With a mild climate and more than 800 courses strewn across rugged desert mountains, the lush Piney Woods, Hill Country elevation changes and seaside links, Texas is a giant playground for golfers. Travelers can find premium public, private and resort courses across the state, making Texas a year-round golf destination rivaling any locale in the country. The choices statewide are truly endless, from the Gulf Coast to Big Bend.
Golfers of all skill levels are challenged and awed by Texas’ enormous selection of golf facilities, whether world-famous courses or inexpensive golfing on some of the nation’s prettiest links. Called home by many legends of the game — including Ben Crenshaw, Ben Hogan, Nancy Lopez, Byron Nelson, Lee Trevino and Babe Zaharias — Texas beckons pros and amateurs alike from all over the world, and is home to the PGA America Headquarters.
GOLF IN THE HILL COUNTRY
The rugged landscape, limestone cliffs, clear springs, towering oaks and meandering creeks make a golfing experience in the Hill Country challenging and fun. Austin and its surrounding areas have received positive attention for their professional-level courses. Having to work around the knobby terrain, architects have created innovative greens that cannot be found elsewhere, making the Texas courses distinctly unique. Barton Creek Resort & Spa is known as one of the best golf resorts in Texas. Players can perfect their swing on one of four distinct courses designed by professionals Tom Fazio, Arnold Palmer and Ben Crenshaw — the signature Fazio Foothills, the impressive Fazio Canyons, the stunning Coore Crenshaw Cliffside and the secluded Palmer Lakeside.
The Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort and Spa, located just outside of Austin, provides golfers championship-level services and facilities. The resort’s course, named Wolfdancer, is a challenging yet satisfying experience and has been named by Golfweek magazine as one of the “Top 100 Resort Courses.” Three Robert Trent Jones, Sr. championship courses can be found at the Horseshoe Bay Resort, situated overlooking Lake LBJ in the Hill Country. The Slick Rock, Apple Rock and Ram Rock courses were carefully designed around natural streams, waterfalls and rugged terrain that make these links some of the most difficult and picturesque in the state.
GOLF IN THE ALAMO CITY
Travel just an hour south and experience golf in San Antonio, choosing from an incredible selection of over 50 acclaimed courses, practice greens and academies. Pairing premium courses with an abundance of playable days, San Antonio is a prime destination for avid golfers. The city is also home to championship PGA Tour courses at the Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort and Spa and the La Cantera Resort & Spa, which only adds to their already impressive portfolio of links.
Additionally, the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort and Spa is part of the PGA Tour’s TPC Network of premier clubs and offers 36 holes of golf designed by two of the most innovative architects and World Golf Hall of Fame members, Pete Dye and Greg Norman. Not only is the course unlike any other with its unique rolling fairways, untamed roughs and challenging sand traps, but it is also home to the Valero Texas Open golf tournament. The tournament is the fifth-oldest professional golf tournament in the world in addition to being the longest-running tournament held in the same city. The pair of championship golf courses at this resort offer epic golf opportunities few can enjoy elsewhere.
GOLF BY THE SEA AND IN THE PINES
Traveling to the coast presents many opportunities for those hoping to practice their swing. The cool breeze from the Gulf of Mexico and scenic views of wetlands and tropical landscapes from Galveston to Corpus Christi to South Padre Island keep golf vacationers returning year after year. Unique courses such as Palmilla Beach Golf in Port Aransas, often compared to courses in Ireland, and the Rockport Country Club, with its towering oak trees, present magnificent challenges, making them longtime favorites amongst golfers. Additionally, those looking for a resort-style getaway can head to Moody Gardens Resort and Spa in Galveston where days of golf and relaxation go hand-in-golf-glove.
Not far from the coast, Houston and the surrounding areas present a golfer’s paradise with complex landscapes and first-class resorts. Mere minutes from downtown, the Golf Club of Houston features one of the state’s longest courses, and other player favorites include Tour 18 Houston, which offers fun holes mimicking Augusta, Colonial, Bay Hill and Pinehurst, as well as Memorial Park Golf Course, one of Texas’ classics and host to the Houston Open PGA Tour. Just 30 minutes north in The Woodlands, tall pine trees, well-conditioned greens and thoughtfully designed courses are adorned by luxury hotels and a five-star resort. Slightly further northeast, golf hideaways can be found tucked away among lush, emerald-green woods of tall pines and old cypress trees intermingled with ferns and blooming dogwoods. This heavily tree-laden area offers particularly impressive links such as those at Whispering Pines Golf Club in Trinity, said to be home to the best golf course in the state.
GOLF LIKE A COWBOY
In the heart of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, the Four Seasons Resort and Club is another course to add to your list. Other links and greens in the region have continuously entertained for generations including The Cowboys Golf Club in Grapevine, the world’s first NFL-themed golf course paying tribute to the five time world champion football team the Dallas Cowboys. Historical markers blanket the course and provide an insight into some of the most notable and prominent Cowboys players, both past and present. Conveniently located between Dallas and Fort Worth sits Tour 18 Dallas, renowned for its replica of Georgia’s famed challenging Augusta course. Open to the public, this course offers one fantastic challenge after another, creating an unforgettable and unbeatable experience.
GOLF WHERE THE CHAMPIONS PLAY
Less than half an hour north of Dallas, Sports City USA boasts an impressive golf selection. Frisco is home to PGA of America’s headquarters and the Omni PGA Frisco Resort, opening in spring 2023. The nearly 700-acre golf resort boasts two 18-hole championship golf courses — Fields Ranch East by Gil Hanse and Fields Ranch West by Beau Welling. For those less inclined to compete their way through vacation, there’s a two-acre putting course and entertainment area accompanied by a 10-hole short course.
A must-stay for golf lovers is The Westin Stonebriar Golf Resort & Spa, a laid-back, yet luxurious hotel next to the world-renowned 18-hole Fazio Course open to resort guests. Inside the hotel, find Frisco’s first Topgolf Swing Suite .
Explore the picture-perfect beauty of Frisco with three public courses: Frisco Lakes Golf Club nestled along Lake Lewisville, The Trails of Frisco Golf Club (notably ranked as one of Texas’ top public courses) and the Richard Ellis-designed Plantation golf course.
GOLF ALONG THE RIO GRANDE
When you take your game out west, you’ll find the breathtaking mountain holes and spectacular mountain vistas that make Lajitas Golf Resort a work of art. Located near Big Bend National Park, the 19th hole plays over the Rio Grande into Mexico, offering an unparalleled golf experience. Additionally, the spectacular 27-hole Painted Dunes Desert Golf Course in El Paso has received accolades from Golf Digest, Texas Golfer, the United States Golf Association and the Dallas Morning News as being one of the most preeminent golf facilities in Texas and the Southwest. The beauty of playing the game in this region is that players don’t have to fight the crowds and can enjoy moving at a slower pace while enjoying the stunning views and landscapes.
For a more complete listing of courses and information about golfing throughout the state of Texas, visit www.GolfTexas.com.