UT students’ favorite places to play golf around Austin

Reanna Zuniga

Austin does not have a shortage of places to play golf around the city. From private to public, city-owned courses, Austinites have their fair share to choose from.

For students, though, a couple of choice places seem to be the fan favorites.

Barbara Puett, a UT golf instructor, has worked with Butler Pitch and Putt for years and said she loves the family aspect of the 9-hole course.

“You see everything there. You see children, you see senior citizens and students,” Puett said. “But that’s what makes it so Austin.”

Pitch and Putt celebrated its 50th anniversary of being open this year and has been a staple in the Austin community as a relaxed course where players bring their own drinks and play a leisurely round of golf.

Puett said the city-owned courses serve up just as much diversity as Pitch and Putt and may not be as well known.

“The city courses are all lovely. In fact there is one that no one ever knows about,” Puett said. “It’s a four-hole practice area and it’s only 5 dollars and you can play up to as many times as you want. It’s just a great practice play for new players or even people who play already.”

Although the five-dollar Jimmy Clay and Roy Kizer short course wins out in the expenses department, it’s located in South Austin which can be a bit of a stretch for a college student. The personal favorite of UT international relations senior, Harry Kim, is the Lions Municipal Golf Course.

“It is literally within 5 minutes driving distance from where I live,” Kim said. “In addition, it is quite an easy golf course as well so whenever I need to get into game, I just go there and practice.”

Kim started playing golf eight years ago in the Philippines. Although he said the courses in Austin aren’t as challenging, he said they’re good for intermediate players who are seeking fun, especially if they’re on a budget.

A more expensive option for students who don’t want to play an entire course is Topgolf, an interactive driving range where “golf skills are not required to have fun.”

“Something that has really taken off is Topgolf.” Puett said. “If golf would wake up to why that’s become so popular, maybe it would become more popular. What it does is let people come out and take turns without intimidation. Intimidation is the number one reason people don’t play golf.”

For some students like Kim, the cost and location doesn’t draw the appeal. Kim said he’d rather play on an actual course.

“I usually go to driving range in Lions golf course,” he said. “It is nothing like Topgolf, but you can play a bucket for $3.”

But for other students like government junior Zack Cochran, Topgolf provides a laid back atmosphere to practice.

“It is a lot less formal than going out to a driving range in a country club,” Cochran said. “When I was first looking for a driving range close-ish to campus, everything had a dress code, collared shirt and shorts with a belt type of thing.”

At Topgolf, players can rent a bay for an hourly fee of $40, but the room can be split between six people which cuts the price to around seven dollars. Cochran said he always goes with a large group so it’s a good deal.

“I think what is so attractive about Topgolf is that you don't have to dedicate a large amount of time to it like you would if you golfed on an actual course, since you ‘rent’ the bay by the hour,” Cochran said. “The atmosphere is also really neat and they stay open much later than any regular golf course/driving range.”