With low density house situated in and around the course, the fairways of the "Signature" Jack Nicklaus-designed layout at Cimarron Hills Golf & Country Club are set around the south fork of the San Gabriel River.
The following edited extract is taken from Daniel Wexler’s The American Private Golf Club Guide:
“Located in pleasantly rolling country 25 miles north of Austin, Cimarron Hills is a lower-key Nicklaus design that blends nicely into its landscape – at least until the finishers, where the introduction of man-made water hazards apparently proved irresistible.
The layout circumnavigates the property (the 9th green does not return) and gets rolling quickly with the 438-yard 2nd (which skirts the creek-like San Gabriel River) and the 245-yard 3rd, whose narrow green partially angles behind a tree.
The 406-yard 8th features a quasi-split fairway, while the 440-yard 10th and the attractive 168-yard 12th also incorporate the river. The closers ultimately are strong holes dominated by the aforementioned artificial hazards, the exception being the more natural 16th.”
Just north of Austin is one of the best courses you can play in central Texas. Designed by Jack Nicklaus the layout works perfectly even though the nature of the facility is to max out houses which are located on many of the holes.
The course starts strongly -- the first four are all quality holes. The 2nd, a par-4 of 438 yards, is helped by a solitary tree which dictates a strategic decision to be made at the tee. You can opt for the more risky play which requires a slotting of the tee shot between a lone right hand bunker and the aforementioned tree. Or, you can opt to the more spacious left side where the angle is more pronounced to the green. You walk off the green with a par be sure to pat yourself on the back for a job well done.
The land movement on the property is fairly subtle but the routing of the holes always provides for a degree of placement with the tee shot.
While the outward half is clearly the stronger in terms of overall challenge - I see the inward half as the more telling for architectural diversity.
Kudos to team Nicklaus for the fine ending series of holes highlighted by the first rate par-4 18th at 439 yards and dog-legs left. Again, a pesky solitary tree is located in the drive zone. The green is beautifully positioned over a water hazard that is literally right up to the edge of the putting surface.
Courses with a heavy dosage of housing can be a tricky situation to negotiate. Often times, the land plan compromises the golf side to the point where silly cart rides are necessitated and the overall flow of the round is destroyed. Not so at Cimarron Hills. I've had the good fortune in playing over 100 Nicklaus golf designs and Cimarron Hills is clearly one of the most overlooked and undervalued.
M. James Ward