The Most Beautiful Courses in Texas

1 of 12 Rob Perry
Black Jack’s Crossing at Lajitas Golf Resort, Lajitas: This new design from Lanny Wadkins takes its cues from a preexisting Robert Trent Jones Jr. design on the site called the Ambush that featured an optional par-3 green located in Mexico, with its tee in Texas. Today’s course didn’t retain the gimmick, but as befits the Wadkins style, it boasts plenty of risk/reward holes. It also possesses the rugged grandeur of its Big Bend National Park setting, along the edge of the Rio Grande. (432-424-5000, lajitasgolfresort.com)
2 of 12 PGA Tour Photography
TPC San Antonio (AT&T Oaks), San Antonio: Slender fairways, steep bunkers and abundant oaks define this 2010 collaboration with Sergio Garcia that serves as home to the PGA Tour’s Valero Texas Open. Small, severely sectionalized greens, heavy contour around the greens and a bunker jabbed into the middle of the 16th green are among the design gambits that vex the pros. (210-491-5800, tpcsanantonio.com)
3 of 12 PGA Tour Photography
TPC San Antonio (AT&T Canyons), San Antonio: As with its narrower, flatter sibling, the AT&T Oaks course, you must stay at the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa to play this Pete Dye/Bruce Lietzke collaboration, but it’s worth the splurge, with many holes offering unforgettable views of a 750-acre nature preserve. It’s currently host to the Champions Tour’s AT&T event, where Kenny Perry defends. (210-491-5800, tpcsanantonio.com)
4 of 12 Courtesy of La Cantera Golf Club
La Cantera Golf Club (Resort), Austin: Tom Weiskopf and Jay Morrish crafted a fun, playable spread with sprawling bunkers that proved overly friendly for the Tour pros who played in the Texas Open here from 1995-2009. It proved unforgettable for resort guests as well, thanks to front-nine holes that are backdropped by the roller-coaster at the Six Flags amusement park next door. (210-558-4653, lacanteragolfclub.com)
5 of 12 Courtesy of La Cantera Golf Club
La Cantera Golf Club (Palmer), Austin: Designed by the King, Arnold Palmer, this option-filled, thinking man’s layout adjacent to the La Cantera Hill Country Resort has long been overlooked compared to its PGA Tour-hosting Resort sibling, but elevation changes and trouble on both sides of most fairways in the form of trees and canyons make this the stronger test. (210-558-4653, lacanteragolfclub.com)
6 of 12 Courtesy of Palmilla Beach Resort & Golf Club
Palmilla Beach, Port Aransas: Seaside golf in Texas? Believe it. Situated along the Gulf Coast, not far from Corpus Christi sits this distinctive Arnold Palmer design on Mustang Island. Formerly known as Newport Dunes, the course was purchased in 2013 by a development group spearheaded by legendary Texas entrepreneur Red McCombs. Currently under renovation, Palmilla Beach’s gently rolling, links-like terrain and views of the Gulf of Mexico will always be powerful enticements. (361-749-4653, palmillabeach.com)
7 of 12 John and Jeannine Henebry
Max A. Mandel Municipal, Laredo: Unfolding atop sandy bluffs above the Rio Grande along the Mexican border, the year-old Max winds through groves of 30-foot-tall mesquites and is slashed by two massive arroyos. It’s a tribute to the Robert Trent Jones II firm that the design and the aesthetics mesh seamlessly. Perhaps the ultimate crowd-pleaser is the tiny par-3 15th, all of 138 yards from the tips that sports a full frontal of the Rio Grande. (956-726-2000, themaxlaredo.com)
8 of 12 Courtesy of Hill Country Golf Club
Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort, San Antonio: A delightful 27-hole romp through an oak-studded acreage that’s criss-crossed by lakes and streams, this tranquil 1993 Arthur Hills design known as Hill Country Golf Club appeals to every handicap. Equal measures bite and forgiveness make for enjoyable play and vistas for both scratch swingers and once-a-month Joes alike. (210-647-1234, hillcountry.hyatt.com)
9 of 12 Angus Murray
Cowboys Golf Club, Grapevine: The only NFL-themed golf complex in existence, Cowboys scores a touchdown with its presentation and its design. Architect Jeff Brauer built a strong test amid Hill Country-type elevation change, with just enough ravines, lakes, Texas-sized bunkers and contoured greens to hold your attention at every hole, notably at the par-4 4th, which features a blue Dallas Cowboys star in the middle of the landing area. (817-481-7277, cowboysgolfclub.com)
10 of 12 Rick Muniz Photography
The Cliffs Resort, Graford: Robert von Hagge teamed with Aussie great Bruce Devlin to craft a cliff-top stunner that overlooks Possum Kingdom Lake, two hours west of Dallas. Ravines, cedar groves, rock outcroppings and tall native grasses lend variety and hazard value amid the roller coaster elevation changes. (940-779-4520, thecliffsresort.com)
11 of 12 Rob Perry
Butterfield Trail, El Paso: Situated a Texas-sized 5-iron from the El Paso International Airport, this 2007 Tom Fazio creation soars with natural sand dunes, 55 feet of elevation change and panoramas of the Franklin, Hueco and Sierra Madre Mountains. Lakes, strategic options and gorgeously sculpted bunkers complete a stirring tableau. (915-772-1031, butterfieldtrailgolf.com)
12 of 12 Courtesy of Wolfdancer Golf Club
Wolfdancer at Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort, Austin: Situated adjacent to the 1,100-acre McKinney Roughs nature preserve, Wolfdancer features three distinct landforms, rolling prairie land, a forested ridgeline and a valley populated with pine and pecan trees. The showstopper here is the 155-yard, drop-shot, par-3 12th, its green clinging to the side of a mountain. The final five holes occupy a lower terrace, culminating in two holes that overlook the Colorado River. (512-308-4770, wolfdancergolfclub.com)