The Austin Park and Recreation department oversees the operation and upkeep of a diverse array of facilities serving the local community, including parks, swimming pools, golf courses, playgrounds, and tennis courts. Visitors can engage in outdoor activities to nurture an appreciation for natural surroundings and add to a burgeoning stick collection, or join artistic programs such as community theater and arts education. The department attained national accreditation from the Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies, one of just 89 nationwide to receive the honor.
After rolling out the green carpet as a 9-hole facility in 1971, Lago Vista has expanded into an 18-hole, par 72 championship course that stretches across a peninsula on the north shore of Lake Travis. Undulating fairways and vibrant flora guide players through the course's 6,500 yards of challenges, and a practice facility helps hone swings with three tiers of natural, Botox-free hitting surfaces.
As the younger of the two courses, Highland Lakes flaunts a collection of sloping tifdwarf greens, complete with regular elevation changes that require golfers to make deft club selections throughout. On hole five, a tight dogleg lures balls toward a downhill fairway sheathed in the shadows of towering oaks as outcrops flanking both sides invite shots into their rocky heaps.
Lago Vista Course at a Glance
Highland Lakes Course at a Glance
The Oak Hill Golf Range is the only public driving range in South Austin. Quality golf balls, competitive pricing and sheer convenience make the Oak Hill Golf Range a no-brainer for golfers of all levels to come out and work on their games. The range offers PGA, Titleist Performance Institute and Golf Fitness Instruction.
Golfsmith's online and in-store storerooms house an almost endless list of golf gear for men, women, and children alike. Clubs, balls, and accessories from brands such as TaylorMade, MacGregor, and Callaway give players precise control over their game, and polos and long-sleeved shirts from Nike and Snake Eyes garb players in course-appropriate attire now that tuxedo T-shirts no longer qualify. Along with the extensive collection of equipment and golf bags, Golfsmith also carries GPS systems to give players a high-tech edge and tennis gear to help them overcome the bunkers’ tricky nets.
A nationwide swing-honing syndicate, GolfTEC attacks ineffective golf techniques with a patented Five Factor approach that harnesses technological resources to boil golf's subtle motions into an objective, data-based science. GolfTEC Austin's staff of PGA-certified aces stays true to the mission in each lesson, as they assess swings with video analysis and compare them to a database of the swing profiles of more than 150 Tour players, which provides a sounder frame of reference than simply swinging in front of a mirror or seeking wisdom from a cardboard cutout of Jack Nicklaus. Pros then pinpoint areas for improvement and build on them in video-based sessions, reinforcing effective motions while helping clients better understand the mechanical elements of the golf swing. GolfTEC even helps their charges bolster their swing out of the studio with their online Player Performance Studio, which contains each players' golf lesson history, past swing videos, and custom-tailored drills that pupils can access 24/7 to prepare for an upcoming outing or seek comfort after slicing the ball repeatedly into the waters of chaos in a vivid nightmare.
Three-time Masters Champion Jimmy Demaret states, “I simply followed the natural features of the land” to explain the genesis of his brainchild, the Onion Creek Club. Here 18 holes of championship golf—designed by course architects Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore—sprawl alongside tennis courts and a clubhouse with a fitness center and junior-Olympic-size swimming pool. The par-70 course’s claim to fame is having hosted the inaugural Senior PGA event in 1978, four years after the greens’ bermuda grass first whimpered under cleated feet. Its signature third hole invites golfers to play aggressively with their drivers in order to vault orbs onto a landing strip guarded by trees and a creek, or to grip their irons and aim for a narrow green that has notoriously uncommunicative air-traffic controllers.
In addition to the course and its accompanying driving range with 30 hitting stations, Onion Creek Club invites racket-wielders to take advantage of lighted hard and clay tennis courts. The clubhouse’s fitness center challenges muscles with Cybex strength machines, and its junior-Olympic-size pool allows 9 irons to slip into their bikinis and go for a splash.
At River Place Country Club, a championship golf course designed by Jay Morrish and Tom Kite, winner of the 1992 U.S. Open, invites golfers to launch balls over sand bunkers and twisting creeks that wend their way through the landscape’s hilly contours. The course’s superintendent draws on experience at Baton Rouge Country Club and Colonial Country Club, as well as a degree in Plant and Soil Systems, as he ensures that the greens and rolling Bermuda grass fairways are more carefully manicured than a prize-winning pet wooly mammoth. The course’s PGA professional instructors are on hand to improve individual games, and a driving range lets players practice at 15 hitting stations.
Adjacent to the course, eight lighted tennis courts abut a 40,000-square-foot clubhouse with an outdoor pool, fully equipped fitness center, and locker rooms whose dry saunas and whirlpools melt tension quicker than butter melts on the calves of a sprinter. The Grille invites clubgoers to sup on steak or seafood, and a pair of outdoor decks let guests drink in scenic views.
Course at a Glance: