finally, the 142 yard seventeenth is a shot across a deep, rick and tree filled chasm to a green perched on a cliffside. Both my shot, and those of one of my partners missed the green long and hit the hillside behind, only to roll down and onto the green.
For drama, I don’t think you can beat the 393 yard par 4 eighteenth (top of page). The tee shot seems pedestrian — an uphill poke at a wide fairway. Once that hill is crested, however, players are presented with a white knuckle second — across a ravine to the narrow width of a long green, fronted by deep faced bunkers. Choose your club wisely. Long left is okay. Short, or long right will quickly blow up a score.
Conditions on the February day I played Crenshaw Cliffs were quite good, all things considered. Given the fine off-season conditioning, I would venture to say that in-season, Crenshaw Cliffs is first rate.
The Omni Barton Creek Coore & Crenshaw Cliffside Golf Course Review is based on a round played February 22, 2017. More photos are below: