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 majestic, 18-hole course encircles the stately grounds of Balcones Country Club, whisking golfers to an elysian landscape of dense tree lines and large, rippling waterways. The Balcones Course, features the club’s signature hole, a 155-yard par 3 where tee shots must clear a vast water hazard and a central fountain that spews the liberated souls of drowned golf balls. The club prepares greenhorn golfers with a bevy of classes offered through their golf academy, which range from typical private lessons to fitness programs offered by Titleist Performance Institute–certified trainers. A classroom equipped with video swing-analysis technology hosts intense investigations into corrupt swings, and a double-sided, lighted driving range fosters late-night reflections on whether or not golf balls are simply fallen stars.
A more frenetic pace of competition takes stage on the 10 courts that billet Balcones Country Club’s tennis program, and scampering tykes and weary adults can retreat to the club’s two outdoor pools for a more relaxing setting. Guests can fuel up for a day of recreation with a quick bite at the onsite grill or engage the community in the elegant, 250-capacity banquet hall.
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:
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.
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: