6 Helpful / 0 Not
There's gold in them hills!
Pros: Update: The course now has huge cement tees and continues to get better over time.
First: this is a beautiful, unique disc golf course. Please be mindful of the fact that it is on a church property and behave appropriately.
ABR provides a unique, extreme disc golf challenge. I'd say the skill level is gold, rather than blue and even par is a very, very good score.
The course is a short drive out of Austin proper, but takes you to a whole other world. The hill country is gorgeous with amazing vistas on the way out. The course itself is on a fantastic wonderland of ups and downs, cool trees, creeks, and offers a good amount of shade.
While the challenge is extreme, it is fair and rewards methodical, calm play. Players who get frustrated and lose their cool will be punished. Players who take their lumps when they come and plot on will take home the bragging rights.
Their are plenty of obstacles and the rough is appropriately punishing, but it's not so thick as to make finding discs overly difficult or punishing on the body.
There is great variety in the challenge. Power and technical requirements are well balanced. There are quite a few greens with drop-off's near the baskets. There are several holes which are candidates for the best in disc golf short list.
Playing this course is a great physical workout. Play here twice a week and you'll be in shape quickly.
Some of the hole highlights include:
Hole 2 is a good example of a very short par 4 with good challenge. The tee shot must be thrown very precisely uphill to set up a short, technical second shot. Standing on the tee pad many will think "this is an easy 3, 4 worst case", but don't take this one for ganted.
Hole 3 is a shortish par 4 at only 530 ft, downhill, but is extremely demanding. The tee shot is tight and then there's enough of a dogleg left to make for a challenging angle to the very picturesque "island" basket, with creeks short and long.
Hole 4 is another quality, shortish par 4 that plays tougher than it looks on paper. The tee shot must navigate a gap and favor the left side of the fairway to set up a tight, uphill, sweeping left to right mid-range second shot to a basket with a drop-off behind.
Hole 6 is a very unique, diabolical short par 3. There is a very tight route directly at the basket. There is also the option to go over the top, preferably with a high, lefty spike hyzer. This is a rare hole shape, but it's a nice gift for lefty's to balance the tons of righty spike hyzer holes in disc golf.
Holes 8, 10, and 13 are additional solid par 4's, somewhat similar to hole 4, but each unique in look and feel.
Hole 9 is a very good medium-long, straight par 3. The hole plays along a high ridge, exposed to tricky winds. There is a tight, low direct route or the option of throwing much higher over the trees, but very much exposed to the winds.
Hole 14 has probably the most fun tee shot on the course. The look is gorgeous and merits taking a minute just to stand and take it in. It offers the opportunity to bomb a downhill, sweeping hyzer to a wide fairway to set up a chance at one of the easier par 4 birdies on the course.
Hole 16 is a magnificent hole. It's a very short, downhill par 4 with eagle potential, but lots of trouble. The decision has to be made on the tee whether to throw a 300 ft mid-range shot to set up a 3 or bust a driver in hopes of a 2. The fairway is very tight and a driver that deflects could make 5 or 6 possible.
Hole 18 has a nice look and provides a very solid challenge to finish the round. Discs can be thrown either left to right or right to left to the uphill basket with water lurking on the left. The wind must be gauged accurately and the shot must be thrown with sufficient power and accuracy to obtain a favorable result.
Cons: I'm a huge fan of ABR and look forward to facing its challenge many more times in the future, but it is not perfect.
ABR is not beginner friendly. The difficult golf and extreme hiking could make for a very frustrating experience for golfers below the intermediate level. There are "red" tees, but most are unmarked and can be difficult to locate.
While it is improving all the time, the course is still green and will take a few years to break in. Some of the fairways are overgrown, making it difficult to strategize without doing a lot of walking up to peek. Some of the growth is encumbering otherwise well designed routes. It is evident that work is continuing with new mulch being added and efforts to control the standing water in a couple of the fairways.
The course does not loop back to the parking area after 9 holes, even though it could. There are several places which could use "next tee" signs. I echo the previous poster who recommended taking a picture of the course map with your phone.
