Summit Rock at Horseshoe Bay: The latest Nicklaus Signature course is officially open

By Brandon TuckerDecember 5, 2012, 2:49 pm

Nicklaus Design may be doing most of its work overseas these days, but a big exception is Summit Rock, the newest private club to come to the Texas Hill Country.

HORSESHOE BAY, Texas -- Jack Nicklaus Signature golf course designs don't open at the pace they once did, at least not in the United States. This year, the Golden Bear opened just one new U.S. course: Summit Rock, the fourth golf course at Horseshoe Bay Resort in the Texas Hill Country near Austin, which he opened personally this fall. 

You won't see Jack opening many stateside courses these days, but his emerging markets business is thriving, particularly in China and Russia. One ambitious project by Nicklaus China, a partnership with local Chinese developers, is an entire city that will eventually include ten or more golf courses. Adapting to these emerging countries' customs, from feng shui design to bizarre business etiquette has been a fun ride for the 72-year-old.

'In China, you sign the contract,' said Nicklaus at the opening of Summit Rock on October 30th. 'And then the negotiations begin.'

In Texas, Nicklaus has been doing business long enough to be quite familiar with the territory. Nicklaus Design has a dozen facilities open for play throughout the state, including nearby Cordillera Ranch, and his team relishes the chance to work on the state's tremendous variety of land. 

'When I [design] a course in Texas, I know I'm going to see a good piece of property,' said Nicklaus. 'Even in Houston, which is flat as a pancake, there are great trees.'

The site at Summit Rock served up 1,600 acres with a little bit of everything Texas has to offer: rolling land with plenty of gorgeous oak and pecan trees, wildflowers and expansive views. The routing plays up, down and around a large hill, whose lower areas have creek beds and dense trees. From the more exposed holes along the top, you can see Lake LBJ and rolling views for miles around. 

Summit Rock

Left: The par-5 10th hole can play as a long par 4 or reachable par 5. Right-top: Comfort stations at Summit Rock are stocked with goodies. Right-bottom: The par-3 12th hole plays downhill with long views behind the green. 

The course can play 7,258 yards from the championship tees, while bunkers are deep and plentiful. But truth is, the course looks tougher than it is. Fairways are generous and birdie opportunities abound. There are two drivable par 4s, including a fabulous 7th hole that offers a wide variety of options off the tee. Holes No. 10 and 11 can be set up as either long par 4s or reachable par 5s. A kinder, softer Jack? Well, Nicklaus admits he's tried to find harmony for all levels in his design. 

'There's a balance,' said Nicklaus. 'Golfers are masochists. They need a little bit of challenge or else they don't like it. I'm probably one of the culprits who has done too many difficult courses [in the past].

'The trend now is 'how easy can we make it?' I don't know if that's going to be sustainable. I try to figure out how to do more golf courses where I can get them a little more playable but still a challenge for the good player, and that's what keeps the reputation of the course and the property values up.'

On two of his recent designs, Harbor Shores Golf Club and Ritz-Carlton Golf Club at Dove Mountain, Nicklaus used severely undulating, multi-tiered greens as a primary defense, only to have his vision criticized as 'over the top' by many pros like Tiger Woods and Bernhard Langer. 

Summit Rock's greens are more traditional in slope and shape, and many of them have surrounding areas golfers can use to bounce shots in towards the pin. 

To help accentuate Nicklaus' design, developers have pulled out all the stops to elevate the Summit Rock experience above the other three courses at Horseshoe Bay. Amenities here include lavish comfort stations on each nine stocked with candies, drinks and sweets. The driving range is a destination in itself: fire pits surrounded by rocking chairs, wicker lounge furniture, a sound system and beverage stations ensure there's no more comfortable place to work on your game. A smokehouse and clubhouse, currently under construction, will cap off one of the Hill Country's most complete luxury golf club experiences. 

