One of four 18-hole designs at the Barton Creek resort, the Fazio Foothills layout - which celebrated the silver anniversary of its inauguration in 2011 - was constructed on an undulating site that permits the routing to change elevation several times during a round.
When coming to the Capital of Texas it's likely many will make their visit to the mega resort -- Barton Creek. The facility was recently updated via new ownership with Omni at the helm and the range of golf options is quite good.
The Foothills Course was the first of two Tom Fazio designs here -- the other came a few years later with the Canyons. I have already opined on the quality of the Canyons and I do believe it's the best of the golf offerings at Barton Creek.
However, Foothills is very good and Fazio has skillfully done enough on the challenge side without overdosing the difficulty meter. It helps matters to have quality terrain here in the Hill Country. The holes are sequestered so you can truly enjoy the flow of the terrain and the way Fazio has routed them. The concluding par-3 9th is especially well done -- played over a menacing creek with a very deep green.
Resort golf is often a difficult proposition -- you want to entertain customers but not overwhelm them to the point where lost balls are the norm and the frustration overwhelms them. Foothills is done well -- you can't score effectively without driving it well but your ego won't take a major league pounding with lost balls via high rough. What often happens at Foothills is fairways tapering the longer a drive is hit
Although much is mentioned of the closing uphill par-5 with the hidden cave just short of the green it is the par-4 16th which is truly a top notch hole. The hole moves slightly right in the drive zone and the par-4 422-yard hole plays to a green fiercely protected by a water penalty area especially when the pin is cut tight to the right side.
Foothills is not the resort's star layout -- that distinction belongs to Canyons. However, by no means is Foothills some low level version resort course. Credit Fazio and his resourceful team in applying the appropriate balancing act. The architecture is good -- enough to keep most engaged and for the architectural mavens to feel their time spent playing there is worthwhile.
M. James Ward