There are a few safety crowding issues. A short drive on hole 1 can hyzer right into hole 3's basket. Holes 6 and 7 crowd each other. Hole 8's basket is very close to hole 9's fairway. The path from hole 9 to 10 crosses hole 12's fairway. A drive on hole 16 that flips over can go screaming into hole 18's tee.
Hole 7 is a 135 footer past a couple small, plinko trees. This type of skill gets tested throughout the course and doesn't really merit being its own hole.
Letter holes. There's no reason. 18 holes are plenty of challenge on this course. Hole A is now my new #1 WTF hole in the world. A 260 ft par 4 straight up a billy-goat rock hill, really?
Hole 12 is a 400 footer down a steep grade with no fairway. Shots must be thrown over the top of the trees, exposed to swirling wind. Yes, the hole can be parked as is, but cutting a couple trees down the middle would make an actual fairway.
Hole 17 is awkwardly jammed between holes 16 and 18.
Other Thoughts: I would rank ABR 4th in the Austin area behind Circle C, East Metro Park, and Roy G., and ahead of Met Center. (although I've yet to play WilCo). ABR will likely become a 4.5 course soon, as work continues.
Don't be a dirty discer; leave the course cleaner than the way you found it.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: WOW!!! This course is truly awesome! You can tell after about 2 holes that this is a Houck course if you've played his courses before. This course has every single shot and you will use every single one that you have. You will have to throw far, throw accurate, and bang those putts, or your score will skyrocket in a hurry….and then some. The course map upfront is a help for newcomers and I highly recommend if this is your first time out here, take a pic of it or get a map cause you will play to a wrong basket and/or need it for navigation issues. Great discatchers are a great sight and help see where you need to go. The signs are awesome and help find the hole for the most part as well. This is truly for the hardcore golfer and you will want to have to play that way or you will hate it. You have to be able to place a shot many times just to get another. Elevation is super cool, especially on B, in which the view is one of the best for sure. The elevation and natural obstacles are great on the greens as well always making a good putt crucial! I like the mulch tees for the most part but they are also a negative as some are very rough. The logged fairways are pretty cool and remind me of a private course up here.
Cons: Navigation can be a hassle here but not too bad as long as you have a little patience and don't mind walking to find some baskets, although I did throw to a wrong basket on one hole costing me 2 strokes. The terrain can be brutal on knees and ankles if you don't pay attention, as my partner rolled his ankle pretty good. As stated before, mulch tees, they are great where they are taken care of, but there are many areas that there are rocks or stumps and sometimes both making for bad footing at times. The fairways of 12 and I think 8/9 cross and there are issues there Im sure when the course is packed. Poor drainage on 13 and 18 make for a muddy transition in those fairways. Still a little rough but Im sure that will be taken care of with people playing this gem.
Other Thoughts: This course is one of the best Ive played and moved in the top 5 of mine after just one play! Worth a stop anytime in the area.
5 of 6 people found this review helpful.
9 Helpful / 18 Not
Pros and Die Hards Only
Pros: You can work with what land a place gives you and John Houck did his very best with this course. Trouble is, John Houck is a pro and most of us disc golfers aren't. I found this course very difficult and impossible to par any hole. It also doesn't hurt to be part mountain goat due to the heavy terrain. Holes 1 through 3 play in a circle around the creek and 2's pro tee plays off a high cliff face. When I played the first hole, I found I had tossed into number 3's basket. Then I found that baskets 1 and 3 aren't numbered. The course just gets worse from there. Hole 4 was probably the best of the next 5 holes I played and please don't get me started on holes A and B. I lost a disc in the brush coming down the hill on B hole. and when I saw the ascent on hole 12' that's where I stopped and went back to the car.
Cons: Too hilly, too difficult, and too long. (It took me 3 hours to play 12 holes). Good course for the pros, but I think the intermediates will have a tough time with this one as well.
Other Thoughts: I have been silent on reviewing most of these Austin courses because of all the unhelpful votes I have been getting on some other courses. If you like your course rugged, tough and almost impossible, then this is your course. As for me, I like Circle C Ranch, Seawright, and Metro. I will stick with them, thank you!