Summit Rock at Horseshoe Bay Resort: The Details

Located 40 miles west of Austin and 90 miles from San Antonio, Horseshoe Bay Resort's Marriott hotel offers golf packages to Slick Rock, Ram Rock and Apple Rock, but Summit Rock is presently a member-only golf experience. Home sites, ranging from 1/5-acre to family compounds over 11 acres, at Summit Rock start at $135,000. Cabins start at $500,000 and cottages start at $800,000. 

More information can be found at

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Tiger Tracker: Arnold Palmer Invitational

By Tiger TrackerMarch 18, 2018, 5:00 pm

Tiger Woods will start Sunday five off the lead at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. How will he follow up last week's runner-up? We're tracking him at Bay Hill.

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McIlroy: Time for Tour to limit alcohol sales on course

By Ryan LavnerMarch 18, 2018, 1:50 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. – Rory McIlroy suggested Saturday that the PGA Tour might need to consider curbing alcohol sales to stop some of the abusive fan behavior that has become more prevalent at events.

McIlroy said that a fan repeatedly yelled his wife’s name (Erica) during the third round at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

“I was going to go over and have a chat with him,” McIlroy said. “I think it’s gotten a little much, to be honest. I think they need to limit the alcohol sales on the course, or they need to do something, because every week it seems like guys are complaining about it more and more.

Full-field scores from the Arnold Palmer Invitational

Arnold Palmer Invitational: Articles, photos and videos

“I know that people want to come and enjoy themselves, and I’m all for that, but sometimes when the comments get personal and people get a little bit rowdy, it can get a little much.”

This isn’t the first time that McIlroy has voiced concerns about fan behavior on Tour. Last month at Riviera, he said the rowdy spectators probably cost Tiger Woods a half-shot a round, and after two days in his featured group he had a splitting headache.

A week later, at the Honda Classic, Justin Thomas had a fan removed late in the final round.

McIlroy believes the issue is part of a larger problem, as more events try to replicate the success of the Waste Management Phoenix Open, which has one of the liveliest atmospheres on Tour.

“It’s great for that tournament, it’s great for us, but golf is different than a football game, and there’s etiquette involved and you don’t want people to be put off from bringing their kids when people are shouting stuff out,” he said. “You want people to enjoy themselves, have a good day.”

As for a solution, well, McIlroy isn’t quite sure.

“It used to be you bring beers onto the course or buy beers, but not liquor,” he said. “And now it seems like everyone’s walking around with a cocktail. I don’t know whether (the solution) is to go back to letting people walking around with beers in their hands. That’s fine, but I don’t know.”

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Confident Lincicome lurking after 54 holes at Founders

By Randy SmithMarch 18, 2018, 2:45 am

PHOENIX – Brittany Lincicome is farther back than she wanted to be going into Sunday at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup, but she’s in a good place.

She’s keeping the momentum of her season-opening Pure Silk Bahamas Classic victory going this year.

Her confidence is high.

“Last year, I won in the Bahamas, but then I didn't do anything after that,” Lincicome said. “I don't even know if I had a top 10 after my win in the Bahamas. Obviously, this year, I want to be more consistent.”

Lincicome followed up her victory in the Bahamas this year with a tie for seventh in her next start at the Honda LPGA Thailand. And now she’s right back on another leaderboard with the year’s first major championship just two weeks away. She is, by the way, a two-time winner at the ANA Inspiration.

Missy Pederson, Lincicome’s caddie, is helping her player keep that momentum going with more focus on honing in the scoring clubs.

“One of our major goals is being more consistent,” Pederson said. “She’s so talented, a once in a generation talent. I’m just trying to help out in how to best approach every golf course.”

Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

Pederson has helped Lincicome identify the clubs they’re likely to attack most with on the particular course they are playing that week, to spend more time working with those clubs in practice. It’s building confidence.

“I know the more greens we hit, and the more chances we give ourselves, the more our chances are to be in contention,” Pederson said. “Britt is not big into stats or details, so I have to figure out how to best consolidate that information, to get us exactly where we need to be.”

