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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Down seven pounds, Thomas can gain No. 1

By Rex HoggardMarch 24, 2018, 11:29 pm

AUSTIN, Texas – On March 7, Justin Thomas had his wisdom teeth removed, and just when he was recovering from that, he was slowed by a bout with the flu.

In total, he estimates he lost about seven pounds, and he admitted on Saturday at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play that he wasn’t sure he’d be able to play the event.

“I had a pretty serious conversation with my dad on Monday if I was going to play,” Thomas said. “I never want to play in a tournament, first off, if it's going to hurt my health. If I was sick or really sick, me trying to play this week wasn't going to do me any good.”

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Thomas went on to explain he was “50/50” whether he’d play the World Golf Championship, but decided to make the start and it’s turned out well for the world’s second-ranked player.

After going undefeated in pool play, Thomas cruised past Si Woo Kim, 6 and 5, in the round of 16 and secured himself a spot in the semifinals with a 2-and-1 victory over Kyle Stanley in the quarterfinals. If Thomas wins his semifinal match against Bubba Watson on Sunday, he’s assured enough points to overtake Dustin Johnson atop the Official World Golf Ranking.

“I don't care when it happens; I just hope it happens and it happens for a while,” Thomas said when asked about the possibility of becoming world No. 1. “I don't know what to say because I've never experienced it. I don't know what's going to come with it. But I just hope it happens tomorrow.”

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Garnett's six-shot lead dwindles to two in Punta Cana

By Associated PressMarch 24, 2018, 10:57 pm

PUNTA CANA, Dominican Republic - Brice Garnett took a six-stroke lead into the wind Saturday in the Corales Puntacana Resort and Club Championship. He came out with a two-stroke advantage.

Garnett bogeyed three of the final six holes in the wind and rain for a 3-under 69 and a 16-under 200 total.

''Once we made the turn coming back, all those holes coming in toward the north, it was all we wanted and then some,'' Garnett said. ''I kind of took advantage of some holes going out, some holes downwind, some par 5s, and then we were just trying to leave it in the right spot those last four or five holes. Pars are pretty good scores on those holes.''

Canadian Corey Conners was second after a 67, and Tyler McCumber also had a 67 to get to 12 under. Former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo dropped out Friday, finishing last in the 132-man field in his PGA Tour debut. He shot 77-82 playing as an amateur on a sponsor exemption.

A stroke ahead after each of the first two rounds, Garnett opened with a bogey, birdied Nos. 2, 4 and 6, eagled the par-5 seventh, and made two more birdies on the par-3 ninth and par-5 12th. He bogeyed the par-4 13th, par-5 15th and par-3 17th.

Full-field scores from the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship

''I looked once and the lead was a little bigger than what it is now,'' Garnett said. ''The eagle was huge, kind of gave me that confidence that I can push it on out and stretch it a little bit more. That wind was tough and I'll take a two-shot lead into tomorrow.''

The 34-year-old Garnett is winless on the PGA Tour. He won twice last year on the Tour.

''You've got another 18 holes. So much can happen,'' Garnett said. ''Just going to try to keep the golf ball in front of me. I have that self-belief this week and that's what I had last year when I won, so I'll just keep my head down and just keep going.''

Conners had five birdies and a bogey on the front nine and added a birdie on No. 12.

''Really happy with the round,'' Conners said. ''I got off to a nice start, made a bunch of birdies on the front nine and kind of held it together on the back nine. It was playing really difficult. The wind was really blowing out there, made things challenging.''

McCumber, the son of 10-time PGA Tour winner Mark McCumber, has played his last 39 holes with a bogey.

''Second shots have been pretty solid,'' McCumber said. ''Putting pretty well, short game is pretty good. Just really being in the right areas and staying below the hole.''

Tom Lovelady was fourth at 11 under after a 68. Seamus Power (71), Denny McCarthy (71) and Seungsu Han (72) were 10 under.

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Poulter incorrectly told he's in Masters before loss to Kisner

By Rex HoggardMarch 24, 2018, 10:33 pm

AUSTIN, Texas – Ian Poulter was not happy, and it was only partially because of his blowout loss to Kevin Kisner in Saturday’s quarterfinals at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play.

Following his morning victory in the round of 16 over Louis Oosthuizen, the Englishman was incorrectly informed that by making it to the Elite 8 at Austin Country Club he was assured enough Official World Golf Raking points to move into the top 50 and qualify for the Masters in two weeks.

“I should never listen to other people,” Poulter said following his 8-and-6 loss to Kevin Kisner in the quarterfinals. “When you finish a round of golf and the press and everybody is telling you you're in the Masters, and then you get a text message 10 minutes before you tee off to correct everybody, to say, ‘Oh, we've made a mistake, actually, no, that was wrong, you're not in. You need to go and win.’

“Not that that's an excuse in any form or factor, it's a little disappointing.”

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Poulter actually needed to advance to the semifinal round to move into the top 50. Instead, his last chance to qualify for the Masters is to win next week’s Houston Open, although he was unsure if he’d play the event.

“I don't know yet, I haven't decided,” said Poulter when asked if he’d play next week. “I'm tired. It's been a long week. It's been a draining week. I'll wait until Monday night and if I have the energy then I will.”

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Not DJ, not Poulter: Kisner most proud to take down Kuchar

By Rex HoggardMarch 24, 2018, 9:34 pm

AUSTIN, Texas – On his way to this week’s Final Four at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, Kevin Kisner has beaten world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and the European match play ninja Ian Poulter. But neither match could compare to his duel with Matt Kuchar early Saturday.

“I was more jacked to beat [Kuchar], really. Kuch is such a good player and our games are so similar,” said Kisner, who defeated Kuchar in the round of 16, 1 up. “We both made eight birdies this morning and I barely snuck out of there. I thought it was a lot of fun.”

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By comparison, his quarterfinal bout against Poulter wasn’t nearly as electric. Kisner won two of the first four holes when the Englishman made bogey (No. 3) and when he was conceded the fourth hole, hecruised to an 8-and-6 victory for the week’s most lopsided win.

“I don't know Ian that well, so I don't really have a history with him, other than watching him kill us in the Ryder Cup,” Kisner laughed.

Things won’t get any easier for Kisner on Sunday when he’ll play Alex Noren in the semifinals. The Swede has been dominant this week and is considered one of Europe’s top players heading into this year’s Ryder Cup.