Newport Dunes -- Port Aransas
Along the Gulf Coast, not far from Corpus Christi, sits this distinctive 2008 Arnold Palmer design on Mustang Island. Gently rolling, links-like terrain and views of the Gulf of Mexico make Newport Dunes a rare Texas treat. $75-$90; 361-749-4653, newportdunesgolf.com
2 of 8Courtesy of Black Jack's Crossing
Black Jack's Crossing at Lajitas Golf Resort -- Lajitas
Big Bend State and National Parks and the Rio Grande River form compelling backdrops to this year-old layout on the Mexican border. Befitting his playing style, architect Lanny Wadkins infused many risk/reward holes into the layout, among the creek-lined, par-4 6th.$90; 432-424-5080, blackjackscrossing.com
3 of 8Courtesy of Butterfield Trail
Butterfield Trail -- El Paso
Tom Fazio is best known for flawlessly sculpted big-budget designs, but in 2007 he showed can do wild and wooly munis equally well. Natural sand dunes, 55 feet of elevation change and a convenient next-to-the-airport location are highlights.
$65-$80; 915-772-1031, butterfieldtrailgolf.com
4 of 8Courtesy of The Quarry
The Quarry -- San Antonio
This 1993 Keith Foster design, that's only 15 minutes from downtown, features a back nine that plunges in and out of a 100-year-old stone quarry pit. The linksy front nine isn't as dramatic, but it makes for unparalleled variety in the region. $75-$95; 210-824-4500, quarrygolf.com
5 of 8Courtesy of Rawls Course
Rawls Course at Texas Tech -- Lubbock
Architect Tom Doak transformed a flat former cotton field in the high-plains panhandle into a heaving, tumbling, brilliantly bunkered examination for Texas Tech University. $55-$65; 806-742-4653, therawlscourse.com
6 of 8John and Jeannine Henebry
Max A. Mandel Municipal -- Laredo
Edging the Mexican border, along the mighty Rio Grande, this brand new Robert Trent Jones II creation unfolds atop sandy bluffs above the famed river. Groves of towering mesquites and holes slashed by massive arroyos further spice the play.
$33.50-$56; 956-726-2000, themaxlaredo.com
7 of 8Courtesy of Texas Star
Texas Star -- Euless
It gets a little lost amid the big-ticket tournament tracks in the Dallas area, but this 1997 Keith Foster creation 15 minutes south of the DFW Airport holds its own, thanks to superior shotmaking challenges on rolling terrain carved into a back-to-nature setting.
$57-$77; 817-685-7888, texasstargolf.com
8 of 8Courtesy of Pine Dunes
Pines Dunes -- Frankston
Ninety miles southeast of Dallas sits this Jay Morrish design carved from a dense pine thicket that tumbles over Pinehurst-like natural sand hills. Also well done are the option-laden, short par-4s and the big, bold bunkers.
$49-$79; 903-876-4336, pinedunes.com
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