Texans certainly love to fly. Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston even have two commercial airports apiece. But before you book a plane ticket, consider the open road.
The Lone Star State has a collection of charming old towns, some of the highest speed limits and best roadside convenience stores anywhere. Fresh kolaches are always usually around the corner (like at Hruska's on Highway 71 in Ellinger). If you've never experienced the roadside spectacle that is Buc-ees, put the attraction on your short list. And don't forget Texas Barbecue. No matter where you are, there's great roadside grub to be found.
Putting on some miles and cruising back roads through small towns is a great way to get a better feel for all the various immigration that took place here. Each nook and cranny of this vast state has a unique story. If your golf trip coincides with the summer months, make sure you're near a lake or at a golf resort with an excellent pool.
As Texas Triangle golfers asses their return to golf travel in 2020, you may decide that staying closer to home is the way to go. Here is a collection of golf road trips you can take as a golfer who lives in the Texas Triangle. Load up your playlist with Willie Nelson, Beyonce, Leon Bridges, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Asleep at the Wheel.
Cruising through the Capital City
3 hours from Dallas and Houston
Austin serves as the capital seat thanks in part to its convenient location to its neighboring metros. It's a popular live music and restaurant destination, especially for bachelor and bachelorette parties. There's plenty of golf here, headlined by Omni Barton Creek Resort, which unveiled an ambitious expansion and renovation of its courses and hotel in 2019. You have to stay to play the two Fazio designs and Coore-Crenshaw course onsite. Or, you could stay in town or at the Hyatt Regency Lost Pines and play Wolfdancer, one of the most naturally scenic courses in the state. Tack on semi-privates like Star Ranch and Falconhead, or play golf like a townie and walk 18 at munis Jimmy Clay, Morris Williams or Lions.
Family fun at Horseshoe Bay in the Texas Hill Country
1 hour from San Antonio and Austin, 4 hours from Dallas and Houston
The town of Horseshoe Bay is the epicenter of Hill Country golf. Many Texas Triangle residents have vacation homes and memberships. The Horseshoe Bay Resort, fresh off an extensive renovation to its three resort courses and wide range of facilities, delivers family fun on the lake and three Robert Trent Jones Sr. layouts. Families will love the spacious villa accommodations, totally new Yacht Club on the shores of Lake LBJ and the natural-grass Whitewater Putting Course. Adults will savor the various pools and dining concepts. Read more about Horseshoe Bay's $100 million renovation.
An affordable East-Texas overnighter: Pine Dunes Resort
2 hours from DFW, 3 hours from Houston
Not far from Tyler in northeast Texas is one of the most notable hidden gem resorts in the state: Pine Dunes Golf Resort. Designed by Jay & Carter Morrish, it's a pleasant and well-regarded layout with a modest lodge and onsite casual dining. Stay & Plays start at $69 per night.
Head west, way west, for golf along the Rio Grande
7 hours from San Antonio
Big Bend National Park in West Texas borders Mexico and features the state's most dramatic mountains. It's also most definitely in the middle of nowhere, but you can stop off at the chic outpost of Marfa on the way to break up the drive. Black Jack's Crossing at Lajitas Resort is typically considered among the best public courses in the state - it's most certainly the most remarkable setting, full of elevated tees and long views of the Rio Grande and Mexico. View more photos of Black Jack's Crossing.
A road trip Deep in the Heart
1 hour from Austin, 4 from Houston and Dallas-Fort Worth
No destination in Texas does resorts and amusements quite like San Antonio. Golf groups can choose between staying downtown near the Riverwalk and enjoy great nightlife and culture, or at a quiet golf resort enclave. The JW Marriott Hill Country Resort celebrates 10 years in 2020. The 1,001-room hotel features seven dining concepts and the 36-hole TPC San Antonio, host of the PGA Tour's Valero Texas Open. Not to be outdone is the nearby La Cantera Resort, former host of the Texas Open that still dazzles with 36 scenic, popular holes of its own. San Antonio's public and semi-private scene is pretty diverse as well, from historic Brackenridge Park, an A.W. Tillinghast design, to The Quarry, which features a must-see-to-believe back nine inside old quarry remains full of dramatic shots.
Munis of the Metroplex
3 hours from Austin, 4 hours from Houston
Texas has a long history of municipal golf dating back to Lions (Austin) and Brackenridge Park (San Antonio). The present is especially bright for them in north Texas. The many municipalities that make up the Metroplex have strived to attract new residents and visitors by going all-in on their munis. Colligan Golf Design has significantly refreshed such treasures both urban (Stevens Park in Dallas) and far flung (Squaw Creek's Apache and Comanche courses). Or, bring the family to Rockwood Park, home of 18-hole course plus a First Tee Short Course. Among the most aspirational and tourist-centric of the munis is the newly renovated and rebranded Texas Rangers Golf Club in Arlington.
A Big Easy City Escape: New Orleans
4 hours from Houston
The golf offerings are limited in the Big Easy, one of the country's most festive cities. But there are just enough unique public and semi-private courses to warrant bringing your clubs. Besides, where else can you take a street car to the golf course? That's possible at Audubon Park, an urban jewel in uptown. Tack on Zurich Classic host TPC Louisiana, as well as former venue English Turn, and you have a diverse trio. Considering how much you'll likely eat and imbibe here, a little planned daytime sunshine and exercise would be wise. On the way, stop off for a quick loop at the Atchafalaya at Idlewild Course, a scenic and affordable layout on the Audubon Golf Trail.
Casino gaming on the Texas border
For Dallas residents, you're just about an hour's drive north up I-35 into Oklahoma to WinStar World Casino Resort, home to one of the largest casino resorts in the U.S. The resort recently added a fourth nine to create two distinct 18-hole courses, and boast a state-of-the-art fitting academy.
Just east of Houston by 2-3 hours, Lake Charles, Louisiana features excellent casino gaming with a handful of worthy golf courses to play during the day. Contraband Bayou at L'Auberge Du Lac is a Tom Fazio design, while away from the casinos is Gray Plantation, a scenic value course. Golden Nugget also built a brand new casino hotel and golf course that is the region's newest course. Another casino venue, Koasati Pines at Coushatta, is a well-regarded value that made Golf Advisor's Golfers' Choice list for 2020.
Coming summer, 2020: Margaritaville Lake Resort, Lake Conroe (1 hour from Houston): Texas is revealing a new golf resort in 2020, Margaritaville Lake Resort, Lake Conroe, just north of Houston. Formerly the site of the La Torretta Resort, the 300-plus-room property promising guests the "license to chill" has been entirely renovated and rebranded. The hotel is accepting reservations beginning July 1, while the golf course is already open.