Let’s Play Two!

“Let’s play two” is a phrase usually associated with double headers in baseball, but when you’re with friends and playing well, there are few things better than playing 36 holes.  San Antonio is a terrific golf vacation destination for those who want to go around again.  In addition to great food, unbelievable margaritas, and the world-famous Riverwalk, San Antonio is also home to some of the best golf courses in Texas.

 

There are few better places to play 36 than TPC San Antonio, which features the AT&T Oaks Course and the AT&T Canyons Course.  Greg Norman, with player consultant Sergio Garcia, designed the Oaks Course, which is the home of the PGA Tour Valero Texas Open.  Relatively flat with only 100 feet of fall from the highest point on the course to the lowest, the course has a traditional design with tree lined fairways.  The late, great Pete Dye designed the Canyons Course, which is a fantastic compliment to the Oaks Course.  The Canyons Course challenges golfers with dramatic elevation changes and was the host of the PGA Tour Champions San Antonio Championship from 2011 to 2015.

 

 

Another top Texas golf vacation spot for those looking to play 36 is La Cantera Resort & Spa.  The resort has two well renowned courses, the Resort course and the Palmer course.  The Resort Course at La Cantera hosted the PGA Tour Valero Texas Open for 15 years and was designed by Tom Weiskopf and Jay Morrish.  Six holes have amazing views of San Antonio and the surrounding hill country, including the par-4 7th that has an 80 foot drop from the tee box to the fairway.  The Palmer course is aptly named after its designer, Arnold Palmer.  The clubhouse is about 10 minutes from the rest of the resort and the course is immersed in its natural surroundings.  Majestic oaks line the fairways, and waterfalls, lakes, and white sand bunkers demand skill from tee to green on this picturesque course.

 

la cantera san antonio

 

Hill Country Golf Club at the Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort & Spa is a fun option to play 36 holes during your golf trip to San Antonio.  This 27-hole facility was designed by nationally acclaimed Arthur Hills and Associates on 200 acres of rolling meadows and lush hillsides.   Hill Country GC offers golfers 3 unique and balanced 9-hole loops, The Oaks, The Creeks, and The Lakes.  Each 9-hole course is par-36.

 

 

The Club at Sonterra just north of downtown San Antonio, is home to two 18-hole championship courses, each with their own unique settings and challenges.  The South Course, built in 1954, was designed by Press Maxwell.  It offers golfers a traditional layout with large oaks lining the fairways and Emerald Bermuda greens.  The club’s North Course rates as a Top 100 course in Texas per the Dallas Morning News and was built in 1985.  The course has notably few trees, but an abundance of fairway bunkers penalizes wayward shots off the tee.

 

 

About 30 to 45 minutes northwest of downtown San Antonio resides Fair Oaks Ranch Golf & Country Club, home to two Gary Player signature courses.  Gary Player and Denis Griffith designed the Blackjack Oak course while Player and Ron Kirby designed the Live Oak course.  Both courses run along hilly terrain and have large, undulating greens.  The tree lined fairways strategically narrow in the landing areas, rewarding good course management and club selection.

 

 

One more option to play two different courses while playing 36 holes in one day is pairing up Brackenridge Park Golf Course with The Quarry Golf Course.  Both courses are just outside of downtown San Antonio and only 10 minutes apart from each other, so playing both courses in one day is no problem.  Brackenridge Park is a historical gem and one of the few public A.W. Tillinghast designed courses in the country.  Home to the Texas Golf Hall of Fame, “Ol’ Brack” is a must play when you visit San Antonio.  World Traveler Magazine ranked The Quarry as the #7 Most Unique Golf Course in the U.S.  Designed by Keith Foster, the back nine sits in a 100-year-old quarry pit.  You’ll find yourself taking pictures throughout your round while enjoying a one-of-a-kind Texas golf experience.

 

San Antonio golf

 

Golf Trip to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico!

We are so excited to announce that we now offer golf vacations to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.  You’ll see some additions to our site after the first of the year.  I recently had the pleasure of visiting Puerto Vallarta (PV) and I was blown away!  You will be too when you book your Mexico golf vacation with Texas Golf Trails.

 

I flew from Austin to Puerto Vallarta with a short layover at DFW.  Once I landed in PV, getting through customs was a breeze.  I was staying at The Owners Club at Puerto Vallarta, a complex of four condos located at Marina Vallarta Club de Golf.  Unlike other destinations I’ve visited in Mexico where you have to endure an hour long ride from the airport, I was in the heart of PV’s Marina district within 10 minutes!  That was a pleasant surprise.  Also nice was how easy it was to communicate with my taxi driver since I speak as much Spanish as you’d expect from someone who scraped by two years of high school Spanish class in Upstate NY.  Just about everyone I dealt with in PV was bilingual, so getting around, ordering food, etc, was all very simple.  More than that, I was blown away by how friendly everyone was, from resort receptionists, to cab drivers, to cart girls and caddies.  Instead of just pandering to tourists and having a hospitality oriented economy, you could tell that the locals in PV are genuinely warm and inviting.  It is very evident that welcoming guests is a large part of their culture.

