Donnie’s Friday Focus: Morris Williams front-nine

The elevation changes at Morris Williams make for some scenic vantage points throughout your round.


Morris Williams is arguably the most challenging public course in Austin. It’s also the longest at 6,637 yds. from the blue tees. The rolling terrain creates nice elevation changes throughout a layout that features small, undulated greens that are slightly elevated.

If you’re used to playing shorter courses like Hancock, don’t be intimidated by Morris Williams’ length. I’m not a big knocker either, and I’ll tell you where to position your ball to have an extremely successful round.

#1 Tee

#1: par 4 373 yds.
The first drive is always nerve-racking, but you have tons of bail-out room on the right. Whatever you do, don’t pull your drive left.

#1 Green

You’ll be behind the trees and have an impossible, blind shot into the green. The green is two-tiered, slopes from back to front and is guarded by a front, right bunker. Place your ball on the tier that features that day’s pin placement to give yourself a flat putt.

#2 Tee

#2: par 5 540 yds.
Longest hole on the golf course. Try to get distance off the tee, but be aware of the trees and water hazard on the right.

#2 Green

I would aim right along the cart path, because the hole straightens out on your second shot. The green slopes from back to front and is guarded by sand on the left and water on the right. If you’re uncomfortable with your approach, leave it short to give yourself an uphill put to the pin.

#3 Tee

#3: par 3 187 yds.
One of the more scenic holes, #3 is 187 yds. long, but it’s downhill to a wide open green with no bunkers. Don’t be intimidated by the water.

#3 Green

The green is there for the taking. Grab a mid-to-long iron and hit a solid shot. Once you get there, the green slopes back to front and left to right. Any shot where you have to clear water might look scary, but this is a really easy hole once you clear it.

#4 Tee

#4: par 4 380 yds.
Duplicate your tee-swing from the first hole. There’s tons of room right and lots of trouble left. Keep the same mindset as you approach the green.

#4 Green

A miss right is better than a miss left or long. If you go left, you’ll be in tall weed-grass that’s impossible to get out of (trust me). If you go long, your ball will run off a green that slopes from front to back and down the hill into the woods.

#5 Tee

#5: par 5 519 yds.
This drive is pretty wide open. There is a street on the left, but you’d have to hit a really long, severe slice to reach the fence. Aim for the gas stations in the distance and try to stay on the left-hand side of the fairway to set up your second shot.

#5 Green

There’s no bunkers to keep you from attempting to reach the green in two on this par five. However, the street still poses out-of-bounds danger on the left and if you miss-judge your distance and go long, your ball will roll all the way down the hill. When you’re down there facing a blind shot back into the small green, you might wish you had laid up.

#6 Tee

#6: par 4 356 yds.
This tee box is where course experience comes in because you can’t see the fairway from the tee. The hole does dogleg left, but it’s better to miss further right than left because of the trees. My advice is to aim for the cart path and if you push it right, it’s ok. You’ll have an open alley to the green.

#6 Green

The green itself is one of the more difficult ones on the course. Walk around and size your putt up from every angle because some of the breaks are misleading. The back portion of the green is fairly flat, but the front breaks toward the middle of the surface and the front-right breaks off the green.

#7 Tee

#7: par 4 412 yds.
Another wide open fairway off the tee, but the street is on your left if you pull it terribly. The fairway slopes from left to right and the more right you are, the more blind your uphill approach will be.

#7 Green

The perfect drive is right along the inside right of the cart path. If you are faced with a blind approach from the right side, aim for the cluster of trees on the left and hit a high fade. The green is not guarded by any bunkers, and one of the more flatter surfaces on the course. It is especially easy to putt if you’re on the front putting uphill.

#8 Tee

#8: par 3 174 yds.
At 174 yds., this green is closer than it looks from the tee. Two bunkers guard the front of the surface and the the green slopes off to the left and off the back into the woods.

#8 Green

The only open area around the green is to the right. The green is flat, so you can stick your ball pretty much anywhere on the surface. If you miss, miss long and right.

#9 Tee

#9: par 4 393 yds.
There are some obviously thick trees on your left, so leaving your club-face open on this drive to avoid going left is not a bad thing, there’s plenty of room right. Your approach will be slightly uphill to a two two-tiered green with one bunker on the front-right.

#9 Green

The angled green slopes from the back-right to front-left. Depending on pin position, it’s easier to put from the left side of the green up-hill, then the right side putting down-hill and right to left.

Next Friday: back-nine at Morris Williams G.C.

Photos by: Donnie Hogan

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One response to this post.

  1. […] Friday, I focused on how to maneuver through the front-nine at Morris Williams G.C. Today we’ll take […]

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