Hill Country Golf: Explore These Award-Winning Courses

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What do the terms ‘Aircraft Carrier,’ ‘Botox,’ ‘Captain Kirk,’ and ‘Rainmaker’ have in common? They are all lingo used in the game of golf! Commonly accepted as invented in 1457 in Scotland, a similar game was played in China during the Song dynasty, around 943 A.D. Today, golf is played all over the world—and beyond. It’s one of only two sports played on the moon! The Texas Hill Country is a great place to play. The temperate climate allows year-round access to the many beautiful and award-winning courses here. Consider these local options for great summer experiences!

Hill Country Golf: Explore These Award-Winning Courses

Photo Courtesy of Buffalo Agency

Before choosing a course and loading up the cart, remember golf is a challenging activity. Try the tips below to improve your game:

  1. Minimize stress levels. Enjoy your time outside with scenery and friends.
  2. Aim beyond where you want the ball to land. Undershooting is more common than overshooting.
  3. Wear comfortable clothing. Too tight or too loose items will alter your swing.
  4. Bring clubs you actually use. This will lighten the load and quicken tee times.

Three great public courses can be found in the region and are open to anyone in the general public who wants to play: The Bandit Golf Club in New Braunfels, and The Quarry Golf Course and Brackenridge Park Golf Course, both in San Antonio. These courses range from quiet, hilly seclusion to a repurposed industrial site to historically significant originating in 1916. Book tee times and bring along friends. Each course will certainly provide a unique experience!

Hill Country Golf: Explore These Award-Winning Courses

Photo Courtesy of Buffalo Agency

Resorts with golf courses have become quite popular. These locations can be the perfect combo for families, couples, and weekends with friends. Everyone will find something they enjoy at a resort, including spas and swimming pools, but at these places, it is really the golfers in the group who get the spoils!

Horseshoe Bay Resort boasts several ranked courses included Ram Rock, often called the “Challenger,” which is a dramatically designed course balancing technical difficulty with Texas Hill Country beauty. Also onsite is the Slick Rock Course, which is 170 acres featuring 12 water hazards, over 70 bunkers, and the memorable winding path across a 35-yard waterfall, and the Applerock Course, which initiates within rocky topography and commences along the shoreline of Lake LBJ.

Hill Country Golf: Explore These Award-Winning Courses

Photo: Pixabay

San Antonio is home to two sites well known for awesome Texas landscapes. The first hosts the Valero Texas Open tournament and is part of the JW Marriott® San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa: TPC San Antonio offers two pro-level courses, AT&T Oaks and AT&T Canyons. The second site is the Palmer Course at La Cantera, where you will encounter one hole with a long carry over a lake with waterfalls and another hole with an 80-foot downhill slope with outlooks to match.

In Austin, Omni Barton Creek Resort contains Fazio Canyons. Amazing views and stately trees are commonplace here, and compliment commitment to protecting and preserving the environment. This course was also the first resort course in Texas to be certified as an Audubon International Signature. Nearby is the associated Palmer Lakeside Course, which overlooks Lake Travis and was designed by Arnold Palmer. It contains a famous anomaly which drops over 70 feet down to a tree-lined fairway.

Hill Country Golf: Explore These Award-Winning Courses

Photo Courtesy of Buffalo Agency

The Texas Hill Country also contains stunning private courses. These courses are membership-based and are found all over, including Bee Cave (Spanish Oaks Golf Club), Boerne (Cordillera Ranch Golf Club), Fredericksburg (Boot Ranch), Horseshoe Bay (Escondido Golf and Lake Club), Kerrville (Comanche Trace), and Spicewood (Austin Golf Club). Featured below is a recently conducted interview with Marc DeWall, General Manager at Cordillera Ranch. Cordillera boasts the first Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course of the Texas Hill Country. This 780-acre landscape is pure golf paradise, sporting views exclusively as nature intended. Marc DeWall graciously provided further insight into this exquisite course, Cordillera Ranch Golf Club.

Q: How long from course design to completion?

A: Design began in 2004 and build completed in 2006. The land the course covers was set aside from the beginning of development as it was already perfectly formed for a golf course. Little land needed to be moved, just a few ‘layers peeled.’

Q: What is the pace of play?

A: Per USGA standards, four hours and 15 minutes.

Q: Are there walking or riding restrictions?

A: None.

Q: Favorite spot on the course?

A: While the 16th hole is a recognized favorite, the 7th hole is Par 3 and quite challenging.

Q: Any specific challenges due to Texas and/or the Hill Country?

A: Due to the terrain, Holes 16, 17, and 18 are a little uphill and into the wind. This can be tricky when coming off a full round.

Q: What is the most common compliment received?

A: Aside from the beautiful facilities and course, countless visitors have praised the staff as being very friendly, engaging, and outgoing. It is an essential part of the Cordillera culture.

Q: Are lessons available?

A: Yes, to members only at the Golf Performance Center. This new facility is led by Director of Instruction Bryan Gathright, one of Golf Magazines Top 100 Instructors.

Q: What is the best-kept secret about this course?

A: On 12th hole, green speeds go to a low point. If putting towards, the ball will go a bit faster than anticipated.

End of interview

Special thank you to Marc for his time, as well as Robert Rodriguez with Buffalo Agency.

Bring out the collared shirt, clean up your driver, and hit the greens! If you have never tried golf before, play with a friend then take some lessons. You’ll soon learn there is no more satisfying than the ‘ping’ of a good drive and the ‘plop’ of a sunk putt. And for those wondering: an ‘Aircraft Carrier’ is a long, flat, rectangular teeing ground which is usually elevated a few feet above the level of the surrounding turf, ‘Botox’ is a putt that lips-out, ‘Captain Kirk’ is when a shot goes where no ball has gone before, and a ‘Rainmaker’ is a golf shot with a very high trajectory. Are you inspired to hit the fairway?