 

 

After grabbing a delicious lunch of shrimp tacos at the club’s lounge, I jumped back in a cab to go play a round at Vista Vallarta Club de Golf.  Vista Vallarta is home to 2 championship courses, one designed by Jack Nicklaus and the other by Tom Weiskopf.  The club was only about 3 miles from the Marina district, but the ride took about 20 minutes since there’s not a direct route or highway to the club.  Prepare yourself for cobblestone roads and some random speed bumps, because rides around PV can get a little rough at times.  Vista Vallarta is beautiful and I was struck by the exotic flowers and trees as well as the towering palms as soon as you enter the property.  My round on the Nicklaus course my first day in PV was a blast.  I was able to keep it in the short grass off the tee thanks to wide fairways, but the greens were well guarded by bunkers and they had plenty of undulation.  The course is set on the highest elevation of the club and offers some fun elevation changes.  The views of the surrounding mountains were beautiful, and there were several holes where I took a break to just look around.

 

There was a line of taxis waiting for golfers at the clubhouse after I finished up.  Twenty minutes after saying “Marina Vallarta Club de Golf por favor,” I was back at my condo.  I never exchanged money to get pesos, and all the cabs took US dollars and stores and restaurants took credit cards.  That night, I headed to Olas Altas, or “Old Town”, for dinner.  It took maybe 30 minutes to get to La Palapa, a beachfront restaurant serving tropical Mexican cuisine since 1959.  I found traffic to be pretty light in PV, and any delays I experienced were due to road closures resulting from my visit coinciding with festivals celebrating the Virgen de Guadalupe.  My table at La Palapa was literally on the sand and I had maybe the best red snapper ever.  The margarita I had before may have helped.

 

Sheraton Puerto Vallarta
Sheraton Puerto Vallarta

 

The next day I toured the Sheraton Buganvilias Resort & Convention Center.  The breakfast buffet was served in a large, shaded open-air dining area.  When you visit PV, I highly recommend having some banana bread every breakfast!  The Sheraton completed a full renovation in 2019 and the rooms were bright and spacious.  Every room has an ocean view, although lower floors really only see the pool areas.  Similar to every other resort I visited, the lobby is open-air and extremely impressive.  You can’t help but be overwhelmed by the feeling of being on a tropic vacation once you enter.  Also, the Spa at the Sheraton was one of the most impressive things I’ve seen.  Whether you’re a massage guy or not, go ahead and enjoy the hydro-therapy options.  You’ll feel like royalty.

 

Marriott Puerto Vallarta

 

Later, I visited the Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa, located just across the street from The Owners Club and Marina Vallarta Club de Golf.  This resort also completed a full renovation within the past 18 months and the decor is inspired by Puerto Vallarta’s heritage, especially as it pertains to the agave plant and tequila.  The resort even features it’s own tequila brand, the only one in the entire Marriott portfolio.  They did a great job here, with the rooms, restaurants, and common areas all looking bright and modern, but still warm.  You don’t feel like you’re in just any Marriott, but you can tell you’re at a high end resort in a tropical locale.  Every room at this resort has an ocean view along with a terrace.  Lunch here was amazing, as a chef joined me and helped me make my own shrimp ceviche!  After that, I walked off my delicious meal by passing along the resort’s pool, the largest infinity pool in PV, and then took in the resort’s beautiful view of Banderas Bay and the Pacific Ocean.

 

 

In the afternoon, I played the Joe Finger designed course at Marina Vallarta.  The course has a fun and challenging layout.  I lost a few balls in the lagoons that line some of the fairways and guard the greens.  I might have been able to find some of them, but the crocodiles made me more cautious than usual!  My favorite hole was the only seaside hole, a par 3 on the front 9 that gives you a great view of the bay.  The cart girl was super friendly and I saw her about every 15 minutes.  When I was done, a gentleman offered to clean my shoes and then I headed into the lounge to enjoy one of Jose’s famous margaritas.  I’ve never been a big margarita drinker, but I couldn’t help myself in PV.  That night, I headed back to the Marriott to catch the Big 10 Championship game between Ohio St and Wisconsin at the resort’s sports bar, Champions.  Get the shrimp burger!

