When you spend a golfing weekend at Horseshoe Bay Resort, you’ll be tempted to add on a few extra days.
The Texas Hill Country, west of Austin and north of San Antonio, offers plenty of golfing options. But, the epicenter of the game is at the Horseshoe Bay Resort shores near Lake LBJ, named for President Lyndon B. Johnson.
A golfing resort for luxury travelers
With three Robert Trent Jones-designed 18-hole resort courses—Slick Rock, Ram Rock, and Apple Rock—Horseshoe Bay Resort is the perfect place for a long weekend. The courses offer opportunities for those who want to test their games against some of the most challenging layouts in the state.
Golfers may enjoy rounds at any of the three courses, all ranked as the “50 Best Courses Open to the Public” in the state by The Dallas Morning News.
Golfing at Horseshoe Bay
Open since 1971, Slick Rock, ranked 29th in the state, operates out of the clubhouse closest to the resort accommodations. Start your play there, as it provides the most player-friendly conditions.
Ram Rock opened in 1981, and Apple Rock, which opened in 1985, both operate out of the Caprock clubhouse, a few miles to the west. Ram Rock, is ranked ninth and regarded as the toughest challenge, while Apple Rock, one of the most scenic in the state, is ranked 20th. In the list of the top 100 golf courses (that also includes all the private courses), Ram Rock ranked 46th.
Golf continues to thrive more than ever after the resort’s $200 million enhancement, which included the addition of a new pro shop (18 months ago) and a new clubhouse at Caprock in May 2021.
The most unique golfing opportunity at the resort is the 18-hole Whitewater Putting Course. This 18-hole, par-72 layout on Bermuda grass is designed like a regular course with fairways, bunkers and water hazards, but you use a putter for all shots.
More golf options nearby
Horseshoe Bay members have exclusive privileges at nearby Summit Rock, a signature Jack Nicklaus design that opened in 2010. It comes in at number 20 in the state’s top 100 rankings.
My cousin, Eldon Tarver, who used to own a home north of Horseshoe Bay in Blue Lake Estates, recommends players looking for less expensive golf experiences consider Blue Lake Golf Club, located nearby on Highway 71 toward Llano. This nine-hole course, ranked 12th in the top 25 nine-hole courses by the Morning News, includes five par-3s that sometimes call for hybrids or fairway woods from the tees.
In addition, along with golf professional Gary Parsons, Tarver points to Hidden Falls in Marble Falls and The Lighthouse and The Legends in Kingsland as other viable options if time permits.
Also nearby, although not open to the public, is the Escondido Golf and Lake Club, a Tom Fazio design that opened in 2006. If you know someone who lives in this picturesque hamlet of luxury villas and casita homes, you might get a chance to play at this members-only course that ranked ninth in the list of the top 100.
A range of accommodations
For the luxury traveler, the 400-room Horseshoe Bay Resort is also the place to hang your hat. The Resort Tower offers 249 oversized luxury rooms and suites that are elegantly designed and decorated. The resort’s restaurants, lounges, meeting rooms and recreation are just an elevator ride away.
The 100-unit Palm Villas, located adjacent to the tower, offer one-, two- and three-bedroom units that are perfect for families or large groups. A few units are pet-friendly, too. The Waters offers 51 one-, two- and three-bedroom units near the lakefront. In addition, some private homes are also available for rent.
A golfing weekend at Horseshoe Bay: More than golf alone
The resort offers a mixture of elegant and casual lakeside dining options at the Yacht Club. These include the Y Bar and the Beachside Bar, plus the recently re-opened Waterfront Bar and Grill. and the authentic Hill Country cuisine offered at J’s Restaurant.
Two of my favorite Hill Country dishes are Bad Donkey Brisket, served on Mexican Corn Chips and Texas Corn Dog Elotes. And when the weather gets chilly, I always enjoy Texas chili. You might also want to stop for a Starbucks fix at The Market in the tower. Golfers can also dine at both the Slick Rock Grill and Bar or the Cap Rock Cabana.
Non-golfers may enjoy boating and fishing on the lake as well as eight tennis courts and eight pickleball courts. Three wineries—Spicewood Vineyards, Stone House Vineyards, and Fall Creek Vineyards—each less than a 45-minute drive away attract wine enthusiasts.
For those who fly their own airplane, the Horseshoe Bay Resort Jet Center has the longest private runway in the area, capable of handling all personal and business aircraft including a regional jetliner.
What’s appealing to over-50 luxury travelers?
- A range of options for golfing at Horseshoe Bay Resort
- A relaxing atmosphere offering scenic lake views away from crowds
- On-site fine dining
- On your first time playing on any of the resort courses, don’t just go to one of the back tees; you’ll enjoy the round a lot more from No. 3 or the executive or forward tees.
- Be aware that it can be pretty hot with highs well into the 90s during the summer months. So consider playing earlier in the day and to stay hydrated, always drink plenty of water.
- You’ll pay up to $150 per round at the top courses.
COVID-19 Update for golfing at Horseshoe Bay
- The resort’s COVID-19 policies are posted on its website (last updated 3/21)
All photo credits: Horseshoe Bay Resort
Disclosure: The author was hosted by the resort but all opinions expressed in this post are his own.
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