9 of 27 people found this review helpful.
One of the top 3 in Austin area, easily
10 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: [UPDATE: November 2012]
All Teepads are installed except for #7. Instant Rating increase of 1/2 star. The best tees in Austin behind Roy G.
The long tees are incredible, they made these customized trapezoids and you can really tell the angles were chosen to allow for both righty/lefty or backhand/sidearm run-ups.
The short tees are not quite as nice being very short and rectangular, but you don't really need a huge run-up on them anyway. I find them suitable for their intended purpose.
They have also added and improved steps to walk up the steep hill on #2, it's looking great! They have nice bridges right where you need them.
. . . . . . .
My favorite courses have plenty of technical woods holes and elevation, and this place will not disappoint in those regards. Beautiful technical woods holes with plenty of elevation and creek running throughout.
Lots of true Par 4's, maybe even half the holes? This is a great thing.
There are so many unique holes that you simply will not find elsewhere in this area. There was also water threatening a lot of holes, making them even more scenic and challenging.
The only places in Texas that I have played so far that have a similar mix of length, difficulty, technicality, beauty/scenery, water, and elevation are Lake Nacogdoches and Selah Ranch.
Cons: Debris is still being cleared from the fairways. There are all kinds of improved routes now, though.
#1 can trick you into throwing at the #3 basket if you don't know the layout.
#10 is a BEAST from the long tee, I'm not sure it's actually fair in it's current condition. The left route needs to be groomed badly. The right route is also very tight and leaves you with a crazy difficult 2nd shot. Only people that can throw a huge anny flex over the treetops have an advantage here.
#12 needs a true fairway up the middle. I would guess only 5-10% of all drives end up with something resembling a putt. I have rarely had a putt opportunity after my drive on 20+ attempts. Most of them end up in the woods or way off the "fairway" at best.
#13 has a major drainage issue with standing water, but as of October 2012 they are cutting a ditch for it (AWESOME)! This same hole needs some additional fairway "grooming". I'm sure they have it in the works.
Alternate holes A & B should not be played for minis/tourneys. You can play outstanding true golf on every other hole, but either of these 2 can kill your game. You can't see either basket from the tee. The B-hole could really use a super tall flag or something on top of the basket. I think they remove a certain amount of fairness from a normal round, and am glad they are "alternates".
Lack of benches, so bring a stool. Not cart-friendly due to extreme hilly terrain.
Only other con is that it needs to be played more to be really broken in and that only comes with time.
Other Thoughts: This course is very physical and difficult, which are two things that casual disc golfers are not used to, and the main reasons for most of the lower rated reviews.
Once the debris gets removed and the last few teepads and fairways finished, this will be the best course in the Austin area in my opinion. Far more unique than Roy G., and better elevation/beauty/water than Circle C.
If you are going for the first time, you should probably play doubles, it is a fantastic dubs course.
Listen to the other reviewers: Bring more water and less discs! Eliminate any redundancies in your bag before the round, your back will thank you.
If you are carrying more than a dozen discs out here you need to rethink your bag. Your score WILL suffer later in the round from fatigue.
You can play one round here and feel like you played two rounds somewhere else. It can take 3+ hours if you play with a group and have to search for the occasional lost disc. But now with all the short tees, you can play in < 2 hours if you want to speed hike it.
10 of 11 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 31 Not
I only needed my putter.
Pros: frequent benches at the tee pads
fairly easy to navigate although the map was necessary at times.
Not busy at all. Well shaded.
Cons: I'm not a huge fan of the dirt tee pads. They were often unevenly warn, and make difficult holes even harder.
Other Thoughts: I hated this course, but i'm not good enough to shoot through a 30 foot hole 150 feet away. Unfortunately, I tried, and often ended up ridiculously punished in close trees and brush. I like a course that rewards good shots, and punishes bad shots. I felt that this course required amazing shots as even my decent shots were punished.
