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Highland Lakes is a golfer’s paradise

Brandi Jo Newman taking a tee shot off the No. 14 hole at Slick Rock Golf Course at Horseshoe Bay Resort. Staff photo by Jared Fields


The Highland Lakes is the golf mecca of Texas. The vistas and dynamic landscapes along with the welcoming, friendly people of Marble Falls and the surrounding area make it a golfer’s paradise.

Those who have experienced Texas golf at its finest in the Highland Lakes keep coming back for more and to stay! With a place like Horseshoe Bay Resort with its elite courses and daily-fee courses such as Hidden Falls and Delaware Springs, many retirees have set up their primary residences in the Highland Lakes.

The No. 11 hole at Ram Rock Golf Course at Horseshoe Bay Resort. Staff photo by Jared Fields

With lakefront golf courses on the south and north shores of Lake LBJ, you will always have great views with serene landscapes to welcome you. On RR 2147 on the south shore, Horseshoe Bay Resort has three distinguished 18-hole golf courses for private members and resort guests to enjoy. All three courses are ranked among the Dallas Morning News’ top 50 courses: Apple Rock (No. 17) Ram Rock (12) and Slick Rock (16).

Slick Rock was the first course to be built in 1971 when the resort was developed by cousins Wayne and Norman Hurd.

Slick Rock Golf Course’ “Million Dollar Hole” No. 14 at Horseshoe Bay Resort. Staff photo by Jared Fields

Home of the “Million Dollar Hole” at No. 14, it features a winding cart path that takes golfers on a ride through a waterfall spanning more than 35 yards and emptying more than 8,000 gallons of water into Slick Rock creek each minute. With multiple tees from which to choose and more than 70 sand traps and 12 water hazards, Slick Rock has the quintessential Robert Trent Jones Sr. philosophy of “hard par, easy bogey.” This track is a par 72 with a tough rating of 72.8 and a slope of 131.

The No. 10 hole at Apple Rock Golf Course at Horseshoe Bay Resort. Staff photo by Jared Fields

Horseshoe Bay’s other two resort courses, Apple Rock and Ram Rock, were also designed by Jones. Apple Rock was completed in 1986 and received distinction as “Best New Resort Course” by Golf Digest. With a par 72, a rating of 75.4 and a slope 136, it will test the most advanced player. Apple Rock rolls out along the high, rocky terrain of the Highland Lakes with incredible vistas overlooking Lake LBJ. The easy rolling TifEagle Bermuda elevated greens are protected by 56 sand traps. Apple Rock has the biggest elevation change of the three courses on back-to-back par 5 holes: Nos. 10 and 11. Golfers go from the highest points of the resort down to lakeside in just a few strokes.

The No. 4 hole at Ram Rock Golf Course at Horseshoe Bay Resort. Staff photo by Jared Fields

Ram Rock, or "The Challenger” as members call their favorite course, has tight fairways and smooth Crenshaw Bentgrass greens. Sixty-two deep bunkers and 10 water hazards protect this par-71, 75.4 tough-rated track. Ram Rock’s No. 4 is the best hole on the entire property. The lengthy par 3 has an island green protected by three sand traps.

Horseshoe Bay Resort has “golf fun” for the entire family with its unique Whitewater Putting Course. It’s an 18-hole, par-72 course complete with waterfalls, rapids and treacherous breaks along Bermuda grass.

For the destination golfer who enjoys all types of different courses, you will have no problem finding a daily-fee course to suit your game and budget. A hidden gem in the Highland Lakes is Lighthouse Country Club in Kingsland.

Rick and Mercy Howe purchased Packsaddle Golf Course in September 2011. The name and logo along with its purpose completely changed. The Lighthouse name comes from their Midland-based company, Lighthouse Energy Solutions. The Lighthouse gospel song, believing that God has always given guidance to search for wisdom to make the choice in your life, led to the Lighthouse slogan: “Guidance, Wisdom and Choice.”

The semi-private club was established at the headwaters of Lake LBJ in 1968. The course was renovated in 2006 by Jerry Slack and Leon Howard with TifEagle greens and 419 Bermuda fairways, tees and roughs with breathtaking views of Packsaddle Mountain. The 18-hole club has four sets of tees with a modest 6,558 yards from the championship tees to 4,922 yards from the red tees, allowing for the low handicapper to the high hacker to enjoy their round.

The tee at hole No. 14 at Delaware Springs Golf Course in Burnet. Photo courtesy Delaware Springs Golf Course

Just up U.S. 281 is Delaware Springs Municipal Golf Course, located south of Burnet. Cut out of the rugged terrain of north Burnet County, the city of Burnet manages this jewel in the Hill Country. The straightforward layout gives any golfer a great perspective on how to navigate the course. Simple is better, and the design speaks for itself by adding to the surrounding views. The wildlife abounds along the fairways of Delaware Springs.

One fascination with Delaware Springs is that it was one of only a few municipal courses listed in "1001 Golf Holes You Must Play Before You Die.” The book, published in March 2005, is a massive compendium of truly great golf courses in America, Canada, Germany, England, Australia, the Philippines and several more countries.

The book's editor, Jeff Barr, praises course designers Dave Axland and Dan Proctor for "making it click" at Delaware Springs, describing the course as truly worthy. The book features No. 17, stating, "At first glance, this is a birdie waiting to happen. But, as is often the case in this tricky game, first glances can be deceiving." He goes on to say, "This is a devilish little hole, and its deception is delicious.” No. 17 is a 310-yard, par-4 hole stretched out along Delaware Creek.

Hidden Falls Golf Course in Meadowlakes. Staff photo by Jared Fields

The best-kept secret in the Highland Lakes is Hidden Falls Golf Course, located in the gated city of Meadowlakes, which is tucked alongside Lake Marble Falls and within the city limits of Marble Falls. The subtle rolling design gives the player an easy stroll with a links feel and always smooth Bermuda green.

Whatever level of player you are, you will love the unique feel of how the course is laid out without one sand trap. The grass bunkers give the greens enough protection. Head Professional Jeremy Grubb and his assistant Blake are ready to welcome you to their little oasis inside Meadowlakes.

As you venture into our cozy little slice of American golf, you will no doubt want to come back for more and maybe stay awhile.

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