one of Austin's best
4 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: -excellent terrain on a beautiful property with lots of hills, trees, a creek, a pond, etc
-concrete tees with dual tees on most holes (13)
-excellent course design with lots of challenging holes
-makes great use of the natural obstacles
-the rough is punishing for your score but disc retrieval is not too bad
-several picturesque holes and memorable shots
-two wild bonus holes at the top of the hill
Cons: -some places tend to get a little overgrown, even more so from the long tees
-the rocky ground and hills make for dangerous conditions after the rain
-the walk from hole 9 to hole 10 crosses hole 12 which is a blind, downhill bomb so watch your head
-hole 13 must have some kind of spring underground nearby, it's been wet every time i've played
-the pars are a bit generous for the short tees
-course map is now missing from the kiosk
-definitely not a beginner-friendly course, expect to struggle if you can't throw at least 200' with high accuracy
Other Thoughts: Austin Ridge Bible Church has matured into a great course. This almost entirely wooded track is exactly what you would expect from a John Houck design and the course is getting to be pretty well worn so the lines are fair and the trails are mostly pretty easy to follow. In classic Houck fashion there are tight lines and many holes that require accurate placement off the tee to set up the following shot, plus a plinko hole or two (this course has two, 7 & 15).
The course makes great use of the natural features of this gorgeous hill country terrain. There are small ravines and a creek in the area around hole 1-3 & 6-7, the middle holes 8-12 plus the bonus holes play across a scrubby wooded hillside, the backside features some longer fairways, and the final two holes make use of a small pond. Some of my favorite spots are hole 3 with its picture perfect green next to the creek, hole 17 the green nestled next to the pond, the short but demanding uphill hole 11, and the downhill bomb on hole 12.
The holes are challenging and require accuracy and a good game plan. There are 8 par 4 holes (9 if you count the bonus holes) and each of them requires a well-placed shot off the tee to have a look at a birdie. An eagle doesn't seem likely on any of them either. The short tees have the same par as the long tees but at least half of the par 4 holes should probably be par 3 on the shorts.
I really like this course; it is easily one of my favorites in Austin. It seems like a lot of the early reviews don't reflect the current condition of the course. The tees and signs are great and the lines are fair but tight. It is typical Houck in that regard so if you live in Texas and have played many Houck courses you know what that means and what to expect, although it is perhaps a little shorter and more wooded than other Houck courses. A must play for serious golfers.
**Like this review? Hate it? Message me and let me know why! I want to make them better!**
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
One of Austin's best
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Good teesigns
Concrete teepads on all holes.
Two teepads on most holes.
Good variety of shots required.
Good variety of hole shapes and lengths.
Pretty isolated, nice scenery.
Houck design, meaning clearly defined lines and landing zones on all holes, even if they are hard to hit sometimes.
Benches and trashcans on some holes (~1/3 or 1/4)
Creek in play on 4 or 5 holes makes a fun challenge with little chance of losing a disc.
Pond throwover on 18, the long tee is a good challenge and the short tee is reachable for most players. Also, easy to bail out to the right if you don't want to risk the water at all.
Good elevation changes, especially for Texas.
Cons: No water (for drinking)
Limited restroom facilities.
Difficult terrain, rocky and uneven.
Difficult to navigate the first few times.
Discs can be surprisingly difficult to find in the "cedar forest."
Bonus holes 11A and 11B are both blind landings, I don't play either by myself (see above con).
Discs lost in the pond on 17 or 18 are usually difficult to retrieve due to cattails.
Could use more benches and trashcans.
No long open holes (not really a con for me, but I know some people love to bomb).
Other Thoughts: This is generally agreed to be one of the top 3 or 4 courses in the Austin area, and is many people's #1. The level of play is not necessarily too hard for beginners, but due to the lack of water and the difficult terrain this is a course that one needs to be prepared for, whether beginner or pro. Navigation can be a bit tough, so it would certainly help to have a map or guide the first few times. The Houck design means it is often tough but fair. Short and long teepads let you choose the level of challenge, although I have been told the course was "meant to be played" from the longs, and the longs are certainly more epic shots or more strategic shots on many holes.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 0 Not
Challenge Accepted - This Course Will Provide You With It
Pros: - tight tunnels
- challenging lines
- changing elevation
- accuracy/consistency is rewarded
- beautiful layout and serene setting
- Hole 11A/11B provides great rewards with scenic views
Cons: - limited restroom facilities at location
- no water outlets on site
- people leave their trash (Pack In/Pack Out)
- better signage to direct from holes 11B towards hole 13+ across the road (follow the paths downhill)
- Basket 11B markings (tall pole no longer visible near basket)
- do not play this course alone unless you have played it before (you can get lost or it simply takes a long time to find your discs in the rough)
Other Thoughts: This is one of the original and challenging John Houck designs, so if you are expecting a "casual" round, you should honestly look elsewhere.
The "Backyard" as it is known is a GREAT course for almost all levels of players; only because I think beginners should avoid these challenges unless they are paying a penance for previous disc golf transgressions.