This is the only course that i've shot a putter off the teepad on a 450 foot hole (16). I was so sick of playing out of the effing trees at that point that rather than try to shoot a tunnel off the tee, i just threw my putter, and hoped it landed in the middle. I had the same score as my partner who tried a traditional strategy of driving. That sums up this course for me. I could have scored just as well throwing my putter 75 feet per throw.
And that's why I feel this course is horrible, because I'm seriously sitting here thinking, "i could probably do just as well throwing my putter." Yes my pars and birdies would go down, but my double, triple, and quadruple bogeys would decrease too. Overall, I think I'd come out on top.
How much fun would that be! Everyone wants to play a course where they just give up. I like a hole with a high risk/reward option. "option" being the key word. Hole 18 did this well for me. I saw the options as "Forehand over the pond with a direct line to the basket for birdie or par" and "Forehand over the bank landing in the drainage ditch for par or bogey". A large number of other holes didn't have this option. It was "shoot this gap or pick up at least a stroke and probably two (one to get back on the fairway)."
This course (and most of the john houck designed courses in the area) make me glad that I don't live in Austin.
I hated this course.
6 of 37 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: All 20 baskets are back in place. Many holes sheltered from the wind on a windy day today. Terrific design and execution of course layout; lots of elevation and sharp turns on holes of all lengths. Requires a great variety of shots. A really unique and fun course.
Cons: Perhaps not the best course to bring a beginner or young child to, as the walk/hike is pretty challenging. Tee boxes could use leveling out too; right now they are still covered in mulch, but flat packed dirt areas have been cleared away for a more even take-off area.
Other Thoughts: Expect a workout and bring water. Hiking boots or other good footing shoes a big plus. My bag ended up being too heavy for the course, so bring only the discs you will throw. Also helpful is the course map which you can download from this site. This is a REALLY FUN course, so be prepared for a challenge and a good time.
6 of 7 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 4 Not
First time out
Pros: Very well managed course and baskets are well marked for the most part.
Cons: Lots of climbing and requires good shoes for safe footing.
Other Thoughts: No complaints for the most part. The course is a nice course but not for the feint of heart. Enjoyed the brisk workout with the occasional break to find a misplaced disc. Look forward to playing this course more regularly.
1 of 5 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 1 Not
Great Hill Country Course
Pros: - Overall design. John Houck does it again. The layout and consistency from hole to hole is great. Never had to search for the next tee.
- Hole design. The pins and tees are in great spots, making what are usually easy approaches harder.
- Hike and views. Be sure to play the bonus holes A and B. The view from the top is awesome looking West towards Lake Travis.
Cons: - Teeboxes. They were mulch and dirt. Rubber launch pads would be a HUGE improvement.
Other Thoughts: Great course just 15 mins from Austin. Go play it and get better. We played the Blue (longer) tees and it's a monster, true Houck.
4 of 5 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Short to Really Long Holes
Short holes dont worry about overshooting cause lots of Trees to stop you
Long Ranged Holes are mostly open and easy to park at the pin.
Cons: Really Hilly and Really Long,
Get ready for a Hike.
Watch for Water hazards, very dangerous and NASTY looking water.
Bull Needle beware, you are not gonna leave this course without getting caught by these things.
Other Thoughts: Bring LOTS of Water!
1 of 2 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: Very wooded and hilly. Different than any other course I have played. Not a crowded course, at least on sundays. Two unique 'bonus holes". Very clean for the most part. Nice course map at the beginning and signs for each hole. Trash cans and benches at the start of some holes.
Cons: Baskets on holes 1, 3 and 18 are missing. Some holes criss-cross each other, which can be a problem if a disc suddenly comes out of nowhere and flies right into your temple. We noticed some broken glass in the parking lot, possibly from a car window. Not too many holes where you could throw your driver. Some teeboxes are not level and have roots/stumps in them, making your drive a little hazardous. Grafitti on the baskets already. There is a lot of walking up and down hills and in the summer this might wear some people out. Bring water!
Other Thoughts: This course is worth checking out.
1 of 3 people found this review helpful.
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