A gentle breeze ripples the waters of Pat Cleburne Lake before continuing eastward across the fairways of Cleburne Golf Links, rustling golfers' hair along the way and holding downwind drives aloft for an extra second. The lakeside breeze is a constant challenge at the 7,068-yard, par 72 course, testing players' ability to counteract crosswinds, adjust their yardage for shots hit into the wind, and ignore sand wedges' pleas to fly kites. Water hazards also come into play on multiple holes, including three par 3s where tee shots must clear water to make it to the green in regulation. The Links Grille awaits just beyond the 18th green, catering to hungry golfers with burgers, adult libations, and patio seating, from which guests can look out on the course and daydream about domesticating golf carts as housepets.
Designed by 1992 Masters Golf Tournament champion Fred Couples, the course at Twin Creeks Country Club drapes over 195 acres of Texas Hill Country framed by rocky outcroppings and natural hazards. Players traverse the course’s 7,033 yards along a pristine bermuda grass path from tee to green, though many gleaming white-sand bunkers may interrupt a string of stellar lies with tricky up-and-downs or inspire the sudden desire for players to fill their hourglasses with extra time. The club’s eponymous creeks wind the length of the course in a slithery tango—entering play on 13 of the holes—and ravines filled with century-old oak and pecan trees present still more snares. Players can check the club’s course-conditions page prior to a round for an idea of the day’s crowds, weather, and pin positions, which change each day of the week except Monday, when the course is closed.
Twin Creeks Country Club also boasts a 15,000-square-foot clubhouse complete with an upscale restaurant, bar and lounge, locker rooms, and pro shop. Outdoors, 10,000 square feet of earth play host to myriad events, and a covered area shelters diners from torrential golf balls.
Course at a Glance: * 18-hole, par 72 course * Total length of 7,033 yards from the back tees * Course rating of 75.7 from the back tees * Course slope of 142 from the back tees * Five sets of tees per hole * Designed by Fred Couples
The successive pinging of golf balls as they speed toward distant targets at Cedar Park Driving Range is a welcoming sound to visiting golfers, almost therapeutic. The expansive facility boasts 12 grass hitting bays for players who prefer a natural feel as well as 18 shaded stations with mat hitting bays, 10 of which cool down hardworking golfers and parched sand wedges with a water-misting system. Four circular targets—positioned at distances of 25, 50, 75, and 100 yards—help players dial in approach shots, while five distance markers—stationed at 50-yard intervals from 100 to 300 yards—help golfers gauge how far their golf-ball trebuchet is capable of sending a ball. Cedar Park Driving Range also has more than 100 clubs that they rent out free of charge.
A former brickyard may not be the first place one would think to build a golf course, but Old Brickyard Golf Course has succeeded in turning the one-time site of Ferris Brick Company into a fun-and-surprising 6,486-yard layout. By working around three former quarries, the course architect added stark elevation changes and wide-open vistas to the par 71 course. TifEagle greens roll atop land that was once nothing but rugged, natural clay, creating smooth, fast surfaces that make any two-putt a tricky proposition. Before taking to the course, golfers energize with hot dogs and drinks at the clubhouse, warm up swings at the all-grass driving range, or bury time capsules in the practice bunker so they can remember what life was like before their 18-hole rounds.
Course at a Glance: * 18-hole, par 71 course * Total length of 6,486 yards from the back tees * Course rating of 70.6 from the back tees * Course slope of 125 from the back tees * Three sets of tees per hole * Scorecard
Designed by former PGA Champion and Texas native Don January, Fort Worth Golf Club’s 18-hole course takes golfers on a club-swinging expedition across 6,600 yards of tree-lined fairways and emerald topography. Though towering arbors provide the bulk of the course’s sphere-impeding obstacles, a medley of other obstructions augment their twiggy efforts, including six water hazards known to feast on the life-force of errant golf balls. Formerly known as the private Eagle Mountain Country Club, Fort Worth Golf Club has opened up its emerald corridors to the public for the first time in 40 years, allowing new golfers the chance to drive, pitch, and shot-put their balls across the rolling hills of Eagle Mountain Lake. Before each round, golfers can warm up for the round by joyfully pummeling golf balls at the club’s driving range, where 48 natural-grass hitting bays serve as outdoor laboratories for players’ swing experimentations and their ongoing attempts to cross-breed divot tools with worker ants.
Garden Golf & Country Club celebrates its centennial in 2012 and looks back on a rich history as the course where golf legends Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson first learned the game. Despite a $1.5 million renovation in 2001, the course retains the character and charm of its early days, including a unique layout with a par 37 front nine and par 34 back nine that incorporates back-to-back par 5s. Just as they did during the Roaring '20s and the nationwide golf ball shortage that followed, players carefully guide their golf balls down wide fairways lined with pockets of dense forestation. A large lake and postcard-worthy fountain form the centerpiece of the course, surrounded by manicured fairways on each side. Course at a Glance: * 18-hole, par 71 course * Total length of 6,166 yards from the back tees * Course rating of 66.3 from the back tees * Course slope of 109 from the back tees * Four sets of tees per hole