As brash as he was on the tennis court, that’s how modest Andy Roddick is off it, especially when discussing his golf game. “Having done one sport at a decent level, I know enough that I’m not a great golfer in the grand scheme of things,” says the former world No. 1 and 2003 U.S. Open champion. Maybe not, but few of us ever get down to a 0.4 handicap. “A complete aberration,” he says. “I live between a 2 and a 3. I don’t do any one thing that well—other than not make doubles.”
Roddick retired from tennis in 2012 and immediately began teeing it up almost daily. “Golf dictates many parts of my social existence post-career, and I feel lucky to have found it,” he says. Where his pride swells is discussing his hometown since age four: Austin, Texas, host each March of the PGA Tour’s WGC-Dell Technologies World Match Play Championship, at his former haunt, Austin Country Club.
“This city is a lot more than a one-trick pony. It’s a huge tech hub. Whole Foods started here. Cool brands like Tiff ’s Treats and Outdoor Voices. It’s become a real melting pot for business,” Roddick says. “Of course, the culture really is amazing—everyone knows about the [South by Southwest] music festival and the history of music here. I’ll always call Austin home.” Here’s his guide to where to go on and off the course.
“Barton Creek always gets mentioned on the ‘best public’ lists, and rightly so. One of the cool spots in Austin is its first public course, Lions Municipal— and not because ‘Muny’ is one of the best courses you’ll ever play. It’s almost a rite of passage, and Austin golfers look at it through a romantic lens. Anyone who considers themself a golf fanatic in Austin has probably played a bunch there. It’s a real staple, a ‘Keep Austin Weird’ type of course. On the private side, Ben Crenshaw’s personal course, Austin Golf Club in Spicewood, is pretty awesome, and I’m also partial to my club, Spanish Oaks, just a bit outside of town. And it’s crazy to have played Austin Country Club a hundred times and then see it on TV—that makes it way more fun to watch. It’s such a good match-play course, with the shorter par 4s and a few quirky holes.”
“You could blindly throw a dart at a map of Austin and find a good Tex-Mex place where you’ll leave happy. Most people don’t match Texas and sushi, but I love Uchiko on Lamar Boulevard—it’s absolutely lights-out. If you’re looking for something on a more casual note, Ramen Tatsu-Ya is also fantastic. Josephine House is the casual sister restaurant next door to Jeffrey’s, a famous fine-dining spot, and they both always do great food.”
Breaking a Sweat
“About 15 minutes from downtown is a wilderness preserve called Wild Basin. It’s a beautiful place to go for a hike. I used to train by doing trail runs there. There are great views, and you’ll run in and out of tree canopies and see the limestone rock that Austin is famous for. If you want to play tennis, Caswell Tennis Center was my haunt as a kid—it’s where I took my first real lesson. Mom would drop me off at 8 or 9, I’d try to hustle lunch in the morning, then eat it and play all afternoon.”
“Austin’s version of Central Park is Town Lake [now officially Lady Bird Lake]. You can go in a million different directions here. There are loops inside of loops for running. You can see the big buildings in town from one side of the lake; on the other side, you get Zilker Park, which has everything from a Frisbee golf course to botanical gardens. This is the mecca in terms of where to spend the day in Austin.”
Taking in Tunes
“Unless you’re going to see a specific act, the two main standbys for music are Antone’s and The Continental Club. These are the old-school places, where you feel like you’re walking into history. It’s that whole ‘If these walls could talk’ type of thing.”