Apple Rock Golf Course Image courtesy: hsbresort.com
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
Travel Horseshoe Bay is Texan Gem
Lyle birdies last hole in likely his final Open start
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – If this was Sandy Lyle’s final Open appearance, he went out in style.
Playing on the final year of his automatic age exemption, the 60-year-old Scot buried a 30-foot birdie on the last hole. He missed the cut after shooting 9-over 151 over two rounds.
“I was very light-footed,” he said. “I was on cloud nine walking down the 18th. To make birdie was extra special.”
Lyle, who also won the 1988 Masters, has missed the cut in his last eight majors, dating to 2014. He hasn’t been competitive in The Open since 1998, when he tied for 19th.
To continue playing in The Open, Lyle needed to finish in the top 10 here at Carnoustie. He’d earn a future exemption by winning the Senior British Open.
“More punishment,” he said.
DJ, Thomas miss cut at Open; No. 1 up for grabs
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – The top two players in the world both missed the cut at The Open, creating the possibility of a shakeup at the top of the rankings by the end of the weekend.
Dustin Johnson became the first world No. 1 since Luke Donald in 2011 to miss the cut at the year’s third major.
Johnson played solidly for all but the closing stretch. Over two rounds, he was 6 over par on the last three holes. He finished at 6-over 148.
Thomas added to what’s been a surprisingly poor Open record. Just like last year, when he struggled in the second round in the rain at Royal Birkdale, Thomas slumped to a 77 on Friday at Carnoustie, a round that included three consecutive double bogeys on Nos. 6-8. He finished at 4-over 146.
It’s Thomas' first missed cut since The Open last year. Indeed, in three Open appearances, he has two missed cuts and a tie for 53rd.
With Johnson and Thomas out of the mix, the No. 1 spot in the rankings is up for grabs this weekend.
Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm all can reach No. 1 with a victory this week.
TT Postscript: Woods (71) makes cut, has work to do
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Here are a few things I think I think after Tiger Woods shot a second consecutive even-par 71 Friday in the second round. And yes, he made the cut:
• Tiger said all 71s are not created equal. On Thursday, he made three birdies and three bogeys. On Friday, he made four birdie and four bogeys. Which round was better? The first. His theory is that, despite the rain, conditions were easier in the second round and there were more scoring opportunities. He didn't take advantage.
• This is the first time since the 2013 Open at Royal Lytham & St. Annes that Tiger shot par or better in each of the first two rounds of a major. That’s quite a long time ago.
• Stat line for the day: 11 of 15 fairways, 13 of 18 greens, 32 total putts. Tiger hit one driver and two 3-woods on Thursday and four drivers on Friday, only one which found the fairway. An errant drive at the second led to him sniping his next shot into the gallery.
• In his own words: “I could have cleaned up the round just a little bit. I got off to not exactly the best start, being 2 over through three, but got it back. The golf course was a little bit softer today, obviously. It rains, and we were able to get the ball down a little bit further, control the ball on the ground a little bit easier today, which was nice.”
• At some point Tiger is going to have to be more aggressive. He will be quite a few shots off the lead by day’s end and he'll have a lot of ground to make up. Hitting irons off the tee is great for position golf, but it’s often leaving him more than 200 yards into the green. Not exactly a range for easy birdies.
• Sure, it’s too soon to say Tiger can’t win a fourth claret jug, but with so many big names ahead of him on the leaderboard, it’s unlikely. Keep in mind that a top-six finish would guarantee him a spot in the WGC: Bridgestone Invitational in two weeks. At The Players, he stated that this was a big goal.
• My Twitter account got suspended momentarily when Tiger was standing over a birdie putt on the 17th green. That was the most panicked I’ve been since Tiger was in contention at the Valspar.
Woods fires shot into crowd: 'I kept moving them back'
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – It added up to another even-par round, but Tiger Woods had an eventful Friday at The Open.
His adventure started on the second hole, when he wiped a drive into the right rough. Standing awkwardly on the side of a mound, he prepared for a quick hook but instead fired one into the crowd that was hovering near the rope line.
“I kept moving them back,” he said. “I moved them back about 40 yards. I was trying to play for the grass to wrap the shaft around there and hit it left, and I was just trying to hold the face open as much as I possibly could. It grabbed the shaft and smothered it.
“I was very, very fortunate that I got far enough down there where I had a full wedge into the green.”
Woods bogeyed the hole, one of four on the day, and carded four birdies in his round of 71 at Carnoustie. When he walked off the course, he was in a tie for 30th, six shots off the clubhouse lead.
It’s the first time in five years – since the 2013 Open – that Woods has opened a major with consecutive rounds of par or better. He went on to tie for sixth that year at Muirfield.