Horseshoe Bay Resort: The Golf Drive of a Lifetime

By Tim Cotroneo

For golfers, the best drive in all of Texas travels 59 miles northwest from the Austin International Airport to Horseshoe Bay Resort. There you’ll find a golf utopia that’s home to four championship courses signed off by designers Robert Trent Jones and Jack Nicklaus.

What makes your golf journey even better is if you don’t have to drive at all. Ask the good people at Horseshoe Bay to summon John Renfro to navigate your drive to the resort and Billy Chance for your ride back.

Renfro is a 77-year-old golf enthusiast who primes passengers with Horseshoe insider suggestions on can’t miss experiences. The former rancher does this while pointing out the best in Texas landmarks along the way. Renfro’s give-and-take makes your Horseshoe commute go by in the blink of an eye. On your return trip, Chance delivers down-home observations that are so thought-provoking, funny, and spontaneous, you’d think Austin’s top comedy clubs would be banging down his door.

You’ve Arrived – Texas-sized Curb Appeal

Whether you decide to stay at The Towers, Palm Villas, The Waters, or a private home rental, expect a welcome resonating with Texas hospitality. Horseshoe Bay Resort has a knack for hiring staff with personality plus, along with an overachieving service mentality.

The 400-room resort sits on 7,000-acres hugging 21-mile-long Lake LBJ, a property where you can anticipate amenities galore. Upon arrival, your senses come alive as there’s a good chance you’ll detect something delicious simmering at one of Horseshoe Bay’s six restaurants.

As nice as your indoor accommodations are, you’ll feel the pull of the Hill Country’s great outdoors. Once you’re checked in it’s time to explore Horseshoe’s marina, nearby vineyards, monthly special events, and of course, world-class golf.

Slick Rock- How it All Began

When you absorb how fresh your Horseshoe Bay Resort’s surrounding are, it’s hard to believe this sprawling resort has a history that dates back 50-plus years. In the early ‘70s, the resort owners tapped the golf industry’s hottest architect to place Texas Hill Country firmly on the golf world’s map.

The Robert Trent Jones Slick Rock Golf Course is not only Horseshoe Bay’s first ever 18-hole layout, it’s also the long-time favorite of members and guests. Generous fairways, large greens, and immaculate conditions make for an exquisite 18-hole experience.

The Par-4, 361-yard 14th hole is another reason to secure a tee time at Slick Rock. An immense 35-yard waterfall feature separates a golfer’s tee shot from the fairway. The “Million Dollar Hole” and its winding stone cart path is your chance to tell friends back home about your awesome drive while capturing a photographic memory.

Ram Rock – Texas’ Toughest

In 1981, Trent Jones Sr. made Ram Rock Golf Course his Par 71 encore at Horseshoe Bay. Jones’ creativity exceeded par by one after he added 62 bunkers and 10 water hazards to this rugged 6800-yard layout.

When playing Ram Rock, you’d be wise to make reservations at their new Cap Rock Clubhouse Restaurant. Your fine dining experience is enhanced by all glass surroundings that exudes an amazing twilight ambiance and delivers views that go on for miles. Your Cap Rock dining choice was voted the 2021 Private Clubhouse of the Year.

Apple Rock – “Elevate” Your Game

In 1985, Horseshoe Bay Resort asked Trent Jones to design a third course and the renown architect gave them Apple Rock. The golf industry reaction to Apple Rock was immediate. When the first tee shot was christened, this 7,000-yard beauty was deemed The Best New Resort Course in America.

Lake LBJ serves as a backdrop on several of Apple Rock’s holes and Texas Hill Country’s famous elevations play an integral role in your 18-hole experience.

The back nine is when Apple Rock raises its game even higher with stunning views on 10, 11, and 16.

Summit Rock – Game’s Greatest Player Paints a Masterpiece

Even before your first drive on the Par 4, 407-yard first hole, you can feel something special about Summit Rock. There’s an extra quiet to your surroundings, extra care to the conditions, and a special vibe to the prestige that seems inherent to this course designed by Jack Nicklaus.

The course’s unending elevations separate and frame each hole in a way that makes your shot selection, momentum, and golf memories unique. Summit Rock is private, so call in all your member favors before arriving at Horseshoe Bay. You’ll find this fourth member of Horseshoe’s Fab Four a competitor on your personal golf Mount Rushmore.

Culinary, Yachting, Events, and Amenity Bliss

The Horseshoe Bay Resort founders made a point of embracing the infinite shoreline of Lake LBJ. Today’s members and guests love the resort’s 450-slip marina, the plentiful fishing at the lake, and the luxury housing that generates amazing water views.

The dining centerpiece to this aquatic playground is The Yacht Club, the resort’s flagship waterfront restaurant. The Yacht Club’s signature dish is Chicken Fried Lobster, an entrée so in demand that Chef Angel Luis Rodriquez says there would be a riot if this favorite was ever removed from the menu.

Amenities, road trips, and events abound at Horseshoe Bay. The resort’s convenient locale makes it a natural for offsite road trips to the dozens of wineries surrounding Fredericksburg or downtown Austin.

You may also match your vacation with the monthly events on Horseshoe Bay’s calendar that range from the Balloons Over Horseshoe Bay during Easter Weekend, Bluebonnet Festival in April, Beer by the Bay in August, and Wine Dine and Jazz in October.

Every Day Feels Like Vacation

There’s a favorite saying that members like to share with Horseshoe Bay Resort newbies. That is, “Every day feels like vacation here.”

The newcomers are literally buying in to this mantra, because in 2022 over 400 people became members at Horseshoe Bay Resort. On your ride back to the Austin International Airport, the friendly charm you felt when John Renfro picked you up is reinforced by the dry wit of Billy Chance. You can’t help but reflect, and smile, as this genial Horseshoe ambassador unloads your luggage at the airport entrance.

What’s not to like about four championship golf courses, cruising on Lake LBJ, and chicken fried lobster? As Billy waves goodbye, you realize that your trip to Horseshoe Bay Resort may just be the golf drive of a lifetime.


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