 

Velas Vallarta

 

My last day in PV, I toured three amazing, all-inclusive resorts.  Unlike other all-inclusive packages, these three resorts offer a “Beyond All-Inclusive” experience that includes all meals as well as top-shelf liquor and high-end wine.  Even gratuities are already included, so you won’t get surprised by unexpected charges upon departure.  Other than spa services, there’s not much else at these resorts that is not part of their all-inclusive offerings.  The first resort I visited was the all-suite, beachfront Velas Vallarta.  The brick arches in the grandiose lobby immediately catch your attention, but also notable was the resort’s general manager greeting guests by name as they checked-in and saying goodbye to those checking out.  Maybe more impressive was that the guests all knew the general manager’s name, Luis!  I had breakfast at Velas Vallarta and this is where I had the best banana bread along with a beef tongue taco.  The gardens at this resort make you feel like you’re in the jungle, but then you emerge and find a gorgeous pool and poolside restaurants, where you can enjoy cheeseburgers so good, the resort’s owner often visits just for lunch.  The rooms at Velas Vallarta are all suites that pamper guests with a living area, kitchenette, and spacious 1, 2, or 3 bedroom options.

 

 

The second resort I visited was Casa Velas, an adults-only, all-inclusive luxury resort.  This was the only resort I saw that was not right on the beach, but they took me to the resort’s private beach club.  After a 5 minute ride, I saw a little piece of paradise with a sandy beach, infinity pool with jacuzzi, and a restaurant and full bar, all part of the resort’s all-inclusive package.  The resort’s rooms are gorgeous, many of which offer views of Marina Vallarta’s 10th fairway.  The pool at the resort is shaded by huge palm trees and some of the rooms even have their own plunge pool.  There is a path near the Casa Velas’ pool that takes you to Vista Vallarta’s course, and the club will come pick up your golf bag and take you to the clubhouse.  This resort certainly had a more boutique feel to it and the vibe is much more private and secluded than the other resorts I visited.

 

Grand Velas

 

The last resort I toured was by far the most impressive.  We traveled about 20 minutes north to Riviera Nayarit to see Grand Velas.  There’s no front desk in the soaring, open-air lobby because the front desk comes to you.  If you were a guest in a Mexican hacienda, you would be seated in the living room and everyone would come to you.  That’s the mantra at Grand Velas, where upon arriving, you are seated, offered a welcome drink, and then treated to a five minute massage!  The resort’s staff comes to you to handle the check-in process and then escorts you to your room.  Grand Velas is the only resort on Mexico’s Pacific coast that received Five Diamonds from AAA.  I had lunch by the ocean at Azul, where the tuna ceviche and flank steak were exceptional!  The resort has six or seven beautifully designed restaurants where the flavors of Mexico, Asia, Italy and France come to life, all included in your stay.  The resort’s location a little north of Puerto Vallarta is, again, only 20 minutes from Marina Vallarta and 30 minutes from Vista Vallarta.   The beach here was also the most beautiful of all the resorts I saw.

 

 

Afterwards, I headed to Vista Vallarta to play the last round of my trip at the Weiskopf course.  Each of my rounds were in the afternoon due to my schedule, but all were pleasant with temperatures in the low 80s.  I think the Weiskopf course was my favorite of the three.  The fairways were a little tighter than the Nicklaus course, but there was more margin for error on my approach shots.  Also, the course lives up to its billing as a “jungle course.”  You travel through some dense canopies along the cart path and it all makes for a very unique experience.  Afterwards, cabs were waiting again and I headed back to The Owners Club.

 

That night, I strolled along the piers of boardwalk area in the Marina district to find my dinner.  I stumbled upon a pizza joint with NFL games on the TVs and enjoyed a chorizo and jalapeno pizza with a Corona.  After that, I found a bakery and finished the night with a slice of Kaluha pie.  This was after dark and there were a lot of people out walking around.  I didn’t know what to expect before my visit, but throughout my time in PV I noticed obvious tourists just strolling around, both day and night.  Any concerns I had about safety soon disappeared.

 

I had an early flight out the next morning, had an hour and a half long layover in Mexico City, and then breezed through customs again once I arrived in Austin.  I’m so excited to help our customers experience a golf trip to Puerto Vallarta.  The three courses we now partner with are all beautiful, fun layouts designed by some of the best in the game.  We’ve also partnered with luxurious resorts that exude exceptional service where you are sure to have a good time in this tropical paradise.  I’ve already planned a return trip with my wife and kids.  Can’t wait to get back to PV!

