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The Best of Texas

Appeared in Spring 2014 LINKS

Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort and Spa

Next time you find yourself in Austin, take a cue from local Tour players and head 20 miles east for one of the most satisfying and challenging rounds in Texas. Better yet, plan a trip around a visit to the Wolfdancer Golf Club at the Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort and Spa. Traversing rolling prairie, a heavily wooded ridgeline, and a river valley dotted with native pecan trees, the 150-acre, Audubon International-certified, award-winning course has been widely praised since it opened in 2006 and was quickly named one of GOLF Magazine’s “Top 10 New Courses You Can Play.”

The first thing you’ll be impressed with is the incredibly beautiful setting. Nestled along the banks of the Lower Colorado River, this public course was once inhabited by the Tonkawa tribe, renowned for their traditional wolf dance performed in wolf skins. Most recently, the land was owned by Marjorie “Tiny” Leach, a legend in the Austin golf world, who raised cattle on it. 

The Arthur Hills layout honors the natural beauty and contours of the land with a luxuriously rugged course that feels like it has been there forever. Wolfdancer rambles over a scenic 150-acre stretch of terrain dotted with oak, cedar elm, and pecan trees and cut by the Lower Colorado River, framing the memorable finishing holes in dramatic fashion.

The design features an unexpectedly large amount of rolling, wooded, and flowing topographical variance unusual within a single resort course. You will be treated to three entirely different experiences across varied geography and eco systems: holes 1 through 4 are set on covered rolling prairie land; holes 5 through 12 move along a heavily wooded ridgeline; and holes 13 through 18 meander along a shaded valley bordering the Lower Colorado River.

Much of Wolfdancer’s front nine careens over bold, rolling ground with jaw-dropping views of the countryside. The opening nine and the first two holes after the turn were built on a meadow above the river, meaning the speed and wind factors are significant, particularly on higher ground.

The club is part of the 405-acre Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort and Spa, situated next to the 1,100-acre McKinney Roughs Nature Park. Plan to stay. The 491-room resort is home to a variety of upscale amenities and outdoor recreation activities, including horseback riding, archery, hiking, and rafting on the Lower Colorado River as well as a full-service spa, live music, and the Crooked River Water Park with its two-story water slide, lazy river and sandy beach.

Their Family Stay More Play More travel package includes options to spend resort credits on rounds of golf, or other desirable vacation endeavors. If you include a Tuesday in your visit, you can take advantage of Woldancer’s Twilight Tuesdays rate ($99) through the end of the year, among other special monthly offers.

HYATT LOST PINES
Lost Pines, Texas
512-308-1234
LostPines.Hyatt.com

Spanish Oaks

2013 was a banner year for Spanish Oaks, and it could not have happened to a more deserving community. Their huge real estate success brought them to the point where 75 custom homesites were purchased last year. They introduced a new hilltop neighborhood, The Estates Collection, featuring spectacular views (that will never change) of preserve land. Golf programs were expanded, more member events were added to the club calendar, and a new golf superintendent has brought the condition of the Bobby Weed-designed golf course to new heights.

Located just minutes from downtown Austin in the Texas Hill Country, Spanish Oaks lies on 900 acres of unspoiled beauty neighboring thousands of acres of natural preserve land. Behind its private, 24/7 staffed gates, residents enjoy the ultimate in tranquility and luxury. Yet, within 20 minutes they can be in the midst of downtown Austin’s bustling music, arts, restaurant, and shopping scene.

Spanish Oaks excels at those perfect combinations. The lifestyle is luxurious and relaxed. The privacy is complete; the community warm and inviting. Resort-style pools, fine dining, and impeccable service for members go hand-in-hand with hiking, fishing, and biking. Rustic and elegant effortlessly complement each other.

Then there is the extraordinary Spanish Oaks Golf Club. Lauded by Golf Digest as the third best course in Texas, the layout makes masterful use of the rugged Hill Country. The routing tumbles over the unique “step-riser” topography and weaves around ancient Spanish and Live Oaks. Comfort stations along the way serve a variety of treats and the Taqueria at the halfway point is always ready with freshly made tacos and sliders. Golfweek ranked Spanish Oaks among the best residential courses in the U.S. 

