Posts Tagged ‘Morris Williams’

Donnie’s Friday Focus: Morris Williams back-nine

Last Friday, I focused on how to maneuver through the front-nine at Morris Williams G.C. Today we’ll take a look at the back-nine and I’ll tell you the places to want to be, and places you want to avoid on your way to a successful round.

#10 Tee

#10: par 4 406 yds.
There’s no tricks on this drive. You have to hit a straight ball of the tee. The fairway is fairly wide, but you have trees and water on either side so keep your drive as straight as you can. The rest of the hole is extremely open and easy.

#10 Green

There’s a lot of room around the green and no bunkers. If you pull your uphill approach far left, the street may come into play but you would have to be way off target to reach it. The green is flat and easy to putt. If you avoided trouble off the tee, this hole is yours for the taking.

#11 Tee

#11: par 5 486 yds.
In my opinion, this is the most difficult hole on the golf course. That doesn’t mean you can’t score well, it just means you’ll have to earn it. The tee-shot is partially blind because the hole drops significantly down the hill and doglegs right. Aim toward the double power lines in the distance and let it rip if you want a chance to make it over the creek in two.

#11 Green

Even if you decide to lay-up on your second shot, the lay-up is difficult because there’s not a lot of room in between the bottom of the hill and the water. Be careful with your distance. The green is all the way back up the hill and guarded by two front bunkers that are deep. The green itself slopes from back-left to front-right. If you make birdie you should be proud, but even walking away with par on this hole is as good as a birdie on others.

#12 Tee

#12: par 3 196 yds.
Another scenic par 3, #12 is on the side of a hill that rolls sharply toward the woods. You must clear the creek and avoid the woods on the right.

#12 Green

However, even if your tee-shot is left of the green and safe from the hazards, you’ll still have a nasty chip or pitch shot on a fast J-shaped green that rolls hard right down the hill and toward the trees. Trust your swing and do your best to land the ball on the surface.

#13 Tee

#13: par 4 337 yds.
This hole is where course experience pays off. What I’m about to tell you sounds crazy but take my advice and watch everyone else lose their balls. Aim for the trees straight in front of you. They are situated on a mound that will naturally kick your ball right to a narrow fairway at the bottom of the mound and you’ll be left with a 100 yd. shot into the green.

#13 Green

If you try to squeeze your way with a draw into the fairway, you’ll either end up in the woods on the right, hitting it past the narrow fairway and into the woods or pulling it left behind the trees with no chance of reaching the green. Aim toward the mound and roll the dice. The green is guarded by water on the front-left and deep woods guard the right and back. Hit a high draw and bail-out long and left if necessary.

#14 Tee

#14: par 3 175 yds.
There’s not a lot of danger on this par three. The water is literally right in front of you and posses no threat barring a complete duff off the tee.

#14 Green

The path to the green is straight and uphill and the surface itself is flat with no bunkers and plenty of room around the edges. This is a simple hole. Take advantage.

#15 Tee

#15: par 4 376 yds.
This hole doglegs right and downhill. Aim for the cart path off the tee and hit a high fade allowing your ball to roll down to the bottom of the hill.

#15 Green

From there, you’ll have a 100 yd. uphill shot the green. This green is unguarded but slightly two-tiered. The low-point of the green is on the front-right. Depending on pin position, try to stay below the hole giving yourself an uphill put to the pin.

#16 Tee

#16: par 4 409 yds.
If you have a draw in your swing repertoire, this is the time to showcase it. This hole doglegs very sharply to the left and you’re faced with trees on the left and right off the tee.

#16 Green

The fairway slopes from left to right so if you can’t draw the ball, aim toward the left of the fairway because the slope is going to inevitably bring your ball to the right. Your approach is slightly uphill to another unguarded green. The surface funnels toward the middle from the front and back. If you avoid trouble off the tee, the rest of the hole should be a breeze.

#17 Tee

#17: par 5 503 yds.
This is another partially blind tee-shot that rolls to the bottom of a hill. Aim just left of the big tree and remember a miss left is better than a miss right. The trees are much more dense on the right.

#17 Green

Your second shot is completely blind back up the hill toward the green. Once you get up there, the narrow green is turtle-backed with sand on the left. Judge your distance carefully when approaching this green to avoid rolling off the sides if you miss the surface.

#18 Tee

#18: par 4 415 yds.
You’ve made it to the 18th tee and you’re rewarded with the widest fairway on the course. The fairway slopes from left to right but there’s plenty of room on both sides for you to grab your driver one last time and send him off on a glorious note.

#18 Green

The green is fairly narrow so don’t get caught in the bunker on the left. You wont have very much green to work with at all and the surface rolls off the right making it very difficult to stop your bunker shot on the green. It’s better to be short or long with your approach to the 18th and final green.

Next Friday: front-nine at Jimmy Clay G.C.

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

Donnie’s Friday Focus: Hancock G.C.

The classic, risk-reward finishing hole at the oldest golf course in Texas.

