THE COURSE

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The course at Austin Country Club has long been recognized as one of the very best in the state, and one of the most unique designs anywhere. It is also a supreme championship test--in addition to hosting the Harvey Penick Invitational, Austin Country Club has hosted numerous Texas state championships, most recently the Texas Mid-Amateur in 2009 and the Texas State Amateur in 2011. Austin Country Club is a regular site for USGA qualifiers, including the U.S. Open, and was the longtime host of the Morris Williams Intercollegiate, one of the nation’s premier college golf tournaments. Designed by Pete Dye, one of the world’s top architects, the course has been characterized as a “complex and guileful challenge”.

With its deep pot bunkers, undulating turf, and dramatic 18th hole fairway fall, the course is a reflection of the inspiration that Dye drew from the classics of Scotland, as well as a testament to his ability to apply that inspiration to a dramatic Texas Hill Country setting. Dye’s trademark railroad ties, reminiscent of the “sleepers” at Prestwick, are used in bulkheads. A Texas accent is added by extensive use of massive limestone slabs, quarried on site, to build revetments for tees, greens and fairways. Like the land where the game was born, the course has its “highlands” and its “lowlands”. Holes three through seven, nearest the lake, are the lowlands, while the rest of the course is higher and more typical of the Texas Hill Country.

The course embodies Dye’s principle of playing to restricted targets.

Indiscriminate play simply to the close-mown area of the fairway will only by accident provide a comfortable approach. Similarly, a good birdie chance or an easy two-putt is unlikely unless the approach is precise enough to end on a particular part of the green. Yet aggressive play to the most desired targets often crowds the course’s hazards, which are bold and amply-provided. Players are best advised to remember Harvey Penick’s trademark starting advice, “Take dead aim!” This course demands the player’s concentration and thoughtful attention.