Though everything Austin offers is close at hand, residents never lack for activities within their community. The lifestyle is designed to motivate families to get outside and enjoy the spectacular surroundings. Acres of natural habitat can be explored on miles of hiking and biking trails. A private, on-property fish camp includes a rustic bait shop, fishing dock, and well-stocked 4.5-acre lake. The expansive Pool Pavilion features a sport court, sand volleyball pit, and sandy beach for small children in addition to the tri-level pool.

The community’s elevation provides magnificent views for residents to enjoy, while winding streets and mature oaks separate each unique, beautifully designed home. With homesites ranging in size from half-an-acre to more than four-and-a-half acres, you never feel hemmed in.

Unspoiled, unexpected, unprecedented—Spanish Oaks offers a lifestyle of understated elegance with an enviable blend of tranquility and activity set in the splendor of the Texas Hill Country. 

SPANISH OAKS
Austin, Texas
512-842-6275, SpanishOaks.com/explore

Omni Barton Creek Resort & Spa

How does the ultimate Texas golf getaway improve? Barton Creek Resort & Spa achieved that by becoming an Omni Resort last year and adding the luxury hotelier’s award-winning personalized service to its already impressive hospitality. Home to four award-winning tracks in the Hill Country that form the core of a memorable golf experience, Omni Barton Creek features two dramatic Fazio layouts, an Arnold Palmer design that’s a big hitters delight, and native son Ben Crenshaw’s traditional Texas layout.

Add in the attractions of Austin—whose thriving nightlife, celebrated music scene, and seemingly endless things to do outdoors make it one of the great places to hang out—and you’ve got the recipe for a great buddy golf trip.

The resort has a number of exceptional packages that include unlimited golf, but none better for buddy trips than their Guys Golf Getaway. How’s this for starters? On your arrival you will be welcomed with a bucket of beer, plus chips and salsa. Dinner in the Hill Country Dining Room is included and it’s no less than “Prime Grade Black Angus” aged and prepared to perfection. During your stay, you and your fellow travelers will enjoy unlimited play on all four courses and unlimited use of the practice facilities. Their three-bedroom villas, with plenty of room to play cards, cook, and unwind, are perfect for buddy trips. 

If you can manage to pry yourself away from the spectacular golf, there is plenty to do on the luxury resort’s 4,000 acres. Tennis courts, a full-service spa, fitness center, indoor and outdoor pools, hiking trails, and dining that is so good you never have to leave to find a great meal. Stop in at 8212 Wine Bar & Grill for a black angus burger or a plate of slow roasted pork nachos. Or, head around the corner from the resort to The County Line for some legendary, authentic Texas BBQ.

The resort’s gracious staff, who delight in exceeding your expectations, will take of all the details from booking your trip to tee times and dinner reservations. Guys Golf Getaway packages start from $175 per person per night in addition to room rate.

Omni Barton Creek
Austin, Texas
866-572-7369, BartonCreek.com

Fredericksburg CVB

dripping with Texan hospitality, and more things to do than you could fit into a lifetime of vacations, Fredericksburg—full of fun, food, wineries, and great outdoor adventures—makes a perfect destination for your next golf getaway. Start with the Lady Bird Johnson Golf Course, just three miles from downtown, which underwent a $2 million renovation in 2012. The course offers fabulous Hill Country views and fairways lined with beautiful live oaks. Non-resident rates start at $55. Off the course, take in LBJ’s “Texas White House,” the National Museum of the Pacific War, or Fredericksburg’s historic Main Street, bursting with great restaurants, galleries, shops, and music. The county is home to nearly two-dozen wineries, numerous tasting rooms, and a rapidly growing reputation as a wine destination. Fredericksburg is jam-packed with special events and festivals, about 300 every year, from film festivals to Oktoberfest, but no visit to the Hill Country would be complete without taking in the music scene. Thursday through Saturday nights are big for live music all over town.  And with more than 400 B&Bs, plus hotels and inns, there are plenty of options for staying as long as you like. 

Fredericksburg CVB
Fredericksburg, Texas
830-997-6523 or 888-997-3600,
VisitFredericksburgTX.com/ladybird

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