Photos by Tony Secker
It had been several years since we’d been out to Horseshoe Bay Resort, and as soon as we turned in off the highway, we were both asking ourselves why it had taken us so long to come back. This golf and vacation destination, located about an hour west of Austin, has a somewhat tropical feel to it that at times feels a bit more like South Florida than Central Texas. Vacation vibes were immediately in full swing.
The landscaping definitely plays a huge part in the allure of this place. From the moment you enter the resort, it appears that every flower and every palm tree is part of a grand design. We were also fortunate enough to visit in late spring when everything was in full bloom.
For this trip, we decided to stay in one of the villas, rather than the main tower. We were still only a short walk to the front desk, restaurants, and other amenities, but with the luxury of having what felt like our own town home—complete with kitchen, family room, and a parking spot right by the front door. The villas are also pet-friendly, which was the main selling point for us because we wanted to bring the pup.
After settling in (and a trip to the bar), we headed straight for the real bermuda grass miniature golf course, which was one of our favorite memories from the previous trip. The 18-hole, par 72 course is complete with sand traps and other obstacles, and is surrounded by beautiful waterfalls, ponds, and rose gardens. We have a standing rule that the loser has to buy post-round drinks, which is a tradition that I highly recommend for anyone (over 21) that plays here.
To claim my free drink, we wandered into the Whitewater 360 Sports Club, which is conveniently located right next to the mini golf course. This place had been remodeled since the last time we were here, and now hosts a full bar with 360 degrees of flat-screen TVs. We decided to order a pizza and watch the NBA Western Conference Finals, which was a perfect way to end the evening.
In the morning we took the dog for a walk around the resort (have I mentioned the beautiful landscaping?) before heading over to the tower for breakfast at Lantana. They offer an extensive buffet that looked great, but we both opted for made-to-order options off the breakfast menu.
I asked for a cup of coffee for the road and we hopped on the resort shuttle for an early tee time at one of four golf courses at Horseshoe Bay. Today we were playing Slick Rock, possibly the median of the four courses from a difficulty perspective, depending on who you ask. It’s home to the “Million Dollar Hole,” which includes a waterfall feature that you drive your cart across.
And that was that. We were unfortunately only able to spend less than 24-hours at the resort this time around. Not nearly enough time to hit the pool, the impressive spa, the other two golf courses, or rent jet-skis on Lake LBJ like we did on our last trip! But, we hear they just opened a waterfront bar, which has our name all over it, and their Ram Rock course recently reopened after extensive remodels; as if we needed more reasons to visit again.
This fall weather has me dying to be outside enjoying the crisp autumn air. Luckily Austin has an array of golf courses for residents to enjoy. Over the next month or so I’ll feature a different local course each week so you can learn more about what Austin has to offer.
Once Top Golf opened, I found myself addicted to hitting golf balls and slowly took my game from there to Butler Pitch and Putt. Finally, I was ready to get back on a real course and decided Roy Kizer in South Austin would be a good place to start.
The course is great for all skill levels. As I was getting back into the game, it proved forgiving enough to help me build confidence and be ready for more. A few of the holes have some pretty risky terrain, but nothing to be too terrified of. There are a few water hazards, and one hole has a pretty dicey sand trap at the front of the green that can be downright dangerous. But all of these hazards make the course more fun, and that’s what the game is all about.
Kizer is about 15 minutes from Central Austin and the green fees are reasonable at about $25 a player.
As far as local municipal courses go (and for the money), this one is hard to beat.
Tip: I have found that using GolfNow.com is the best way to find the lowest prices on tee times around town.
5400 Jimmy Clay Drive
Austin, Texas 78744
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I have the biggest sweet tooth ever, so I’m so excited to say that today marks the official start of 2011 Girl Scout Cookie season! Needless to say, this is going to be the best part of my Wednesday. I love the little things in life!
Cookie Trivia – Thin Mints, my favorite, are the best-selling Girl Scout cookie.
Now that the sun is back out in central Texas, we might as well get out there and enjoy it. I’m no Phil Mickelson or Tiger Woods, but I do enjoy getting out on the course and hitting some golf balls.
Places like Jimmy Clay are perfect for any level of golf. It’s a course that’s easy to play socially with friends and is relatively inexpensive. The layout is challenging, and it’s a lot of fun. See the website for all the pricing, but you can play an entire round for about $30.00. It’s also connected to Roy Kizer Golf Course, which is a fun links-style course, and the two share a nice driving range. So get out there and hit some balls!
Random Jimmy Clay fact — the course is built on top of an old landfill.
5400 Jimmy Clay Drive
Austin, Texas 78744
In honor of the Master’s finishing yesterday I thought that would give some of us the itch to get out and hit some golf balls.
Lions has been one of Austin’s most enjoyable municipal golf courses since it opened in 1934. It is definitely one of the city’s most popular courses as you can play a round on a weekday for $19.50. I think that it is a fantastic course to get out and play on a nice afternoon, all levels of golf are welcome. It is barely a 6000 yard course so it is not the longest AND it is not necessarily the easiest, those Bermuda greens can really get you. If all else fails, I do not mind getting out and just hitting a couple buckets of balls.
Famous golfers such as Ben Hogan, Byron Nelson, Tom Kite, and Ben Crenshaw have all played on this course.
Most importantly: Lion’s has leased the property since 1928 from the University of Texas and with Austin growing (who wouldn’t want to move here) the property values around the course have risen tremendously. There have been talks of closing down the golf course along with other businesses in that area to develop it into housing. For a complete overview and how you can help save the course, visit: http://www.savemuny.com/.
Here is a full line up of their pricing:
Regular Round, Week Day $ 19.50
Regular Round, Week End and Holiday $ 21.50
Senior ( Weekday Only ) $ 11.50
Junior ( Weekday Only ) $ 7.00
Evening Round $ 16.50
Sunset Fee $ 12.50
Per rider $13.00
Small Bucket $ 3.00
Large Bucket $ 5.00
To make a reservation call: 512-477-6963
2901 Enfield Drive
Austin, Texas 78703
Looking for a central location to go hit some golf balls that’s affordable! Try Hancock Golf Course for a laid back afternoon on the links.
It was established in 1899, and is one of the oldest golf in the state of Texas! It is a par 35, 9 hole course with all the normal golf course changes – sand traps, water holes, a little bit of it all. The course is very causal and can be played in pretty quickly.
I love it because it is a central location and is a great way to take a break from it all on a nice afternoon like today. Let me say if you are a golf addict and not someone looking for a causal day in the sun this probably is NOT the place for you. Keep that in mind all you Tiger Woods out there…
Weekday : $12.00 for 9 holes
Weekend: $13.00 for 9 holes
Call for reservations however Tee Times are not required. Remember – CASH ONLY!
Located in Central Austin:
811 E. 41st Street
Austin, Texas 78751