The Village Golf Club showcases challenging twists and turns on three distinct nine-hole courses that can be played separately or paired interchangeably for an 18-hole round. Throughout the entire 27-hole complex, ill-struck shots may stray into the sinister clutches of mature trees and ponds that haunt the fairways. The two less difficult nine-hole layouts—Winged Foot and Thunderbird—demand accurate pitches, chips, and putts onto the surface of recently renovated putting surfaces. The Rolling Hills course—the most challenging of the tee-to-green triad—demands a brave tee shot on its 157-yard par 3 third hole, which features a breathtaking island green.
Golf balls rain onto the 300-yard landing zone of the onsite driving range, where golfers can prop balls up on all-natural grass tees or steer clear of territorial earthworms by warming up on artificial mats. After a day spent hunting pars, the Village Restaurant sates appetites with a menu of classic sandwiches, soups, and salads.
Though their 27 holes share rolling fairways and the shade of oaks, magnolias, dogwoods, and azaleas, River Plantation Country Club’s three courses all boast their own challenges, which lie ready to shape well-rounded golfers. The nine-hole courses, named Augusta, Biloxi, and Charleston, all feature their fair share of tricky shots and holes flanked by streams, dotted with trees, or blocked by sample-size manhole covers. Players can further hone their skills on a 50-slot driving range, a putting green, and a short-game playing field complete with a faux sand bunker and chipping green. After practice or gameplay, golfers can stop into the River Plantation Grille to top off human or lifelike-android energy reserves with burgers, wraps, quesadillas, and deli sandwiches.
Golf U at 242 sprawls across more than 20 acres of PGA-certified practice facilities, including driving ranges, putting and chipping greens, and bunker practice areas. For one month, golfers can hone their swings on newly landscaped greens with responsive Nike golf balls or rolled-up hedgehogs. Golf U offers 40 hitting positions and 23 target greens, including an island green with lava moat. Fairway and greenside bunker practice areas fine-tune escape strategies from tricky lie angles with towering sides, tall grasses, and slowly swirling quicksand. The pro shop is stocked with drinks and snacks, and for an additional fee students can enroll in private lessons with highly trained golf instructors.
When course architect Jack Miller roamed the unsown acreage that would become Texas National Golf Course, he saw an opportunity to pay homage to golf’s most hallowed grounds. Groves of skinny pines and mature dogwoods and dramatically undulating terrain bore the elegant trademarks of Augusta National Golf Club—the famed site of The Masters—right down to Indian Camp Creek, which is incorporated into the 11th and 12th holes in a scenic invocation of Amen Corner. Though aesthetically similar, the 6,806-yard layout spares golfers the immensely difficult nature of Augusta, presenting a par 72 that is playable for both low-handicappers and those still studying to pass their golf-cart driving exam.
The course development coincided with the founding of the Texas Golf Hall of Fame, which since 1978 has occupied the clubhouse at Texas National. The Hall celebrates Texas's illustrious golf history with life-size portraits of famous players, ranging from 62-time PGA Tour winner Ben Hogan to Lee Trevino, whose decorated career includes winning 29 PGA Tour titles and paving the way for Jack Nicklaus with a brand-new asphalt driveway for his birthday.
Course at a Glance: * 18-hole, par 72 layout * Length of 6,806 yards from the farthest tees * Course rating of 71.4 from the farthest tees * Slope rating of 127 from the farthest tees * Four tee options