Lincicome’s growing comfort with clubs she can attack with is helping her confidence through a round.

“I’ve most noticed consistency in her mental game, being able to handle some of the hiccups that happen over the course of a round,” Pederson said. “Whereas before, something might get under her skin, where she might say, `That’s what always happens,’ now, it’s, `All right, I know I’m good enough to get this back.’ I try to get her in positions to hit the clubs we are really hitting well right now.”

That’s leading to a lot more birdies, fewer bogeys and more appearances on leaderboards in the start to this year.

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Returning Park grabs 54-hole Founders lead

By Randall MellMarch 18, 2018, 2:09 am

PHOENIX – In the long shadows falling across Wildfire Golf Club late Saturday afternoon, Inbee Park conceded she was tempted to walk away from the game last year.

While healing a bad back, she was tempted to put her clubs away for good and look for a second chapter for her life.

But then . . .

“Looking at the girls playing on TV, you think you want to be out there” Park said. “Really, I couldn't make my mind up when I was taking that break, but as soon as I'm back here, I just feel like this is where I belong.”

In just her second start after seven months away from the LPGA, Park is playing like she never left.

She’s atop a leaderboard at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup, looking like that’s exactly where she belongs.

With a 9-under-par 63 Saturday, Park seized the lead going into the final round.

At 14 under overall, she’s one shot ahead of Mariajo Uribe (67), two ahead of Ariya Jutanugarn (68) and three ahead of 54-year-old World Golf Hall of Famer Laura Davies (63) and Chella Choi (66).

Park’s back with a hot putter.

That’s not good news for the rest of the tour. Nobody can demoralize a field with a flat stick like Park. She’s one of the best putters the women’s game has ever seen, and on the front nine Saturday she looked as good as she ever has.

“The front nine was scary,” said her caddie, Brad Beecher, who was on Park’s bag for her long run at world No. 1, her run of three consecutive major championship victories in 2013 and her gold medal victory at the Olympics two years ago.

Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

“The front nine was great . . . like 2013,” Park said.

Park started her round on fire, going birdie-birdie-eagle-birdie-birdie. She was 6 under through five holes. She holed a wedge from 98 yards at the third hole, making the turn having taken just 10 putts. Yeah, she said, she was thinking about shooting 59.

“But I'm still really happy with my round today,” she said.

Park isn’t getting ahead of herself, even with this lead. She said her game isn’t quite where she wants it with the ANA Inspiration, the year’s first major championship, just two weeks away, but a victory Sunday should go a long way toward getting her there.

Park is only 29. LPGA pros haven’t forgotten what it was like when she was dominating, when she won 14 times between 2013 and ’15.

They haven’t forgotten how she can come back from long layoffs with an uncanny ability to pick up right where she left off.

Park won the gold medal in Rio de Janeiro in her first start back after missing two months because of a ligament injury in her left thumb. She took eight months off after Rio and came back to win the HSBC Women’s World Championship last year in just her second start. She left the tour again in the summer with an aching back.

“I feel like Inbee could take off a whole year or two years and come back and win every week,” said Brittany Lincicome, who is four shots behind Park. “Her game is just so consistent. She doesn't do anything flashy, but her putting is flashy.

“She literally walks them in. It's incredible, like you know it's going in when she hits it. It's not the most orthodox looking stroke, but she can repeat it.”

Park may not play as full a schedule as she has in the past, Beecher said, but he believes she can thrive with limited starts.

“I think it helps her get that fight back, to get that hunger back,” Beecher said. “She knows she can play 15 events a year and still compete. There aren’t a lot of players who can do that.”

Park enjoyed her time away last year, and how it re-energized her.

“When I was taking the long break, I was just thinking, `I can do this life as well,’” Park said. “But I'm glad I came back out here. Obviously, days like today, that's the reason I'm playing golf.”