The Takeaway: Summit Rock was better than my expectations which is always good, especially since I have pretty high expectations for Jack Nicklaus designs. The variety of hole lengths, shapes, and challenges was excellent and the natural feeling of the course throughout the property was impressive. From holes where you can cut loose the driver to holes that require more careful planning, Summit Rock offers a bit of everything and adds up to one of the finest courses in the Lone Star State. Grade B+
Designer: Jack Nicklaus in 2012
Phone Number: (830) 265-5714
Course Website: Official Website - Visit Summit Rock Golf Club's official website by clicking on the link provided.
Directions: Get here! - 819 Summit Rock Blvd., Horseshoe Bay, TX
Accolades: Ranked 13th in Texas on Golf Digest's 2015-16 Best in State list.
What to Expect: Jack Nicklaus' creation in the Hill Country 50 miles northwest of Austin features a delightful setting with expansive views, mature oaks, and numerous memorable elevation changes throughout the routing. The natural terrain and landscape is highlighted throughout the property while the creeks and streams add beauty and variety to the course. The course has an upper portion of the property that brings views of LBJ Lake and the surrounding property into sight while the lower property utilizes the oak trees to frame the holes. The conditioning throughout the course is great without being so lush and green that it feels out of place in the natural surroundings. At times, Nicklaus courses can feel a bit extreme in terms of bunkering and building artificial features, but the contours and visuals at Summit Rock feel more natural and universally appealing. Being a member at Summit Rock gets you playing privileges at the other three Horseshoe Bay Resort courses and amenities. Built in 2012, Summit Rock is a newcomer to the area that will quickly gain accolades and popularity.
By the Numbers
Individual Hole Analysis
Signature Hole: 13th Hole – 347 Yard Par 4 – The second of two driveable par fours at Summit Rock, this downhill hole features more trouble than the short 7th hole. Missing to the right will likely result in a lost ball while going left will be gnarly but recoverable. The best line off the tee is the left edge of the green when attempting to drive the green or staying left of that line when laying up. It is an exciting hole to play and great views afforded from the tee.
Best Par 3: 12th Hole – 230 Yards – Nicklaus captures some of the best views on the course at this downhill one-shotter. Plenty of room is afforded to the right where the slope in the hill will kick balls onto the green while missing left is death. The downhill tee shot and miles of views makes the 12th hole one of Summit Rock's finest.
Best Par 4: 11th Hole – 498 Yards – My favorite approach on the course is found at this lengthy par four that appears rather unassuming off the tee. After carrying the natural grass area off the tee, the fairway doglegs right and descends well downhill to a green that angles away from front left to back right and is fronted by a bunker complex. The downhill shot into the green is exciting to watch hang extra long in the air with anticipation whether you judged the distance correctly and rewarded accordingly.
Best Par 5: 5th Hole – 587 Yards – The 5th proves itself to be more impressive the further into the hole you get. The tee shot plays over a ravine to a crowned fairway that blocks a view of the green from the tee. Upon reaching the top of the crown players are presented with an impressive downhill view of the green framed by a tree covered hillside. The state of Texas doesn't have a lot of elevation changes so playing in the Hill Country where some more dramatic hole designs can exist is a welcome treat.
Birdie Time: 7th Hole – 323 Yard Par 4 – The first and shortest of two driveable par fours, the main protection to this hole are the three trees fronting the green. The safe play to the left delivers a favorable angle into the green while missing to the right will leave your ball in a natural thick grass and tree area. The wide green demands distance control when on the attack but the short length of the hole more than makes up for any demands.
Bogey Beware: 10th Hole – 469 Yard Par 4 – An excellent hole that can fool you visually. The trees blocking part of the fairway on the left side lure players into attacking the bunkers on the right in hopes of carrying them, however most players will fail. The approach shot plays well uphill to a narrow and protected green that is very demanding to stick. Not only is the 10th hole one of the best at Summit Rock, it is its most demanding and rewarding.