Horseshoe Bay Resort

Searching for a TX golf vacation? Look no further than Horseshoe Bay Resort, one of the best hotel golf resorts in the Southwest. Horseshoe Bay Resort is a 7,000-acre AAA Four Diamond resort about 45 minutes from Austin in the Texas Hill Country. This TX luxury golf resort features 400 guest rooms, suites and condominiums, views of Lake LBJ, four championship golf courses designed by World Golf Hall of Fame members Robert Trent Jones Sr. and Jack Nicklaus, a spa and health club, and several restaurants.

Horseshoe Bay Resort is nearing completion on a $70 million property-wide transformation that includes the complete renovation of 349 guest rooms and villas as well as a revamp of the golf courses and facilities, and dining areas. To ensure it’s status as one of the best TX golf resorts, $7.5 million was spent to upgrade all three courses designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr., Slick Rock, Ram Rock, and Apple Rock. All three courses ranked in the Top 25 Best Golf Courses in Texas according to the Dallas Morning News even before the recent improvements. The course renovations were done in cooperation with the Robert Trent Jones II team and Larson Golf Services, with Apple Rock scheduled to be complete by July 1, 2019.

“Everything traveling golfers’ value, you’ll find here in a truly distinct and elevated presentation,” Horseshoe Bay Resort Managing Director Bryan Woodward said. “The investment we have put into these renovations has elevated the quality of our golf to a national level and has made the overall golf experience more fun for our guests.”

If you are interested in the ultimate TX golf getaway package, request Horseshoe Bay Resort when you complete your Get A Quote form to receive the best rates possible to experience this luxury golf resort.

Your Best Golf Vacation

What makes for a great golf vacation? First and foremost, it’s the people. The guys and gals you’ve invited along on your trip, obviously, but also the people you’ll meet along the way. During a Texas golf vacation, you’re sure to get plenty of “howdy’s” from warm, smiling faces. Some genuine Texas hospitality will have you in a great frame of mind once you step into the first tee box!

When planning a golf weekend getaway or even a longer golf trip package, the quality of your accommodations can play a huge role in how much you enjoy yourself as well. Austin and San Antonio are home to some of the best hotels in the country, boasting fantastic properties like JW Marriott, Hotel Granduca, Hotel Van Zandt, Hotel Emma, and Hotel Contessa, just to name a few. Utilizing a golf concierge service like Texas Golf Trails will ensure you get the most out of your budget, and we’ll also take into account your desired nightlife scene and convenience to the courses you’re playing when putting together our custom Texas golf specials.

Speaking of nightlife, good food and drink is a staple for any vacation. Austin is home to world-famous BBQ joints like The Salt Lick and Franklin Barbecue. Get some Texas ranch eats and enjoy them outdoors at Contigo. Odd Duck, Fixe, Uchi, and a host of other first-class restaurants will delight those looking for an inspired dinner out. Looking for something unique and casual? Check out the food trucks that are scattered throughout town. In San Antonio, get the meat sweats at Cured in the restaurant-rich Pearl Brewery district. If you’re on the River Walk and looking for a 5-star meal, check out Biga on the Banks. If you’d like to experience some authentic Tex-Mex, San Antonio is the undisputed champion.

Last and certainly not least, you have to have great golf courses. Austin and San Antonio are home to 19 of the top 50 courses you can play in Texas (according to SportsDayDFW.com), and 5 of the Top 10. We’ll make sure you play the best during your Texas golf vacation, optimize your experience, and maximize your value!

Why use Texas Golf Trails?

If you’re interested in a golf buddy trip and want to learn about golfing in Texas, you’ve come to the right place. Once you arrive at TexasGolfTrails.com and fill out our Get A Quote form, that’s when you start to receive the value of our service.

 

We build custom golf vacation packages based on the info you provide. Nothing we offer is cookie-cutter. We choose the accommodations and golf courses that optimize your Texas golf vacation based on your budget and specific requests. That could include a golf resort package or a hotel and golf package or even just a golf package if you already have accommodations. It all depends on what YOU want!

 

If you’d like to stay at Barton Creek Resort, Horseshoe Bay Resort, La Cantera Resort, or one of the other fantastic golf resorts in San Antonio, BUT you want to play more than just the courses at that resort, we can make that happen for you. We’re headquartered in Austin, so you can rely on our local knowledge and be assured that we’re choosing the right courses for your Texas golf vacation and developing the best golf package for your money.

 

If nightlife is a key component of your Texas golf vacation, we can book you a hotel in downtown Austin or on the Riverwalk in San Antonio, and still get you on the best golf courses in Texas. We also ensure our Texas golf packages are convenient. We know you don’t want to spend half your day in a car, so we make sure the golf courses in your itinerary make sense with the accommodations in your package as well as any day-of-arrival and day-of-departure requests.

 

Bottom line, Texas Golf Trails is the surest way to the best Texas golf vacation to Austin or San Antonio.