NCGA Golf

Spring 2019

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"We welcome all these newcomers to town as long as they get into the groove of the place," Austin music legend Doug Sahm proclaimed before his death 20 years ago. At dusk, people assemble at the Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge to witness another Austin spectacle. What is reputedly the largest urban bat colony in North America lives in the eaves of the bridge (AKA the Bat Bridge), and spring through fall, thousands of Mexican free- tails take wing at sunset like a trail of smoke smudging the sky. It is a sight to see. For those with an appetite for some- thing more savory, Austin is a great foodie town. Barbecue is a local sport here. The sandwiches at Salt Lick Barbecue Restaurant are as big as Texas, and the smoked beef brisket, served to you at com- munal picnic tables inside this stone-house country retreat, is cooked slowly for 14 hours. How good is it? Well, Crenshaw and Jordan Spieth each had the restaurant cater the Champions Dinner at Augusta National when they had the honor of set- ting the menu as defending champion. I cleaned a plate piled high with sausage, brisket, ribs, cole slaw and baked beans. The gospel music brunch on Sundays at Stubbs BBQ is legendary as is the worth- the-wait line at Franklin Barbecue, which hands out free beer to tailgaters who arrive early knowing that the "sold out" sign might go up before the restaurant technically is open. Some of Austin's best grub can be found in parking lots and vacant lots, dished out of Airstreams and food trucks to feed the late-night set. Juan In A Mil- lion is home to the cheapest, most bounti- ful Tex-Mex breakfast in town, famous for breakfast tacos that could cure a Keith Richards hangover. The Mexican breakfast at Las Manitas on historical Congress Avenue is another weekend tradition worth waiting in line to experience. When it comes to food, Austin does both highbrow and simple, edgy and sublime, affordable and extravagant. For us golfers, there is something for everyone too. Grey Rock GC, framed by striking oak trees, is an excellent daily-fee course designed by Jay Morrish. Lions Municipal GC was built in 1924 and is only a few blocks from where Crenshaw grew up. In 1951, it became the first deseg- regated golf course in the southern U.S. when it officially adopted a policy that any- one was free to play there. No golf trip here would be complete without at least one round at the Omni Barton Creek Resort, the self-pro- claimed "Golf Capital of Texas," which offers four championship golf courses just 12 miles from the airport and 20 minutes west of downtown Austin. This golfer's get- away is better than ever after completing a $170 million renovation in April, which ex- panded the hotel's footprint to 493 rooms. We teed it up at the Tom Fazio-designed Fazio Foothills Golf Course, which underwent a recent renovation, and offers stunning views of the Hill Country from several elevated tees, none more so than No. 10. The Fazio Canyons, its younger sibling, sits two miles from the resort and is worth the ride if you like the challenge of long, and difficult holes tightly framed by oaks and sycamores. Crenshaw, along with partner Bill Coore, designed the Cren- shaw Cliffside Course, which opened in 1992, and in doing so created a links-style course with massive greens that have as many undulations as the surrounding Hill Country. The Palmer Lakeside course rounds out the golf options at Barton Creek, and is about 45 minutes away and tends to get more member play. Barton Creek, for which the resort is named, snakes through Hill Country and empties into Lady Bird Lake. There's much to explore in the Texas Hill Country, including Horseshoe Bay Resort, located 45 minutes from Austin, and one of the largest golf resorts in the country spanning over 7,000 picturesque acres. Situated on the gleaming shores of Lake LBJ, Horseshoe Bay is the only waterfront resort in Texas. Tropically adorned with palm trees, bold water features and the most colorful vegetation this side of Hawaii, Horseshoe Bay presents a golf experience that matches its unique surroundings. "People know desert golf, mountain golf, links golf and parkland golf, but if you've never experienced golf in the rocky, panoramic Texas Hill Country, your bucket list has another line to check," says Brian Woodward, the resort's managing director. "Once you play golf in this setting, it just stays with you." 64 SPRING 2019 | NCGA.ORG 11th hole at TPC San Antonio VISITSANANTONIO.COM

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