Thursday, February 21, 2019

Texas Trip 2019

My annual January trip to warmer climates took me to Texas in 2019.  My route was essentially the big Texas triangle.  I landed in Dallas, then to Austin for a few days, over to Houston, and back to Dallas.  I saw a very nice variety of classic and modern architecture and had the treat of playing a historic municipal course that will hopefully be saved from extinction.  I played two courses that currently host the PGA Tour, which gave me an interesting perspective on just how good these guys are.


First up on the trip was historic Cedar Crest Golf Club which was designed by A.W. Tillinghast and hosted the PGA Championship in 1927.  What I was most impressed by at this course was the routing.  Tilly was somehow able to navigate the hilly terrain without losing any strategy or interest.  The course has so many fun holes and with a greens restoration could be one of the best public courses in Texas.
8th Hole

10th Hole

15th Hole

The second course I played on day one was Royal Oaks Country Club in Dallas.  The course opened in 1969 and was designed by Billy Martindale and Don January.  The White Rock Creek cuts through the course and is very effectively used in the design.
2nd(foreground) & 12th(background) holes
5th Hole

9th Hole
Day two of the trip began at the historic and possibly soon to be extinct Lions Municipal Golf Course in Austin.  Nearly a hundred years old, Lions Municipal is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.  The lease on the course expires in mid-2019 and I really hope they save it from development.
12th Hole

16th Hole

17th Hole
Up next on day two was the host of the PGA Tour's World Golf Championship Match Play, Austin Country Club.  Built by Pete Dye in 1984, this course was the home of Harvey Penick, one of the best teachers in the history of golf.  It is also where Tom Kite plays his golf, I actually just missed the chance to play with him as he teed off thirty minutes before me and was looking for somebody to join him.  As with most Pete Dye courses, this place is perfect for match play.
3rd Hole

8th Hole

13th Hole
The last stop on my day in Austin was Barton Creek Resort and it's Coore & Crenshaw Cliffside course.  This was one of the first C&C designs and as usual they did a great job laying the course over the land.  The course shows restraint in its bunkering and has a very strong set of greens.
4th Hole

10th Hole
17th Hole
The third day of my Texas adventure brought sunny skies and a morning round at Boot Ranch in Fredericksburg.  Designed by Hal Sutton, this wonderfully undulating course is full of multiple option holes and a very strong back nine.
10th Hole

14th Hole

15th Hole
On the drive back to Austin, I stopped in to play the quaint nine hole par 32 Blue Lake Golf Course in Horseshoe Bay.  I always love playing fun Mom & Pop courses like this one.  They always have great people in the shop, solid conditions and a better than average golf course.

1st Hole

6th Hole
After my day in Austin, I drove to the Houston area where I was staying with a friend in The Woodlands.  Day four of my trip was spent in the College Station area.  First up was The Traditions Club at Texas A&M.  Traditions was designed by Jack Nicklaus & Jack Nicklaus II.  The course features two very interesting double greens and a mostly solid routing through some rocky property.
1st Hole



6th Hole

16th Hole
My day in the College Station/Bryan area continued at Miramont Country Club.  With a ninety thousand square foot clubhouse that accompanies a Robert Trent Jones II designed golf course, Miramont has an extremely high standard for customer service.
6th Hole

13th Hole

17th Hole
Last up on my day in College Station was The Golf Club at Texas A&M.  Designed by Ralph Plummer in 1950, the course was recently renovated by local Texas architect Jeff Blum.  The course is quite literally in the middle of A&M and features views of the football stadium and the surrounding campus.  It was a new experience for me to check in at the golf shop and be given a post it note with tape on it to put on my car windshield so my car wouldn't get towed.  I always forget parking fees are a major source of revenue for most colleges.
1st Hole

6th Hole
The fifth day of the trip began with a short drive from where I was staying in The Woodlands to play the Nicklaus course at Carlton Woods.  I played the Fazio course at Carlton ten years ago and was finally getting to see the other course at this very high end private facility.
8th Hole

9th Hole

17th Hole
My golf continued with the highlight of the trip, the Tiger Woods and Beau Welling designed Bluejack National.  This 2016 course is Tiger Woods first design in the United States.  He did a very good job of keeping the course very playable for a facility that emphasizes family and fun.
6th Hole

12th Hole

15th Hole
After a wonderful round on the big course I took a few wedges and a putter and had a nice walk around the Par three Playgrounds course at Bluejack National.
10th Hole

1st and 4th holes
The last day of my trip saw a return to the Dallas area and a round at the newly opened Trinity Forest Golf Club.  Designed by Coore & Crenshaw, and home of the PGA Tour's Byron Nelson Classic, Trinity was built on top of a landfill.  C&C had to use maximum creativity to build a course that is fun for amateurs yet challenging for the best in the game.  I really thought they succeeded and was very impressed with the emphasis on the ground game.
2nd Hole

8th Hole

18th Hole
Before heading to the airport, I took a pleasant stroll around the nine hole par three Horse course at Trinity Forest, also designed by Coore & Crenshaw.  I have played four short courses designed by C&C and I am always impressed with how much fun they are to play.
2nd Hole

9th Hole
Flags from the trip
Scorecards

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