Austin is home to three of golf’s best known participants – Harvey Penick, Ben Crenshaw and Tom Kite. And with 300 days of sunshine annually and an average temperature of 68 degrees, it’s definitely a great place to play. Sure, it may not be a budget sport, but there are ways to find a deal. Here are some local golf destinations in Austin the regularly offer deals and packages.
Barton Creek Resort & Spa: With four incredible courses designed by Tom Fazio, Arnold Palmer and Ben Crenshaw, this wonderful resort offers rolling hills, lots of wildlife and lush vegetation. Part of the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf Courses, the resort is dedicated to preserving the natural resources of the course. Need to brush up on your skills? Sign up for a class at the Chuck Cook Golf Academy, which offers both group and private lessons. There is also an elite caddie program offered here. 8212 Barton Club Drive; (512) 329-4000; www.bartoncreek.com
Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort & Spa: Located just outside of Austin near Bastrop, the Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort & Spa’s Wolfdancer Golf Club has received attention for its 7,205-yard, par 72 course designed by Arthur Hills. Incorporating aspects of the area’s natural landscape, the course offers a sloping prarie, pecan tree covered valley and wooded ridgeline. 575 Lost Pines Rd.; (512) 308-1234; www.lostpines.hyatt.com
Lakeway Inn Conference Resort: One of Austin’s most exclusive clubs, the Hills of Lakeway offers two 18-hole championship courses – The Hills and Flintrock Falls, which was designed by Jack Nicklaus and is described by some as having the most picturesque holes in Texas if not the country. 101 Lakeway Dr.; (512) 261-6600; www.lakewayresortandspa.com
Falconhead Golf Club: The world’s first PGA Tour signature series course designed and operated to meet the tour’s standards, Falconhead Golf Club is a public, daily-fee facility that incorporates the natural beauty of the Hill Country to make for a perfectly serene setting. 15201 Falcon Head Blvd.; (512) 402-1558; www.falconheadaustin.com
Horseshoe Bay Marriott Resort: Located northwest of Austi near Marble Falls, Horseshoe Bay offers three championship Robert Trent Jones Sr. courses, each designed to meet the needs of different golfers. On the Slick Rock course, you’ll find a 14,000 square foot clubhouse that’s perfect for a bite to eat after your time on the course. The Ram Rock course provides challenges with sand traps, water hazards and narrow fairways, and the Apple Rock course provides lovely views of the scenic area. A Whitewater Putting Course is also available for use. 200 Hi Circle North in Horseshoe Bay; (830) 598-8600; www.marriott.com
Lion’s Municipal Golf Course: This is one of five municipal courses operated by the Austin Parks and Recreation department, where green fees average around $17.50. It is probably the best known course in Austin, called “a little slice of golf heaven” by former Master’s winner Ben Crenshaw, who shot his first hole-in-one here. 2901 Enfield Rd.; (512) 477-6963; www.ci.austin.tx.us/parks/lions.htm
For those players who need a little more instruction before heading out on the links, the legacy of celebrated instructor Harvey Penick remains strong in Austin. Penick lived in Austin and coached the University of Texas golf team from 1931-1963. Today, UT’s golf program continues as a recognized institution, graduating some of the sport’s greatest legends including Tom Kite, Ben Crenshaw, Justin Leonard and Cindy Figgs-Currier. The teams play at the state-of-the-art University of Texas Golf Club, designed by Bechtol-Russell and located at Steiner Ranch west of downtown. Penick’s “Little Red Book” continues on as the largest-selling sports book in history. His teaching methods also inspire two instructional facilities: the Harvey Penick Golf Campus, a public course that the First Tee of Austin utilizes as a training course for underprivileged children, and Harvey Penick Golf Academy, located at Golfsmith’s flagship store in north Austin. Students can practice their swing at Golfsmith, or sign up for one- to three-day courses in Penick’s method. Professional instructors teach and refine putting skills, driving distance, form and fairway training. As the top specialty golf retailer in the nation, Golfsmith sells everything from clubs to apparel and offers such services as club fitting and swing consultation.