Golf and Burgers: No Place but Delaware Springs

By Kyle Dalton, Contributor

BURNET, TX - Tucked away in the Texas Hill Country near the small town of Burnet is one of Texas' best kept golf secrets - Delaware Springs.

This 6,819-yard layout plays host to a little more than 40,000 rounds of golf per year and those who play it will swear by its scenic design and its hamburgers. That's right - hamburgers. More about that later.

Before you enjoy a tasty burger in the clubhouse you'll discover those professing about its scenery were right, beginning on the first hole - the signature hole. No. 1, from the tips, is a par 5 of 504 yards. Off the tee you must hit a short wood or iron to a fairway that slopes left-to-right. Oh yeah, did I mention the trees? You must also keep it out of the trees that line the fairway on both sides on this hole and most every other hole.

A feature, that without it, just wouldn't be Hill Country golf. If you hit a solid tee shot that hugs the left side of the 419 Bermuda fairway, you should end up in the blind landing area just short of the creek that is Delaware Springs.

Your second shot is around the dogleg to the left over the creek to the Tifdwarf Bermuda green that is protected by trees on the right. If you clear the water on this hole, you have conquered half the water holes on this course. The only other hole that features water is No. 17.

After managing the short dogleg-right second hole, No. 3 is one of the more wide open holes on Delaware Springs, but don't be deceived - there is trouble and plenty of it in the form of four fairway bunkers on this slightly uphill hole. If you successfully clear the bunkers, you have a middle iron to a green that is protected by another bunker to the left.

Up next are a stretch of holes that allow you to score well if you can place your tee shot in the proper location. The par-4 No. 4 is the most difficult of the bunch measuring in at 477 yards. This dogleg to the right is fairly wide open off the tee, but includes trees along the right side that must be cleared in order to cut off the corner. Otherwise, you are better off hitting it straight and leaving yourself a long shot into an undulating green that features a bunker 50 yards in front of it to the right and one at greenside to the left.

The undulation on the No. 4 green is one of the more difficult at Delaware Springs as it has a plateau on the left with a ridge that drops off sharply to the right and runs the entire length of the green. Pin placement is key to your approach on this hole.

After the 176-yard, par-3 fifth hole, which features several bunkers protecting the green, you encounter another hole where driving accuracy is at a premium. The par-5 No. 6 is 490 yards uphill. However, the length and slope of the hole aren't what make this hole so challenging - the trees and their placement are.

Several large oak trees sit right in the middle of the fairway and come into play off the tee and on your second shot. Anything left behind them will force you to play conservative and go around. If you are fortunate enough to clear them, your reward is more trees to the right of the green, which is blind due to its uphill location. Throw into the mix several bunkers - one to the right and one to the left of the green - and your approach shot must be like your tee shot - accurate.

Heading to the clubhouse for a burger, Nos. 8 and 9 can be no better described than trees, and lots of them. No. 8, although the No. 14 handicapped hole, plays more difficult than its rating. This par-5, 526-yard hole is a slight dogleg to the left. Although the fairway itself doesn't curve as a dogleg would suggest, the placement of the trees make it a dogleg. Trees, which jut out into the fairway on the left and more trees to the right make this an extremely tight fairway.

If you manage to find the short stuff, your second and third shots are downhill to a green that is protected by more trees to the right, forcing you to hang your approach out to the left. A sloping hill in front of the green feeds the ball down toward the green. An approach left short of the hole will likely roll down to this front-to-back sloping green.

To finish the front side, No. 9 also includes trees, but the length of this hole makes them much less of a factor. At just 310 yards, a solidly struck middle iron off the tee to the left of the trees and fairway bunkers to the right leaves you with a short iron into a green that is guarded by two bunkers on the left.

Now that you've gotten nine out of the way, it's time to eat. The Delaware Springs clubhouse, which features a well-furnished pro shop, is well known for its hearty burgers. In fact, on more than one occasion this golfer/writer has heard references to the burgers while playing other golf courses.

Once you bite into one, you'll know why. They not only are tasty and juicy, but they are filling. A large area is available for you to sit and enjoy your burger if you so desire. But if the golf course, or more importantly, the speed of play is calling you back to the No. 10 tee box, so you can take it with you and enjoy it during play.

