Hill Country

If you had to choose one final golf adventure trip prior to Judgment Day it would be the Promised Land of the Texas Hill Country.  First there is Austin, the best golf city in America, based on its beautifully intoxicating combination of live music, authentic cuisine, hip culture, great weather, not to mention a golf resume like no other, with fabulous resorts, big-name designs, historic old munis and a fantastic array of easily accessed and affordable public courses. Then surround that with the charms of the Edwards Plateau and the Balcones Fault where clean air, wildflowers, burbling streams, and sprawling oak-covered hills are crisscrossed by back roads dotted with vineyards, beer joints, dance halls, barbecue shacks, and gorgeous low-key golf towns like Burnet, Llano, Fredericksburg, San Saba, Concan, Brady, New Braunfels—the list goes on and on. It is hands down the mecca of Texas golf and renowned as the state’s most authentic golf destination.

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Burnet: A beautiful town nestled among bluebonnet fields and geological outcroppings among the highland lakes north of Austin, Burnet draws flocks of golfers who come to play the entertaining Delaware Springs Golf Course, popular for its great value and a tricky par 3 17th hole.

Kerrville: Three great golf courses are of note in this sought-after Hill Country destination—Comanche Trace Golf Club, known for its outstanding greens and stunning views of the Guadalupe River Valley, the popular Riverhill Country Club with its affordable stay-and-play packages, and the immaculate Schreiner Golf Club, renovated from the original 1924 Kerrville Country Club.

Llano: Watered by the clear, spring-fed Llano River, which flows through the gorgeous countryside, the Llano River Golf Course is a fun small-town course with tidy little postage-stamp greens and generally lush conditions.

New Braunfels: There’s something intoxicating about the abundant waters of the Comal River, the German food, dance halls, and the low-key pace that draws you to this historic piece of Texas paradise. Visiting golfers stuff themselves silly with barbecue, soak in the river, and enjoy The Bandit Golf Club and its natural setting, elevation changes, and memorable holes.

San Saba: This Pecan Capital of the World is also near Colorado Bend State Park, making it the perfect day trip from Austin. Here, carved out of a pecan orchard along the San Saba River, is an 18-hole gem that you don’t want to miss when you’re within reasonable driving distance of this quaint little town.

Road Trips

Austin is an amazing combination of historic and modern, laid-back and hustle-bustle, redneck and bohemian, all brought together in a beautiful setting of old oaks, clear lakes, rolling hills, the meandering Colorado River, and plenty of golf to go along with it. The one-stop shop for the ultimate golf experience in Austin is the Austin Golf Trail, with true professionals that have intimate knowledge and access to the courses and hotels where you’ll want to stay and play. Quality munis like historic Lions Municipal and Grey Rock abound, and the exclusive courses such as Austin Golf Club, Spanish Oaks, and Austin Country Club provide endless golf possibilities.

And yet it would be hard to beat a long weekend at one of the three world-class resorts located just short, scenic drives away from town. The Omni Barton Creek Resort & Spa boasts four championship courses and some of the most beautiful golf holes in Texas. Designed by the greats, such as Tom Fazio, Ben Crenshaw, and Arnold Palmer, the resort affords visitors the chance to play some of the most beautiful golf holes in Texas.

Out on the lake is the Horseshoe Bay Resort Marriott, with three championship Robert Trent Jones, Sr. golf courses—Slick Rock, Apple Rock, and Ram Rock, the latter considered one of the most difficult courses in Texas. Rock outcroppings ping-pong wayward shots, natural streams and waterfalls suck in golf balls like magnets, and the narrow fairways are enough to make even the most “manly men” crumble under the pressure.

East of town is the Hyatt Lost Pines Resort and Spa, home to the Wolfdancer Golf Club and a fabulous vacation destination on a unique and beautiful property carved out of the heavily wooded ridgeline and the lush Colorado River Valley. After five minutes on the property, you will not believe you’re only fifteen minutes from downtown Austin.

If you find yourself jonesing to explore the true soul of the heavenly Hill Country, there are an infinite number of worthy destinations. Concan is deep in the heart of Frio Canyon (AKA God’s Country) and may be the best place to ride out 48 hours of golf fun. Play in the morning at The Club at Concan, tube the Frio River in the afternoon, gorge on steaks and Texas country music at the House Pasture in the evening, then doze off in a cabin on the river. Imagine the rugged beauty of the Glass Mountains in West Texas with a little more greenery, a clear river, and a lush, world-class golf course routing through.

The fascinating German town of Fredericksburg is surrounded by charming country bed-and-breakfasts, wildflowers, orchards, and vineyards. It’s historic, clean, and quaint, with wide streets lined by hundreds of shops and endless restaurants. Quarter horse racing takes place throughout the summer at the county fairgrounds, which happens to be next door to Lady Bird Johnson Park and the city’s outstanding 18-hole municipal golf course. High-end Boot Ranch Golf Club is also nearby, as is rustic Luckenbach, the ideal 19th hole, complete with Lone Star beer and guitar-picking under the shade of ancient Texas oaks.

Don’t miss these other great attractions!