A horseshoe connotes luck and magic while sailboats symbolize journey and adventure. Tee boxes at all four golf courses at Horseshoe Bay Resort are aptly marked with sailboats inside horseshoes. Step up and consider yourself lucky.
THE HORSESHOE BAY WELCOME
The magic really begins at the entrance to Horseshoe Bay Resort where attentive doormen welcome with a smile and luggage assistance. This should not be taken for granted in the post Covid era when many businesses struggle to find enough employees.
Throughout Horseshoe Bay Resort, ample representatives are happy to greet and be of service. They seem genuinely happy to be there and why not? Horseshoe Bay Resort is ideally located in the Hill Country of Texas, right on Lake LBJ. The lake and altitude have a surprisingly positive climate effect, reducing the expected oppression of summer heat and humidity.
While that realization seemed fortunate, we truly lucked out at early check in when they said, “Yes, your Presidential Suite is ready.”
Wait, what??? The unexpected, generous upgrade made Danny’s traditional Marilyn Monroe style birthday song, “Happy Birthday, Mr. President,” a coincidental reality.
All the lake-facing rooms in the resort have a splendid view but the long balcony in this sweet suite on the seventh floor with access from four sets of sliding glass doors amplified the amazing panorama beyond measure. Add the property wide $100M renovations including on the golf courses and the resort is better than ever, forever evolving.
Let the fun begin.
Three championship courses designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr. really rock, literally and figuratively.
We began on Slick Rock which introduces the hill country vegetation on the somewhat easy first eleven holes and then the super fun begins on number 12, a challenging downhill par 5 with a lake to cross and 13, a tough par 3 over a canyon, leading to the money shot on hole 14. A spectacular, broad waterfalls that cost a million dollars flows below the tee boxes for a mesmerizing scene that may distract.
Ram Rock sprawls up and over the hillsides with a few more challenging holes by RTJ above Lake LBJ. It is particularly gorgeous in the spring with bluebonnets and Indian paintbrush blooms.
This summer an abundance of dragonflies flitted throughout bringing hope for a good score. Rainbow lizards dart out of the rocks as Texas big grasshoppers leap about. Number 9, par 5 is one of the prettiest with a bridge to walk over a cascade to the green. A snack shack avails there, and cart service is also efficient in addition to the convenient self-serve water and ice at multiple comfort stations.
Apple Rock incorporates every aspect of the hill country starting from the elevated tee box on number 1, rising and falling through the front nine with homes cozily tucked in and deer prancing between.
Number 10 tee box delivers another money shot view on Apple Rock. Take a big bite with a long drive and chew on the scenery – a beautiful lake and woods vista.
The back nine flows down to the lake converging on the water from the back tees of number 12, par 3. 18’s dogleg left, uphill, brings you home to Cap Rock.
Cap Rock’s new clubhouse and complex caps it all off with an adult pool incorporating waterfalls built into the ancient granite boulders for members and resort guests. The “Clubhouse Village” concept that includes the pool area, pro shop and pavilion won Golf Inc.’s Clubhouse of the Year. There is a sense of Frank Lloyd Wright architecture when you climb the steps above the cabana pool to the iron and stone restaurant overlooking the dual 18th greens of Apple Rock and Ram Rock. This dining is reserved for members only, one of the many incentives to invest and belong.
In addition to the three RTJ courses, Jack Nicklaus designed the exclusive Summit Course for private members only with a much higher price than the main Horseshoe Bay membership for the Rock courses.
If you’re lucky to meet a member and play, it is quite a bonus with stunning scenery and crazy contouring. The comfort stations on course offer chicken or tuna salad along with Arnold Palmers and many more goodies. Another impressive new clubhouse for the Summit members is in the plans. We were invited to join two members playing in on the 18th hole which involves a transition midway to the green and they acknowledged it is a daily challenge. Jim Bob who checked us in said there’s plenty of room for new golf members in both categories.
This is the second time we visited Horseshoe Bay Resort and both times, we rented a pontoon boat for a one-hour cruise. The marina has expanded with new slips, a fleet of rentals including 14 jet skis, and more Mastercrafts. Coming soon will be a 90-foot dining yacht and party barge.
There is nothing like lake life for us and it is why, along with the great golf, that most members move here or buy a second home. It’s fun to see the unique homes along the shore and try to find number 14 of Apple Rock for a both sides now view.
Book a boat in advance for availability, take a refreshing dip along the ride, and prepare for lake home envy. As the old saying goes, if you’re lucky enough to be at the lake, you’re lucky enough.
Horseshoe Bay Resort has numerous venues beyond the clubhouses and pools to satisfy all palates. Kindi serves kindly pours, downstairs at the Waterfront Bar and Grill, named for its spot on the lake by the marina. Upstairs, dinner is a treat with Brayden who knows the menu well. The Charred Cedar Redfish and Kabob plates make a great surf and turf combo when shared.
J’s Restaurant is located off the lobby serving a full breakfast buffet and varied lunch and dinner menus while The Market next to it carries quick grab food items and Starbucks coffee throughout the day.
Whitewater 360 Sports Club has a circular bar configuration with wide sports screens and outside windows to watch putters on the surrounding tropical course. The Whitewater 18 hole putting course is no putt-putt joke, but a serious routing with mini doglegs, undulations and skinny sand traps along streams and waterfalls.
This has been converted to members only and includes the largest jacuzzi in Texas, uniquely designed with rock spheres making a maze of hot bubbling water surging between granite peaks, too hot to get in during the summer. The pool, on the other hand, with an eagle sculpture soaring in the center, is refreshing and fills with lucky kids and floating toys in the afternoon.
There is no shortage of pool and jacuzzi space for guests, and members also opt for a change of scenery in the different spots including the Cap Rock, the main hotel pool, and Paseo Pool.
The only quandary at Horseshoe Bay Resort is what to do next. Between golf, lake and pool activities, guests may simply stroll the grounds, talk to the exotic birds, paddle on the water or on the tennis and pickleball courts. Youngsters might like to check into The Jungle Kids Club while parents play or attend a special event like the upcoming tenth annual Beer Bay Music Festival.
Texas is famous for its BBQ joints and breweries, and the Hill Country wineries will surprise you. We enjoyed tastings at Spicewood beside their vineyards and down the road discovered Iron Wolf distillery. Nearby the resort, cowboys entertain at the rodeo grounds.
To get there, road warriors may follow GPS guides through livestock ranches and old western towns to the lake and hill country with 75 mph speed limits on two lane roads and up to 80 mph on Interstate 10.
Commercial flights into the music capital of Austin or the Alamo’s San Antonio might deliver a bonus night(s) to explore those cities.
Horseshoe Bay Resort is just 45 minutes from Austin and 90 minutes from San Antonio airports. Real jetsetters may land their personal aircraft at the private Resort Jet Center with a lighted 6,000-foot runway. www.hsbresort.com
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