**Most people put "Cons" noting the long course, the difficulty level, the rocky ground, etc. To me that is not a "Con" it is a "Pro" so that you will know what to expect. After you play here, you will learn what level of disc golf you enjoy most and what you need to improve on or sustain in your DG game.**
The course is challenging with tight fairways, significant elevation changes, rocky walks, uneven ground, and water/OB/rough locations that can sometimes be unforgivable.
Al holes offer there own unique challenges to individual throwers.
Hole 11A/11B are always a challenge since you are throwing up/down a sharp angle.
Hole 17/18 have challenging OB's with the water
Disc golf is not always about the casual round and if you want to strengthen your game while enjoying the serenity of the Austin outdoors, come here and give it a try.
Notes: Bring lots of water and energy snacks because the course is long. RESPECT the area and the course since the church graciously allows players on their property (this is PRIVATE land). Lastly, have fun since this is a true gem of a course that allows you some great disc golf opportunities and fun.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Lots of shot variation. Good amount of right to left, and left to right shots. Most holes have rather tight fairways which is in most circumstances a plus. I really enjoyed the overall play of the course and the hole variety. The structure of the course itself is great. The par is also fair on nearly every hole and risk/reward comes into play constantly when deciding what shots to throw.
Cons: Flow and navigation. Some of the tees for the next hole can be tough to find if you haven't played here before. Took me a lot longer to play the course the first time simply because I would spend a few minutes after most holes looking for the next tee box. If a few more signs were added around the course that would be great. Also, I'm really not a fan of holes 11A, 11B and 12. The elevation on these holes is really extreme with tons of trees, which is a recipe for losing discs.
Other Thoughts: This course is not a beginners course! Much more difficult than other nearby courses such as Zilker. This course asks for many difficult shots and requires solid all around disc golf game in order to post a good round.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: Good degree of elevation change and moderately to heavily wooded depending on the hole.
Pro and amateur tees.
Mostly well maintained, only missing a few hole maps.
Cons: Missing a few tee markers/hole maps, but all baskets currently in place.
Other Thoughts: Review based on experience of other Austin courses, don't know how those compare to other areas of the country.
0 of 3 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: -very challenging course, my personal opinion that it is the hardest in the austin area, just a tad harder than manor
-concrete boxes, multiple tees
-variety of length, shot types, and elevation
-very low traffic
-great wooded country atmosphere
Cons: -extremely rough terrain, rocky and hilly, suffered a high ankle spraign on hole 2 first time there, watch your follow through on jump putts, legs will feel it after the round
-some unfair holes with some serious luck factor=only thing keeping it from a 4.5
-downhill extra hole, easy to send a disc bye bye with even a slightly errant shot, i talk to alot of people that skip this hole
Other Thoughts: pretty much all has been said, a very challenging course, both in terms of shots and terrain, would definately recommend it for advanced to open players, just wont be as much fun for the casual player
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 0 Not
Different and challenging
Pros: Really really technically challenging course. Having a big bomb drive will help, BUT only if you are super accurate with it. You will be shooting through very narrow tunnels, and if there's a chance for you to bomb it high and outside of the treeline, you'd better make sure it's a perfect throw otherwise you will be climbing a tree somewhere.
The course itself is very beautiful with nice views and a lot of variety.
Not too many people play this course, so it's usually nice and quiet.
Also if you work downtown and want to get a game in after work, the road is really pretty quiet and you can get out there in 10 minutes or so. Way faster than waiting on mopac or lamar for 45 mins to get to zilker. Cross the river at Redbud, left on westlake, then a right on bee caves. Easy.
Cons: It IS difficult. I know i have that in both my pros and cons list. It's a positive if you're good and really want to work on your accuracy and approach game. It's a negative if you're with somebody that isn't at that level yet.
DO NOT BRING YOUR BUDDY OUT WHO IS TRYING TO LEARN. They will get frustrated. You will get frustrated. Everyone around will get frustrated.
Tee boxes aren't bad but would be much nicer if they were concrete.
Layout/Navigation is very confusing if you've only played it a couple times. The signs pointing you to the next tee box are misleading.
BE SURE TO TAKE A PICTURE OF THE MAP AT THE ENTRANCE. It's a lifesaver.
Other Thoughts: There's a lot of overgrown areas, even on fairways. Don't wear flip flops. Heck, don't even wear your chacos and hipster jorts. Wear some good shoes (you will be climbing some steep cliffs and walking ALOT) and either long socks or long pants. I haven't encountered any poison ivy, but there is definitely stickers and bramble that will tear your ankles apart.
Don't get frustrated. It's a tough course. Just keep playing smart. Don't try to power your way to pars and birdies if you're not super accurate with drives. Play to your strengths and be methodical and you will enjoy your course.
Keep in mind you're on a church property that is kind enough to offer this course and keep it maintained. Don't bring a cooler of beer out here (you don't want to be carrying it up cliffs anyway), and try not to scream out the curse words when you inevitably double-bogey on a seemingly easy hole. Share the love and keep it clean.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
7 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.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
11 Helpful / 1 Not
One of the top 3 in Austin area, easily
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.
11 of 12 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.
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