With Great Golf and the Sounds of Music are everywhere…
Deep in the Heart of Texas, in a part of the USA that until now I knew very little of, is now a part of America I truly love. Two weeks around Austin and San Antonio will do that to you!
Texas Hill Country is where you will find the exceptional Horseshoe Bay Resort, with its four great courses and so much more. There is plenty more great golf in the Hill Country of Texas because just like everything else in Texas – Hill Country is huge!
For now we are going to focus our attention on the acclaimed Horseshoe Bay Resort. It’s easy to get to with direct flights from almost anywhere in America, only 1 hr 40 minutes from San Antonio and about 1 hour from Austin. Even from Toronto you have direct flight options into both cities. Don’t be shy about staying in Texas for a while, fly into one and out of either of those two cities, they are only an hour apart. Experience America’s Live Music Capital – Austin, The Alamo and San Antonio’s Riverwalk with a Mexican martini to round out a most memorable adventure.
You won’t want for much at Horseshoe Bay, from a golfer’s standpoint they have three courses designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr. with the 4th being a Jack Nicklaus Signature course (Summit Rock) that was named “Best New Course in America” by Golf Digest. It’s not just me who thinks this place is great – Golf Magazine recognizes Horseshoe as one of “America’s Best Golf Resorts.” AAA gives it Four Diamond, and Conde Nast Readers’ Choice Award recognizing the property as one of America’s premier golf destinations.
We were here for the 11th Annual IAGTO North America Golf Tourism Convention and not just any resort gets to host such an event. The property has just undergone a $70 million plus resort and course renovation…and WOW! What a treat guests and residents are in for. Yes residents – you too can live there!
Unfortunately we did not have time to play all four courses, Ram Rock was first up for us, and why not start with the course that is generally ranked as the most difficult in the State! Opened in 1981, right from the get go you are captured by the Hill Country views, fairways are framed by interesting looking Oak Trees, (Pin Oak I believe they are called) although they resemble pines to me! Awesome rock outcroppings, rock walls, plenty of deep bunkers, ponds, dry creek beds and some not so dry! It doesn’t take long to get you your official welcome to the round with the 4th hole being a picturesque island green par 3.
Final touches to Apple Rock renovations which included reshaping of a number of greens and a complete overhaul of bunkers were still in progress, but we were fortunate enough to still get out and play it! Opened in 1985 and immediately recognized as one of the Best New Courses in America, it has played host to Texas State Open’s and USGA Qualifying events. A few more dramatic elevation changes than Ram, as this terrain takes you from the highest point of Horseshoe Bay’s massive property to a finish along the picturesque shoes of Lake LBJ.
Overlooking both courses is the new clubhouse – Cap Rock – also with finishing touches being applied at the time we were there. When completed it will have a restaurant, bar, swimming pools, cabanas and of course the Pro Shop.
Golfers or not you will not want for things to do at Horseshoe Bay. Its location on Lake LBJ just oozes water sports. Venture down to the marina and it is all there for you: kayaking, paddle boarding, jet-ski, a boat ride around the lake or try your luck with a fishing pole! You could just relax by the pool, by the lake or how about a sunset cruise?
Being the yoga boy that I am, yoga on the lawn caught my eye, but of course, no time this time around. Other temptations for the active types include: cycling, tennis and pickle ball. Of course there is nothing wrong with a day at the spa! Right?! The Bayside Spa with its tranquil lakeside setting might be just what you need, get rid of any stress and delve into attitude adjustment.
When I am not on the golf course or just after a round, when in Texas it is margarita time. I’m pretty sure that every first drink of the day in Texas was a margarita. It was always a difficult decision! Do we have a drink at the golf club? Latana Bar? Or maybe Whitewater 360? And even when we tried to check out we could never leave.
There is no shortage of dining options at Horseshoe Bay either, from family to elegant, upscale to casual. There are seven restaurants on property to choose from. For us, during the convention, we started our day with a hearty buffet breakfast at Latana, family style, classic Texas cuisine with indoor and outdoor options for seating! Funny thing that we often ended up steps away at a bar by the same name for a late and always dangerous night cap!
One of the main attractions for our group, golfers of course and any sports enthusiasts will be the Whitewater 360 Sports Club. Plenty of TV’s and pub style foods, and pizza, again indoor and outdoor seating adjacent to the Whitewater Putting Course, a Bermuda grass putting course, open day and night for those who just can’t get enough!
If you are looking to ramp it up, add a little sophistication or a blue cheese martini to your dining experience I would suggest The Yacht Club – specializing in steaks and seafood and panoramic lakeside views.
I’m not sure just why I have overlooked Texas as a golf destination before. But from my recent experience which included more Austin at Omni Barton Creek and its four courses, Hyatt Wolf Dancer plus a few days in downtown San Antonio – think Alamo and Riverwalk – with golf at TPC San Antonio and The Quarry – Texas is a BIG EXPERIENCE! Just do it!
For more information on Horseshoe Bay Resort: www.hsbresort.com