Forest Creek Golf Club in Round Rock: A green escape from Austin's tech corridor
ROUND ROCK, Texas - Austin's northern suburbs are at certain points a concrete jungle of highways and toll roads all servicing a rapidly growing population, home to tech corporations like Dell and Cypress Semiconductor.
But you just have to head off them a few miles to find yourself on more secluded two-lane back roads, eventually winding their way to Forest Creek Golf Club in Round Rock.
The Dick Phelps design from 1990 comes with a championship yardage of 7,147 yards and is tough enough to host the Central Texas Amateur each July, which features a very strong field of tournament-caliber area players.
As the name implies, the golf course is moderately wooded, though a newer residential community has made the course a little more built up than it was originally. It also features a creek winding through many of the holes, including holes No. 5 through 10 and 13 holes total on the course routing.
But the course requires more finesse than it does length, especially with several severe doglegs and well-placed trees that require shot-shaping or keen placement on the shot prior. One of the tightest holes is the 445-yard fourth hole
On a few other holes, especially the par 5s, you can really rip it. If the par-5 16th tee doesn't have you opening up your shoulders and giving a little grunt, no hole here will. It's an especially wide-open fairway that doglegs right but leaves plenty of space left, too. And if you miss it right a little, chances are you'll be even better off than a straight ball.
Both nines at Forest Creek Golf Club finish with a real bang. No. 18 is a long par 4 that has a relatively small landing zone, but what makes it even smaller is that if your drive finds the right side of the fairway, chances are you'll be blocked out by trees on your approach to the elevated green. And to make things even more complicated, a creek runs below the hole and swallows up (severely) poor approach shots.
The ninth is even more delicate despite being a little shorter. It's also a dogleg left (there are far more dogleg rights than lefts here) that is protected by water in the fairway both short-left and long-right, plus a wide bunker swallows up balls through the dogleg. Then, another elevated green, this one even smaller and well-guarded, awaits shots from a sloped fairway.
Forest Creek Golf Club: The verdict
Forest Creek features a solid and affordable championship golf experience north of Austin in Round Rock that plays as long as you could ask for. A newer, upscale residential community has since been built around the golf course, but it doesn't encroach on the fairways in most spots.
The terrain is gently rolling with a lot of water meandering through and some well-placed trees to require some good shot placement or ball shaping to score. The greens are also kept in a fast condition. One hole in particular, the par-3 eighth hole, features a massive, sloped green that, depending on the pin position, could easily yield four-putts.
Forest Creek's facilities include a three-tiered driving range and two short game greens, one for putting and some chipping, while the other has a practice bunker and fairway grass that lets you hit pitch shots up to about 40 yards.
The club also has outing and conference space, and the grill, while small and casual, serves up breakfast and lunch food, including an especially delicious breakfast taco.
Forest Creek Golf Club green fees are currently $49 including golf cart, though the course is walker-friendly with no real long walks between holes.
February 13, 2009