Location: Austin, Texas
Course architect: Leon Howard
From the tips: 7,023 yards
Saturday morning green fee: $ (under $50)
Caddie service: No
Walker friendly: Yes
Fairways: 419 Bermudagrass
Greens: TifEagle Bermudagrass
Starter: Morris Williams, known as “Mo Willie” by the locals, stands out as a workhorse among the six city courses for its conditioning and playability. Many of the city’s senior golfers will gravitate toward Lions Municipal on the University of Texas campus near downtown, leaving Mo Willie on the city’s east side for some of Austin’s best sticks. The course is named after the late Morris Williams, an Austin prodigy who once held the state junior, amateur and open titles concurrently and starred at hometown UT. At 23, he died in an Air Force training accident in 1953.
Play because …: Austin ranks as a top golf destination, and its muni system offers a bargain-priced option to some of the highly-regarded resorts for the cost-conscious visitor. Morris Williams, which opened in 1964, underwent extensive renovations in 2012, resulting in larger, more undulating green complexes and more hole locations. That helps spread the foot traffic on a track that generates about 47,000 rounds per year. Mo Willie can test the best golfers while helping the higher-handicappers not to feel deflated after a round.
Takeaway: Excellent turf coverage and fast, smooth greens coupled with an interesting routing across rolling terrain give Morris Williams a Texas-sized appeal as a muni. From the back tees, the par 3s are all 190-218 yards, but one tee box up offers a greater variety of club selections. Low-to-mid-handicaps should hit a lot of greens on a course with forgiving fairway corridors, but lag putting will be key. It’s a comfortable walk ($29 on a Saturday morning) on an old-school design with modern updates.
Pro shop: 6
Course difficulty: 7
Pace of play: 6
THE COURSE | Scorecard
Best par 3: No. 3 (218 yards). Downhill shot plays over water to a back-to-front-sloped green.
Best par 4: No. 1 (377 yards). Just what the muni golfer needs, with a welcoming handshake of a start on a slight dogleg right into a big putting surface. There might as well be a sign at the back of the green that reads, “Tap in your par and enjoy the round.”
Best par 5: No. 11 (526 yards). A big tee ball will set up the longer hitters to reach the green in two, but beware: it’s likely a second shot from a downhill lie to an elevated green protected in front by a creek.
Rated by: Steve Harmon