Municipal golf courses are great, cheap ways to hone your skills. Austin has a plethora of links to choose from, but playing a course for the first time can be a frustrating experience if you don’t know the lay of the land.

Consider me your pocket caddie. Each Friday, I will highlight Austin’s public courses in nine-hole segments complete with pictures, yardages and descriptions on how to maneuver your way to a successful round. First up: Hancock G.C.

Built in 1899, Hancock is the oldest golf course in the state of Texas and was the original site of the Austin Country Club. Currently, Hancock is a nine-hole public course that is challenging despite its short yardage (only 2633 yds. from the blues). Greens fees are cheap if you walk (only $12 during the week, $13 on the weekend), but remember to bring cash because they do not accept debit or credit cards. I found this out the hard way.

(editors note: I play from the blue tees, so all of my yardages will reflect starting from that position.)

#1 Tee

#1: par 3 152 yds.
Considering Hancock does not have a driving range, #1 is a nice, easy starting hole because it’s a 150 yd., downhill shot to a decent sized green with no bunkers. Going into a round cold is always difficult, but it’s easier to start with a short iron in your hand rather than a driver.

#1 Green

The small creek that runs in front of the green doesn’t really come into play because of the tee’s elevation. The green is fairly undulated and slopes from back to front and right to left. Depending on the pin position, the ideal spot would be on the front of the green putting uphill rather than above the pin putting down.

#2 Tee

#2: par 5 462 yds.
This is the only par 5 on the course, so get a birdie while you can. Keep your drive on the right-hand side of the fairway. Then you’ll be faced with a decision to go over the creek or lay-up. The hole is short, only 462 yds., but it doglegs left, uphill to the green.

#2 Green

If you’re comfortable with your long irons or fairway woods, give it a rip. The green is fairly small, but flat with no bunkers. If you decide to go for it in two, you don’t have much danger around the green to make you question your decision.

#3 Tee

#3: par 4 357 yds.
Number three is a good driving hole. By now you should be warmed up, again due to Hancock’s lack of a driving range. The trees make the drive look intimidating, but there’s a lot of room once you get past them.

#3 Green

Gear back for a hanging power-fade, pick a starting point and let it rip. The narrow green slopes from back to front and if you pull your approach left, you’ll end up out-of-bounds in the street. You want to be on the front of the green, putting uphill. If you’re going to miss, miss short and right.

#4 Tee

#4: par 3 144 yds.
Number four is another easy, mid-range par 3.

#4 Green

The street still poses an out-of-bounds threat on your left, so a miss to the right is your bail-out if things go wrong from the tee. The green is relatively easy and flat with a slight break from right to left. This is the easiest hole on the golf course, take advantage.

#5 Tee

#5: par 4 249 yds.
Similar to #3, this is another tee that is not as scary as it looks. The creek and and trees are not in play as long as you don’t duff your drive.

#5 Green

If you keep it relatively straight, you’ll be near the top of the hill even if you didn’t pound the ball. I recommend hanging a high draw over the two right trees and aim to land the ball right along the cart path. The green slopes from back to front and is guarded by trouble all along the left side. If you miss hit your approach, bailout short and right.

#6 Tee

#6: par 4 324 yds.
This is the first of a two blind tee shots on the course, because you can’t really see where your ball is going to land in the fairway.

#6 Green

However, there’s plenty of room left and right of the fairway with scattered trees, but nothing too thick you can’t get out of. The hole is only 324 yds., so give the ball a ride off the tee. The green is skinny and turtlebacked, meaning it’s high-point is in the middle and the ball rolls off all sides. Make sure you don’t miss left or long on your approach or your ball will roll all the way down the hill and you’ll be faced with a very difficult pitch back up to the green.

#7 Tee

#7: par 4 335 yds.
There’s trouble on the right off the tee, but you have a lot of room left. It’s a short hole, so try to get as much as you can off the tee, but don’t push the ball right.

#7 Green

Be careful with your approach to this green. The green itself is elevated, so if you miss left, right or long, you’re most likely to be out-of-bounds. Hit a clean shot, but take a little off of your approach if you’re uncomfortable with your distance.

#8 Tee

#8: par 4 346 yds.
Another blind tee shot, but you have a lot of room left. Due to the large tree on your right, you have to work the ball from left to right anyway. Hang a high fade out there, if it fades back to the right, great.

#8 Green

If not, you’ll still be at a good angle into the green. This is the only green on the course with bunkers. Even if you get stuck in one, the two-tiered green funnels to the middle on the front-tier. Don’t go over the ridge or you’ll roll all the way to the back of the green.

#9 Tee

#9: par 4 264 yds.
This is my favorite hole on the course. This is a classic risk-reward hole. It’s only 264 yds., but the fairway slopes harshly from right to left where a hater hazard guards the green.

#9 Green

Once you get there, the green follows the contours of the hole and slopes toward the water. You want to be below the pin putting uphill, but to achieve this, you have to flirt with the water on your approach. This is a great finishing hole.

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

Photos by: Donnie Hogan