Travel Horseshoe Bay is Texan Gem

By Links MagazineSeptember 23, 2008, 4:00 pm

horseshoe bay apple rock
Apple Rock Golf Course Image courtesy:
The Texas Hill Country describes not only a region (the gently rolling south-central portion of the state), but an entire attitude, the kind that says, Howdy, yall. Come on down, kick back and enjoy life. Thats precisely the outlook youll find at the Horseshoe Bay Resort Marriott, where a new hotel has raised the bar on relaxation in these parts.
Opened in 1973, Horseshoe Bay has long been recognized for its trio of diverse, immaculately maintained Robert Trent Jones courses. But for years, the on-site accommodations and amenities were merely serviceable, preventing the resort from being a must-see destination.
Enter Marriott, with a 349-room hotel that debuted last May. Cloaked in muted earth tones that blend seamlessly with its surroundings, the seven-story structure affords panoramic views of Lake Lyndon B. Johnson and serves up a whole enchilada of luxuries, including a spa and fitness center, foot and bike paths, lush Oriental gardens, a marina and a private beach.
So serene are these surrounds, many visitors never leave the premises. Oh, they might venture to nearby Marble Falls and its Blue Bonnet Cafe, a monument to meringue that celebrates homemade-pie happy hour every afternoon. But the Marriott caters to guests with dining options ranging from casual to elegant. Highly recommended are the imaginative Trans-Pecos stylings at the Lantana Grill, where the chicken-fried lobster tail is a conversation piece.
Jones three courses'Slick Rock, Ram Rock and Applerock'are a showcase of Hill Country golf. In fitting with the laid-back lifestyle, fairways are framed by soothing oak, elm and mesquite trees, and crisscrossed by babbling brooks. Wildflowers and native vegetation line playing corridors, providing camouflage for herds of foraging deer.
Slick Rock is the most user-friendly course and receives the most play, about 30,000 of Horseshoe Bays 70,000-plus collective rounds. With tight fairways, strategic bunkering and smallish, well-protected greens, Ram Rock is the most penal.
Applerock sits between its siblings in difficulty'and its the most scenic. The three-hole stretch beginning at the elevated 10th tee (back-to-back par 5s and a 179-yard par 3 over water) ranks among the states most photogenic acreage. Because of the hilly terrain, club selection can be problematic on all three courses, and golfers will face a number of uneven lies.
I like to say we have the toughest resort course, the prettiest resort course and the resort course thats the most fun to play, says director of golf James Rolls. Thats a great package to offer.
Thats not even considering the impressively landscaped Whitewater Putting Course. With holes ranging from 50 to 150 feet and featuring doglegs, bunkers and swales, this 18-hole Bermuda grass track would be a challenge even for nearby resident Ben Crenshaw.
Unlike some get-away-from-it-all retreats, Horseshoe Bay is conveniently located'only 45 minutes northwest of Austin and its renowned music scene. The resort is a favorite getaway for favorite son Willie Nelson, as well as country icon George Strait and state football legends Darrell Royal and Roger Staubach. When one is on the road as much as Willie, theres no place like Horseshoe Bay to decompress.

by Russ Pate, LINKS Magazine

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    McCoy earns medalist honors at Q-School

    By Will GrayDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 am

    One year after his budding career was derailed by a car accident, Lee McCoy got back on track by earning medalist honors at the final stage of Tour Q-School.

    McCoy shot a final-round 65 at Whirlwind Golf Club in Chandler, Ariz., to finish the 72-hole event at 28 under. That total left him two shots ahead of Sung-Jae Im and guaranteed him fully-exempt status on the developmental circuit in 2018.

    It's an impressive turnaround for the former University of Georgia standout who finished fourth at the 2016 Valspar Championship as an amateur while playing alongside Jordan Spieth in the final round. But he broke his wrist in a car accident the day before second stage of Q-School last year, leaving him without status on any major tour to begin the year.

    McCoy was not the only player who left Arizona smiling. Everyone in the top 10 and ties will be exempt through the first 12 events of the new Tour season, a group that includes former amateur standouts Curtis Luck (T-3), Sam Burns (T-10) and Maverick McNealy (T-10).

    Players who finished outside the top 10 but inside the top 45 and ties earned exemptions into the first eight events of 2018. That group includes Cameron Champ (T-16), who led the field in driving at this year's U.S. Open as an amateur, and Wyndham Clark (T-23).

    Everyone who advanced to the final stage of Q-School will have at least conditional Tour status in 2018. Among those who failed to secure guaranteed starts this week were Robby Shelton, Rico Hoey, Jordan Niebrugge, Joaquin Niemann and Kevin Hall.

    Els honored with Heisman Humanitarian Award

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 11:41 pm

    The annual Heisman Trophy award ceremony is one of the biggest moments in any football season, but there was a touching non-football moment as well on Saturday night as Ernie Els received the Heisman Humanitarian Award.

    The award, which had been announced in August, recognized Els' ongoing efforts on behalf of his Els for Autism foundation. Els received the award at Manhattan's PlayStation Theater, where Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy.

    Els, 47, founded Els for Autism in 2009 with his wife after their son, Ben, was diagnosed with autism. Their efforts have since flourished into a 26-acre campus in Jupiter, Fla., and the creation of the Els Center for Excellence in 2015.

    The Heisman Humanitarian Award has been given out since 2006. Past recipients include NBA center David Robinson, NFL running back Warrick Dunn, soccer star Mia Hamm and NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon.

    A native of South Africa, Els won the U.S. Open in 1994 and 1997 and The Open in 2002 and 2012. He has won 19 times on the PGA Tour and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011.

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    Monday finish for Joburg Open; Sharma leads by 4

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 8:57 pm

    Rain, lightning and hail pushed the Joburg Open to a Monday finish, with India’s Shubhankar Sharma holding a four-stroke lead with 11 holes to play in Johannesburg.

    Play is scheduled to resume at 7:30 a.m. local time.

    South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen will have a 3-foot putt for birdie to move within three shots of Sharma wen play resumes at the Randpark Golf Club. Sarma is at 22 under par.

    Tapio Pulkkanen of Finland and James Morrison of England are tied for third at 14 under. Pulkkanen has 10 holes remaining, Morrison 11.

    The top three finishers who are not already exempt, will get spots in next year’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.



    Stricker, O'Hair team to win QBE Shootout

    By Will GrayDecember 10, 2017, 8:55 pm

    It may not count in the official tally, but Steve Stricker is once again in the winner's circle on the PGA Tour.

    Stricker teamed with Sean O'Hair to win the two-person QBE Shootout, as the duo combined for a better-ball 64 in the final round to finish two shots clear of Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry. It's the second win in this event for both men; Stricker won with Jerry Kelly back in 2009 while O'Hair lifted the trophy with Kenny Perry in 2012.

    Stricker and O'Hair led wire-to-wire in the 54-hole, unofficial event after posting a 15-under 57 during the opening-round scramble.

    "We just really gelled well together," Stricker said. "With his length the first day, getting some clubs into the greens, some short irons for me, we just fed off that first day quite a bit. We felt comfortable with one another."

    Full-field scores from the QBE Shootout

    Stricker won 12 times during his PGA Tour career, most recently at the 2012 Tournament of Champions. More recently the 50-year-old has been splitting his time on the PGA Tour Champions and captained the U.S. to a victory at the Presidents Cup in October. O'Hair has four official Tour wins, most recently at the 2011 RBC Canadian Open.

    Pat Perez and Brian Harman finished alone in third, four shots behind Stricker and O'Hair. Lexi Thompson and Tony Finau, the lone co-ed pairing in the 12-team event, finished among a tie for fourth.