HORSESHOE BAY, TX – At Escondido Golf & Lake Club, Spike Dykes, former Texas Tech University football coach is a fixture.
His folksy, down-home native Texan storytelling expertise fits as perfectly as a seasoned cowboy on a 50-year-old saddle. And he loves the beautiful, wildflower strewn golf-course landscapes of the Texas Hill Country.
But as friendly and personable as Dykes is he chuckles about seeing new golfers at Escondido Golf & Lake Club that includes an upscale private Tom Fazio design built in 2004.
“We just golf here the way we like it,” drawls Dykes. “We can just show up without a tee-time and play. But if the word gets out about how spectacular this place is we’ll have to share it with more golfers.”
Escondido is the Spanish word meaning mysterious, hidden and secret.
Dykes shares the secret. He has hosted countless members of the college football coaching fraternity in a round of golf at Escondido. “All of them say this is the greatest place ever and why haven’t I heard about it?” Dykes said.
Roy Bechtol, golf-course designer from Austin, agrees with Dykes’ praise. Bechtol assisted Fazio in the design and routing. “I’ve always said Escondido is a comeback golf course. Once you play it you want to come back as soon as you can. I’m always excited to come here.”
Just a few of many amenities for members
Escondido Golf & Lake Club is located in the heart of the Texas Hill Country just outside Marble Falls, about 45 minutes northwest of Austin and an hour and a half from San Antonio.
It’s a beautiful drive. You pass rocky limestone terrain in a ranching region covered with live oaks, cedars, prickly pear cactus, wildlife and wildflowers – the famous bluebonnets of Texas are everywhere in the spring and the golf course is blanketed by them.
In 2008 the New York Times proclaimed the region as the No. 1 place to travel and vacation in the summer.
The architecture is also stunning. Is it Spanish-Mediterranean and Italian-influenced Tuscany? Whatever — it is stately and native Texas limestone is featured everywhere in mansions, walkways, and stairs in the development’s 550 wooded acres.
Escondido features a marina that permits direct access to Lake LBJ, which is approximately 22 miles long – one of the largest constant level lakes in the United States. Your membership includes the Lake Club with club-owned watercraft for member use: pontoon boat, wakeboard/ski boat, jet skis, kayaks and stand-up paddle boards.
The Lake Club also has full service dining, covered-roof fishing, pool side cabanas with flat screen TVs and lots of activities for children.
The limestone clubhouse, called The Great House, is 30,000-square feet of hospitality. Great dining, luxury lounge and locker room facilities, private dining room with Escondido Wine Cellar and golf shop. Valet parking and a fire pit greet you along with attendants who will call you by your name and speed your arrival. When you return for your vehicle it will be clean.
Members without a home can bunk down in the Club Residences, a private collection of estate homes for vacation stays. Another option are the fully furnished, four-bedroom, limestone La Cascada golf cottages– flat screen TVs seemed around every turn – even out on the porch where you can have morning coffee and perhaps see whitetail deer, roadrunners or a wild turkey hen with youngsters following behind.
Escondido: The golf course
Check out the greeting blackboard at No. 1 tee box. It forewarns you that the Champions Bermuda greens are rolling 12 today. With Fazio’s twist and turns putting surfaces you will do good not to log numerous three putts.
Also check out the grasses (great conditions everywhere by the way): Jamur Zoysia tees and rough and Zeon Zoysia in the lush fairways.
“My criteria for a golf course?” asks Bechtol. “It has to be fun and pretty. This is a solid golf experience – it is an easy walk and is beautiful. All the par 3s and par 5s are different with the wind direction.
“It has a kick-ass finish with a great long par 3 at 15 (252 yards) and a beautiful par 5 to finish (595 yards) with the Pecan Creek to your left all the way past the green and The Great House on your right.”
There’s an exposed granite dome sprawling behind the 12th green, the culmination of a 426-yard par 4. Take a peek at another granite dome to the left of the tee box on 13.
Don’t miss the Smoke Shack located at the turn next to the 10th tee box. Try the smoked beef brisket tacos with pico de gallo or a mango salsa. Other comfort station goodies are there including chocolate chip cookies to get you set for the back nine.
Even the practice facility at Escondido is special and has a name — La Hacienda. There’s a short game area with multiple sand traps, hitting areas and slopes for your wedge game. Move to the large driving range that offers hitting bays with or against the prevailing breezes. Lob short shots to a series of practice greens or let your driver go with the Pro V1 practice balls.
Move to the far side of the range for a quieter experience with fairway bunkers and various slopes to help you prepare for whatever awaits. Located near the first tee, a huge practice putting green offers some of the smoothest and fastest greens in the Southwest.
The year-round quality of the turf, the level of teaching under the tutelage of the golf pros or Director of Instruction Buck Mayers, and the exceptional game-improvement facility in La Hacienda are yours as a member.
Escondido hosts charity events and competitions. The Texas Golf Association’s Mid-Am was held here in 2014 and this year the TGA State Senior Am is set for September.
The club is wholly owned by its membership, comprised of like-minded individuals sharing common values and sensibilities. With over 300 current members, Escondido is accepting applications for new members.
To learn more about membership and real estate opportunities at Escondido, contact Glenn Lee, General Manager at (830) 598-7800 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.