Welcome! Thanks for coming to check out our page. We’ve done our best to share everything we know about the amazing history of Hancock Golf Course and greenspace, what makes it so special, and what we intend to do to conserve it.
The historic Hancock Golf Course was established in 1899 and is the oldest continuously run golf course west of the Mississippi. And more than 120 years after its founding, Hancock today, the antithesis of an exclusive golf course, is a welcoming destination for golfers from all walks of life, all income levels, all ages, all genders, and all golfing abilities.
Additionally, as an easily accessible greenspace for exercise, simple outdoor enjoyment, and serene natural beauty in the heart of Austin, Hancock is equally enjoyed by non-golfers too. These facts alone should rouse enough local pride personal interest for anyone to gladly stand on the side of this important landmark’s preservation.
Sadly, due merely to a recent annual financial shortfall in the neighborhood of $100,000, the City of Austin is threatening to take the drastic step of altering this historic and beloved spot beyond recognition. This is both unacceptable and unnecessary.
We, the Hancock Golf Course Conservancy, aim to remedy the situation by simply making up the deficit by way of private donations, allowing for the existing and beloved Hancock Golf Course to remain the important, peaceful, relaxing, and treasured piece of Austin that is has been for generations past and deserves to be for generations to come.
Founded in 1899 by Lewis Hancock, the Hancock Golf Course stands today as one of the oldest golf courses in the state of Texas. In 1898, Austin’s population was approximately 16,250 with another 10,150 on the outskirts. Lewis, a lifetime Austin resident, was one of our city’s most distinguished and respected citizens. A cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School, he served as the Mayor of Austin in 1886 at the age of 40. He was also the second President of Austin’s oldest bank and founded the Hancock Opera House.
Lewis Hancock was convinced that in order to keep fit; the businessman needed relaxation and exercise, as well as sunshine and fresh air – all of which the game of golf provided. So, being a man of superior forcefulness with a talent for the art of persuasion, Lewis Hancock set about to raise from the early Austin families a rather considerable sum of money to buy the land and make the necessary improvements to start the Austin Golf Club. Although the course was re-named after Mr. Hancock in 1946, it was the original site of the Austin Country Club. At one time, the course maintained sand greens and 18 holes.
Today, Hancock Golf Course is located in the heart of Austin. This par 35, 9-hole course carries up and down hills over beautiful Waller Creek. The old course is relatively short by modern standards, featuring small, well-manicured greens typical of the era in which it was built.
Noted Austin player and teacher, Harvey Penick, started his professional career as a caddy at this location of Austin Country Club and remained with the club for over 70 years. Penick was the golf coach at the University of Texas at Austin from 1931 to 1963, coaching the Longhorns to 21 Southwest Conference championships in 33 years.
Key Dates :
1899 : 9-hole Golf Course begins
1913 : Course expands to 18 holes after purchase of Ernst Farm (40 acres for the back 9 holes)
1946 : City of Austin purchases property
1951 : City of Austin takes over operations
1962 : Voters approval sell of back 9 holes for Hancock Shopping Center
1980 : PARD considers closing golf course due to annual deficit; Hancock Neighborhood Association fights to keep golf alive.
2008 : PARD and Hancock Neighborhood Association partnered to create the trail around Hancock Golf Course with a plan to share in maintenance.
2012 : Improvements for reclaimed water and pay stations; plans to revisit future feasibility of golf
2014 : Golf Course listed to National Register of Historic Places; Recreation Center listed as Recorded Texas Historic Landmark
The Hancock Golf Course Conservancy is run by Kevin McKinney, Cynthia McKinney, and Andrew Dillon, longtime residents of the Hancock neighborhood, supported by neighbors, friends, colleagues, fellow Austinites, golfers, park lovers and conservationists alike.
Please feel free to reach out with comments or concerns regarding the Conservancy.
Website error or message? Please contact Molly Chadwick.