STORY IDEAS

Tee-Off in Texas


With a mild climate and more than 800 courses strewn across rugged desert mountains, lush piney woods, hill country elevation changes, and seaside links, Texas is a giant playground for golfers. Premium public, private and resort courses have been developed across the Lone Star State, making Texas a year-round golf destination rivaling any locale in the country.
 
Golfers of all skill levels are challenged and awed by Texas’ enormous selection of golf facilities, from world-famous courses to inexpensive golfing on some of the nation’s prettiest links.  Called home by many legends of the game – including Ben Crenshaw, Ben Hogan, Nancy Lopez, Byron Nelson, Lee Trevino and Babe Zaharias – Texas beckons pros and amateurs alike from all over the world.  And from the Gulf Coast to the Big Bend, the links choices state-wide are truly endless.
 
The rugged landscape, limestone cliffs, clear springs, towering oaks and meandering creeks make a golfing experience in the Hill Country challenging and fun. Known as the “Mecca of Golf” to many, Austin and its surrounding areas have received positive attention for its professional level courses. Having to work around the knobby terrain, architects have created innovative greens that cannot be found elsewhere, making the Texas courses distinctly unique. Barton Creek Resort and Spa is known as one of the best golf resorts in Texas. Players can perfect their swing on one of four distinct courses all designed by professionals Tom Fazio, Arnold Palmer and Ben Crenshaw, including the signature Fazio Foothills, the impressive Fazio Canyons, stunning Crenshaw Cliffside and the secluded Palmer Lakeside. The Hyatt Regency Lost Pines and Resort, located just outside of Austin, provides golfers championship level services and facilities. The resort’s course, named Wolfdancer, is a challenging yet satisfying experience. These courses have consistently been named by Golfweek magazine as “Top 100 Resort Courses”. Three Robert Trent Jones, Sr. championship courses can be found at the Horseshoe Bay Resort Marriott, situated overlooking Lake LBJ in the Hill Country. The Slick Rock, Apple Rock and Ram Rock courses were carefully designed around natural streams, waterfalls and rugged terrain that make these links some of the most difficult and picturesque in the state. 
 
Travel just an hour south and experience golf in San Antonio, choosing from an incredible selection from over 50 acclaimed courses, practice greens and academies. Paired with premium courses and the abundance of playable days, the Alamo City is a prime destination for avid golfers. Additionally, the city is home to championship PGA tour courses at the Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort & Spa and the Westin La Cantera Resort, which only adds to their already impressive portfolio of links. Additionally, the J.W. Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort and Spa is the newest addition to the PGA Tour’s TPC Network of premier clubs offering 36 holes of golf designed by two of the most innovative architects and World of Golf Hall of Fame members, Pete Dye and Greg Norman. Not only is the course unlike any other with its unique rolling fairways, untamed roughs and challenging sand traps, but is also home to the Valero Texas Open golf tournament. The tournament celebrates its 90th anniversary in 2012, and is the fifth oldest professional golf tournament in the world in addition to being the longest running tournament held in the same city. The pair of championship golf courses at this resort offer epic golf opportunities few can enjoy elsewhere. 
 
Traveling to the coast presents many opportunities for those hoping to practice their swing. The cool breeze from the Gulf of Mexico and scenic views of wetlands and tropical landscapes from Galveston to Corpus Christi to South Padre Island keep golf vacationers returning year after year. Unique courses such as the Newport Dunes Golf Club in Port Aransas, often compared to courses in Ireland, and the Rockport Country Club, with its towering oak trees, present magnificent challenges, making them longtime favorites amongst golfers.  Additionally, those looking for a resort-style getaway can head to Moody Gardens Resort and Spa in Galveston where days of golf and relaxation go hand-in-golf-glove.
 
Not far from the coast, Houston and the surrounding areas present a golfer’s paradise with complex landscapes and first class resorts. Mere minutes from downtown, the Redstone Golf Club plays host to the Shell Houston Open PGA Tour, where professionals compete and vie for excellence playing one of the state’s longest courses. Other player favorites include Tour 18 Houston, which offers fun holes mimicking Augusta, Colonial, Bay Hill and Pinehurst in addition to Memorial Park Golf Club, one of Texas’ classics. Just thirty minutes north in The Woodlands, tall pine trees, well-conditioned greens and thoughtfully designed courses are adorned by luxury hotels and a five-star resort. Slightly further northeast, golf hideaways can be found tucked away among lush, emerald-green woods of tall pines and old cypress trees intermingled with ferns and blooming dogwoods. This heavily tree-laden area offers particularly impressive links such as Whispering Pines in Trinity, said to be the best golf course in the state. 
 
In the heart of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, the Four Seasons Resort and Club annually holds the HP Byron Nelson Classic PGA Tour. Since the 1940’s, thousands of diehard fans and onlookers have gathered here for this annual charity tournament. Other links and greens in the region have continuously entertained for generations including the Trails of Frisco, notably ranked as one of Texas’s top public courses, and The Cowboys Golf Club in Grapevine, the world’s first NFL-themed golf course paying tribute to the five time world champion football team the Dallas Cowboys. Historical markers blanket the course and provide an insight into some of the most notable and prominent Cowboys players, both past and present. Conveniently located between Dallas and Fort Worth sits Tour 18 Dallas, renowned for its replica of Georgia’s famed challenging Augusta course. Open to the public, this course offers one fantastic challenge after another, creating an unforgettable and unbeatable experience. 
 
Densely populated cities and green forests are certainly not what golfers will find on the courses in West Texas. Instead, a slower pace and desert and mountains will accompany games. Breathtaking mountain holes and spectacular mountain vistas combine to make the Lajitas Resort and Golf Club a work of art. Located near the Big Bend National Park, the 19th hole plays over the Rio Grande into Mexico, offering an unparalleled golf experience. Additionally, Painted Dunes Desert Golf Course in El Paso has received accolades from Golf Digest, Texas Golfer, the United States Golf Association and the Dallas Morning News as being one of the most preeminent golf facilities in Texas and the Southwest. The beauty of playing the game in this region is that players don’t have to fight the crowds and can enjoy moving at a slower pace while enjoying the stunning views and landscapes. 
 
For a more complete listing of courses and information about golfing throughout the state of Texas, visit www.TravelTex.com or www.GolfTexas.com.