We felt very privileged when we got invited to come watch the pros play at the 2016 Horseshoe Bay Resort Shootout which featured:
This year's event was held at Horseshoe Bay Resort's famed Robert Trent Jones Sr. designed Slick Rock Golf Course and it matched Stuart Appleby and Katie Burnett against Jason Kokrak and Kathleen Ekey in a match play shamble format. During the event, resort guests were able to walk “inside the ropes” and follow the action from an insider's point of view, walking behind the golfers on the Slick Rock fairway. Part of the reason for this event was to promote the Horseshoe Bay Resort to several travel agents and writers and to promote the recent reopening of the Slick Rock Golf Course after a six month renovation that focused on green replacement, bunker reshaping, green collars and improvements in irrigation. For example:
The Shootout started for the press, media, travel agents, and other public relations firms on Sunday evening with a cocktail party and heavy appetizers which included brisket, roast chicken breast, a variety of cheeses and salami, and more plus Bananas Foster. The event was held on the patio at the Yacht Club overlooking Lake LBJ. What a fantastic setting, great meal, and interesting evening getting to meet the attendees, one of the pros (Kathleen Ekey), and several of the Horseshoe Bay staff including the General Manager, Director of Marketing, and Director of Golf.
The next morning we were treated to a breakfast at Horseshoe Bay Resort's Lantana Grill & Bar which offers breakfast off the menu or a huge buffet with eggs including omelets, pancakes, bacon, hash browns, sausage, a variety of fruit and breads and more. Stuffed to the brim, we jumped on the Horseshoe Bay Resort shuttle to take a tour of this beautiful resort and then a short ride over to Slick Rock for a meet and greet with the pros, watch them warm up, enjoy a good brunch, and follow them around the course for 18 holes.
At high noon, two armed and defiant bandidos were chased to the first tee where the sheriff had no choice but to take them down with his dual pistols which kicked off the official Horseshoe Bay Resort 2016 Shootout. Jason Kokrak was the first to tee off and he's known for his long drives and he didn't disappoint us - he whacked his tee shot 340 yards straight down the middle of the fairway and 30 yards in front of the cup - for a birdie on the first hole! And for the next four hours we followed the pros as they amazed us with long straight drives, beautiful chip shots, and putts that seemed to consistently find the cup. And there was a lot of bantering and joking going on between the four pros which also made if fun for us. What a joy it was to walk each of the beautiful and well maintained Slick Rock Golf Holes.
Several jaws dropped as "wows" were emitted when we arrived at hole #14 which is known as the "Million Dollar Hole." From an elevated tee box you drive on a winding cart path across a clear creek and next to a cascading waterfall (35 yards long with 8000 gallons of water flowing over it each minute) to a wide slight dog leg right fairway with 8 bunkers leading to a green with large long bunkers covering the front and back side of the green. Last time I played this hole I landed in the creek, hit three bunkers, and three putt for a triple bogey. All four of the pros hit a long fade that curved nicely to right around the trees and settled less than a hundred yards from the cup! And how do they put the backspin on their approach shots - very impressive.
It was an exciting conclusion to this years Shootout - Jason and Kathleen were up by one hole and Katie stuffed it on the green about 3 feet from the cup from 120 yards out, and Jason, Kathleen and Stuart missed their putt for a birdie. Katie needed to make the putt for a birdie to tie the game. There was a big disappointing sigh as we watched her ball do a 360 around the rim of the cup for a miss! Fun Shootout. The Shootout is open to the public and you should plan on attending this fun event next year.
We've played Slick Rock Golf Course several times and prior to the renovations we rated the course as one of the Best Resort Courses in Texas and the Dallas Morning News has rated Slick Rock in it's "Top 100 Courses in Texas" every year since the origin of the annual ranking in 1989 - and now Slick Rock is even better! In fact, Golf Week named the course in it's list of "The Best Courses You Can Play" in 2016. Read our Review of Slick Rock Golf Course to learn more about this fantastic course. The "Million Dollar Hole" also made our list of the Most Scenic Holes in Texas.
