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
Designed by three-time Masters champion Jimmy Demaret, Point Venture Golf Club's nine-hole course cleaves through thickets of cedar trees along the north shore of Lake Travis. Although narrow fairways and small greens offer a challenge to advanced golfers, novice players can swing freely as the course is free of water hazards, bunkers, and wormholes disguised as divots. A relatively short course, Point Venture’s display of sharp doglegs frequently forces players to take shorter clubs to the tee box, effectively lengthening the course. Conversely, the winding fairways may tempt golfers to go for the high-risk, high-reward play of unsheathing their drivers at the tee, flying the corner, and setting up a short approach to the green.
Golfers can warm up their swings with a stint at the club's driving range or plan their attack by taking a digital course tour. Point Venture Golf Club also features a golf store and a floating restaurant for after-hole meals and experimenting with golf tees as toothpicks.
In a time when most people find out about survival skills through reality television, brothers Dave and Michel Scott are the exception. The two brothers spent their formative years exploring the Texas wilderness. Dave, a US Army veteran, is 1 of only 20 people in North America qualified as a Track and Sign Specialist. He and his brother have devoted themselves to helping society remember the skills that have kept us alive for thousands of years.
Earth Native Wilderness School's instructors come from all walks of life, but they each have a love of nature. With lessons in medicinal plants, basic wilderness survival, and wildlife tracking, the school's classes teach students skills such as fashioning tools for survival, arrow making, fire by friction, and finding an ATM in the desert. The staff also realizes humanity's spiritual connection to nature and can even guide students through a vision quest to strengthen their relationship with nature.
The soft jingling of wind chimes rolls across Magic Greens’s 2.5-acre facility, creating a tranquil space as clients lope across a miniature-golf course lined with handcrafted cedar structures, towering oaks, and native wildflowers. Owners Carole and James George added the serene touches to capitalize on the surrounding area's natural landscape, developing a scenic course that eschews the plastic statuettes and gimmicks of typical mini-golf courses in favor of a more authentic, clown-proof space. Alongside the challenging course rest four bocce-ball courts, ample space for casual washers games, vine-covered gazebos, two waterfalls, and a cedar pavilion where guests can enjoy food and nougaty-center golf balls from the concession-stand.
Golfers stop by Home On The Range for a change of scenery, chipping balls at a surreal-garden’s worth of quirky targets, ranging from animal statues to abandoned school buses. The accommodating range stays open seven says a week. Its covered tees shield from the rain or blistering sun and it even flips on powerful lights to illuminate the grounds after sunset. Players can also work on their short game at the putting green or head down into the practice bunker to build and bludgeon sand castles. Home On The Range's golf shop houses a variety of golf gear by brands including TaylorMade, Adidas, and Nike, as well as a staff expertly trained to repair and fit a broad spectrum of clubs.
When students sign on for a Rock About climbing class, they don't just learn to rope their way up mountainsides and trade banter with goats. The company's certified guides also educate clients about the cultural history and complex geology of the climbing sites. On climbing treks to Reimers Ranch Park, owner Adam Mitchell and his team teach top-roping and belaying techniques while exploring the notion that climbing allows humankind to commune safely with the earth's natural wonders. For those uneasy about vertical exploration, the guides offer non-climbing adventures such as interpretive hikes.