Located about 30 minutes from Austin’s Bergstrom International Airport, Barton Creek offers four remarkably different courses from four diverse designers. All are guaranteed to entertain and challenge.
The resort is sparkling and new thanks to a $150 million renovation that was completed in May 2019. It features nearly 500 newly minted rooms, including 50 suites with floor-to-ceiling windows, seven very unique restaurants (Bob’s Steak and Chop House is everything you’d expect from a fine-dining steakhouse.), three outdoor heated pools and two spacious hot tubs, and the full-service Mokara Spa, which features 17 treatment rooms and three others for couples. The conference center has 76,000 square feet of meeting and event space and two ballrooms that can accommodate up to 1,500 people.
The four golf courses at Barton Creek are all quite different and each has been named to some sort of “best-in-class” list over the years.
Tom Fazio designed two of the courses, including the original Foothills Course in 1986 and the Canyons Course in 1999. Both are exceptional. The Foothills Course, which was updated in 2017, has been ranked as high as No. 8 among the best courses in Texas, and the Canyons Course ranked No. 4 in 2017.
The Foothills Course is considered the more difficult of the four courses at Barton Creek. There are some amazing elevation chances and the course plays around creeks and cliffs – even a waterfall. The 18th hole is wonderful. The long par 5 finishes uphill to an elevated green that has a cave entrance nearby. Sometimes you’ll even get a gallery, as the round concludes a few paces below the pool.
The Canyons Course is a short drive from the main clubhouse and has its own pro shop and practice range. A favorite is the 10th hole, a dogleg right that features a creek running in front of the green. The best hole may be the 18th, a downhill par 5 that features a creek that crosses the fairway and runs along the left of the fairway until reaching the green.
For some reason, the fairways at the Foothills Course seem to lead the ball into the second cut (or worse), while the fairways at the Canyons Course seem to feed the ball back into the fairway.
The Coore Crenshaw Course is what you’d expect from the dynamic design team of Bill Coore and two-time Masters champion Ben Crenshaw. They prefer a more natural approach, using what nature has given them. The layout is forgiving and features oversized greens that are easy to reach, but complicated because of their numerous contours and levels.
The Palmer Lakeside Course is about a 45-minute drive from the resort. The Arnold Palmer design isn’t long (it maxes out at 6,400 yards) but is a lot of fun. The signature hole is the par-3 11th that features a waterfall.
The Foothills Course and Coore Crenshaw Course are the host sites for the PGA of America’s Professional Championships. The top club professionals from America qualify, with the top 20 advancing to the PGA Championship.
For information on the Barton Creek Resort and Spa, visit OmniHotels.com/BartonCreek.