Wide open Lago Vista Course the most playable at Lago Vista resort in the Texas Hill Country
LAGO VISTA, Texas -- Located just 45 minutes outside of Austin in the Texas Hill Country, Lago Vista resort's Lago Vista Course and Highland Lakes Course provide some of the most beautiful panoramic views of the hills and Lake Travis in the entire Austin area.
Although both courses provide similar views of the picturesque scenery and are both part of the Lago Vista Country Clubs and Resort, each has its own unique identity.
Lago Vista golf course
While Highland Lakes is known for its tight, tree-lined fairways, the Lago Vista Course is somewhat more open -- at least on the front side -- and is more forgiving on those slightly wayward shots. "It's not as hilly and there's not as many blind shots. It's also a little more wide open in the fairways," Jenkins said of the 6,579-yard course.
The first hole at Lago Vista, a par-4, 330-yard dogleg to the left, provides evidence of the course's openness with a tee shot that is slightly uphill to a large landing area. The second shot on the opening hole is also uphill to a green that is protected by bunkers on both sides.
No. 2 is another dogleg - this time to the right. This par 5 is 563 yards and offers a smaller target area off the tee box compared to No. 1 and has trees guarding the fairway along the right. A good drive reaches the dogleg and lands in the Bermuda fairway that opens up around the bend. Your second shot is blind over a ridge to a valley below the green, which is protected by a group of trees to the right.
Hole Nos. 3 through 6 are fairly open off the tee and are readily accessible in regulation with solidly struck tee shots. No. 7, despite its short distance of 339 yards, is a dogleg left that provides more of a challenge as your drive is to an elevated fairway with several trees in play on the left and a fairway bunker to the right.
Stay to the right of the trees at the top of the hill because anything hit left of the fairway will likely kick off the hill and go out of bounds.
To conclude the front nine at Lago Vista, which plays host to approximately 42,000 rounds a year, holes eight and nine provide two of the most dramatic swings in elevation.
No. 8 is a par-5, 529-yard dogleg to the right. Don't worry about the dogleg off the tee. Just enjoy watching the flight of your ball as it falls down to a large valley, approximately 75 feet below the tee. The second shot is up and over the other side of the valley to the dogleg, which turns hard to the right.
Bunkers lie to the left at the turn. If you hit your shot just over the right corner of the dogleg, you can put it close to the Tifdwarf Bermuda green, which slopes from back to front and has a bunker to its right.
Although there are many views to remember on Lago Vista's two courses, there is none better than your second shot on No. 9. After a mid- to high-iron off the tee to the bend of this dogleg right, you are left with a shot to the green approximately 100 feet below.
Standing atop the stair-step fairway, you can look down to the green, or look out over the clubhouse with a clear view to Lake Travis and the surrounding area. Truly a spectacular view to behold.
Lago Vista golf course: The back nine
To begin the backside, Nos. 10 and 11 are two of the more challenging holes on the Lago Vista course, which opened in 1967. No. 10 is a par-5 of 495 yards that requires an accurate shot to the left side of the fairway that slopes hard from left to right. Jenkins said hitting to the left is crucial on this hole and the knowledge to do so only comes from familiarity with the course.
"Local knowledge is very beneficial at both Lago Vista and Highland Lakes," he said. After a solid tee shot on this dogleg right, your second shot is a layup to a position left of several trees on the right side and a small creek, which runs along the entire right side of the hole and cuts in front of the green at the bend. Your approach is to a green with bunkers both right and left.
Following No. 10 is what many consider the signature hole at Lago Vista. Not necessarily for its spectacular view, but for the many challenges it offers. No. 11, a par 4 of 372 yards, features a narrow fairway, which is lined with trees on the left and a hill and trees to the right. An accurate long iron or lofted wood off the tee is a must to clear a concrete ditch and reach the dogleg that turns to the left.
In addition, several large trees stand tall along the left side of the dogleg and several more to the right which leave only a space of approximately 40 yards to fit your shot through. Upon reaching the dogleg, your second shot, or quite possibly your third - depending on your drive - is to a green that is protected by a group of trees on the right. The green is a steep slope back to front, so try and hit your approach to a position below the hole.
No. 14 is another challenging, yet tempting hole. Tempting because it measures 336 yards from the tips and looks deceptively short. It's challenging because your tee shot is over a large retaining pond to the right and within range of several fairway bunkers and a group of trees strategically placed in front of the green.
Up next are two holes that are almost complete opposites. No. 15 is a long par 5 of 544 yards that following a tee shot to a valley below is all uphill on the remaining iron shots, making this the number one handicap hole. No. 16 is a par 4 of 369 yards that offers another breathtaking view of Lake Travis off the tee and is just the opposite of the preceding hole. It is all downhill. A well struck tee shot along the left side of the fairway that avoids the trees on the same side will roll to a position for a short wedge shot. The green has a large hill on the backside so any shot that overshoots the hole has a tendency to roll back.
No. 17 is a relatively easy par 4 with a fairway that slopes left to right, while the finishing hole is uniquely a par 3 of 204 yards. Trees and bunkers to the right and left require an accurate shot off the tee and also provide a nice finishing hole.
No matter what course you choose to play at Lago Vista, you can't go wrong either way. Each course has its own personality and both provide a variety of challenges. Jenkins said members, however, do prefer the Lago Vista course because it is a little more open while those with lower handicaps opt for the Highland Lakes Course.
December 14, 1998