After you've sufficiently met or started to meet your appetite, it's time to get back to the business at hand.

No. 10 is a 448-yard dogleg to the right that is open to the left and all downhill. Although it is rated the No. 1 handicap, its downhill slope allows you to get it down in regulation. Numerous trees and brush line the right side of this fairway and force you to keep it left.

If you do manage to find the brush, don't waste your time looking for it. Cactus and tall grass make it very difficult to find your ball, not to mention - on occasion - rattlesnakes have been known to make a surprise appearance on this hole and others. Just absorb the cost of losing a ball and play on.

No. 11 is almost the exact opposite of No. 10. This 444-yard hole doglegs to the left and is fairly open to the right off the tee. Trees do line the right side, but only a most errant tee shot will find them. Several fairway bunkers protect the left side of the fairway at the bend and two bunkers guard the green on the right.

Although fairway bunkers can cause problems on the par-4, 400-yard No. 12, it's the green that makes up this hole's personality. There is none other like it on the entire Delaware Springs course, which opened in October of 1992 and is owned by the City of Burnet. The green is approximately four feet higher on the left side.

Depending on pin placement, your approach must be hit to a location where the ball will end up below the hole. If you fail in doing so, don't be surprised to walk off this hole shaking your head after you just three-or- four-putted (golfer/writer speaking from experience).

Next up is another challenging green on No. 13, but this hole's beauty makes up for any trials and tribulations you may encounter upon reaching the putting surface. A par 3 of 165 yards, this hole features several bunkers in front and a view of the surrounding holes, the clubhouse, and the Texas Hill Country off its elevated tee.

Upon reaching the green, which is approximately 50 feet below, and depending on the placement of the pin, you are faced with yet another tricky putt. This green features a large rolling mound on the right hand side and is reminiscent of that famed hole on putt-putt courses where you must go over the two hills. If you get it down in two, you've done well.

Up next is the par-5, 516-yard No. 14. This hole is very similar in its design to No. 8 on the front side. It is a dogleg-left and includes, like No. 8, a tight tree-lined fairway with trees forcing you to hit your tee shot right. A successful drive leaves you a good opportunity at making par.

To close out your round, Nos. 16 and 17 are two holes that look much easier than they play. No. 16 is a 202-yard par-3 that features a large ravine to the left and greenside bunker to the left. Anything short and right on this green will feed down toward the green and give you a realistic chance at making par.

No. 17, like all the other holes has a name, but this one couldn't be more appropriate. Known as "The Last Temptation," this 310-yard hole is a dogleg to the left that tempts you to cut the corner, which is lined with large oaks, in an effort to drive the green. Be cautious though, this hole, which features a holding pond up the hill to the right slopes down from that same hill and everything rolls left.

Any shot hit in the center or left of center will likely roll down to the left side of the fairway and put you behind the trees. Don't let the temptation get the best of you. Stay on the right side of the fairway and you'll be left with a wedge into a green that also slopes prominently right-to-left.

To finish, Delaware Springs relents and provides you with a wide-open hole of 415 yards. This slight dogleg to the left plays uphill its entire length and a well-struck tee shot leaves you with a middle- to high-iron approach. Again, your ability to score well on this closing hole depends on the pin placement and the placement of your approach. This green slopes hard from left-to-right and you must try and put your ball below the hole.

Upon the completion of your round, stop back by the clubhouse and grab another burger for the road. If your score didn't end up the way you wanted, you might as well take something good away from your experience.

Delaware Springs
127 East Jackson Street
Burnet, Texas 78611
Telephone: 512-756-8471

Head Professional: Doug Fipps

Amenities: Putting green, chipping green and a driving range.

Directions: From Austin, take IH-35 north to Highway 29 in Georgetown. Go west on Highway 29 approximately 40 miles to the City of Burnet. In Burnet, turn left heading south on Highway 281. On 281, the main entrance to the Delaware Springs community is approximately two miles on the right. Follow the signs.

Kyle Dalton, Contributor

Since graduating from the University of Texas in 1992 with a degree in journalism, Kyle Dalton has been a writer and editor for a variety of national publications in various fields.

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