According to my FitBit I walked over 4 miles following the Pros around the Slick Rock Golf Course (no wonder they seem like the Pros are in such good condition). Needless to say I was starving when we arrived at the Shootout dinner at the Whitewater Golf Course. Dinner started with a delicious Caesar salad which was followed by the largest steak I've ever seen on a plate - a 32 ounce bone-in ribeye that was tender (I cut it with a butter knife) and perfectly cooked and well seasoned! It was so big that it barely left room on the plate for the potatoes, asparagus, carrots, and corn mix. Wow, as hungry as I was I could only eat about a third of it. Then came a delicious dessert.
Dinner and dessert were followed by the Horseshoe Bay Resort Chief Marketing Officer interviewing Win McMurry who until October 2013 anchored Golf Channel's "PGA Tour Primetime" and over the years has reported for Golf Central, Morning Drive and other programming features and specials. She is also the host of a series of travel shows on GolfChannel.com titled “Gone With the Win” and is the resident fantasy golf expert, as well as the network's authority on golf fashion. It was very interesting listening to some of her stories including her embarrassing moments and interviews with celebrities including Michael Jordon, Tiger Woods, and Arnold Palmer. Win then conducted a very intriguing and insightful interview of Katie Burnett.
A great evening after which I waddled up to our room and immediate fell asleep with a pound of delicious beef in my tummy! Tuesday morning I was still stuffed to the brim but that didn't stop me from heading to the Lantana Grill for the delicious breakfast buffet - I needed a lot of carbs because we planned to play both Applerock and Summit Rock Golf Courses - 36 holes in one day!
Listed as the "Best New Resort Course" by Golf Digest when it opened and named as #17 in the Dallas Morning News' "Top 50 Courses You Can Play," Apple Rock was designed by Robert Trend Jones, Sr. and is known for it's spectacular Hill Country views of Lake LBJ and the surrounding countryside, 52 bunkers, small elevated greens, and some spectacular golf holes. #10 is a good example of golf at Apple Rock - a 567 yard par 5 with a dramatically elevated tee box which is one of the highest points in Horseshoe Bay and offers a spectacular view and requires a drive off the tee box that needs to carry a deep and wide valley and fly or thread the needle between trees on the left and right and hit a fairway that heads downhill to a green guarded by two bunkers. I wore off a lot of calories in the bunkers and took home enough sand in my hair, shoes, and pockets to build a sandbox for the grand kids! Here is a link to our review of Apple Rock.
After a delicious lunch of chicken sliders overlooking the beautiful pool and scenery plus a couple Bloody Marys to help me forget how poorly I played, I was full of energy and ready for another 18 holes of golf! The second 18 was played on Horeseshoe Bay Resort's new course - Summit Rock which was masterfully designed by Jack Nicklaus in 2012 and recognized as one the "Best New Courses" by Golf Digest and ranked #52 in Golf Week's 2016 "Top Residential Courses in America." Majestic views, excellent conditions from tee to cup, fair but challenging holes, and some very fun golf holes helped Summit Rock make our list of the Best Private Golf Courses in Texas. Here is a link to our review of Summit Rock.
After filling the bath tub with lots of sand from the bunkers, we headed over to the Horseshoe Bay Yacht Club for drinks and a very good dinner overlooking Lake LBJ. The Yacht Club is only available to members or guests of the Resort and it's a beautiful facility with a stunning pool, bar, meeting rooms, restaurant, boat slips, and a sandy beach along the shore of Lake LBJ.
Wednesday after another good breakfast we had to check out what may be the most scenic and intriguing course at Horseshoe Bay - the Whitewater Putting Course. This 18 hole par 72 Bermuda grass putting course has waterfalls, cascading creeks, colorful landscaping with lush rose gardens, birds and wildlife, bunkers, and smooth putting surfaces. Really cool and I can't wait to get back to the Resort to play the course.
Horseshoe Bay Resort is recognized as one of the Best Golf Resorts in America and is a premier full service AAA Four Diamond golf resort about 45 minutes northeast of Austin. Some of what makes Horseshoe Bay Resort so special includes:
Our thanks to the Horseshoe Bay Resort staff for inviting us to the Shootout and making it such a fun social golf event.