Delaware Springs Golf Course in Burnet: A small-town, big-time muni in the Texas Hill Country
BURNET, Texas -- Burnet may be a small, Hill Country town but that doesn't mean its municipal golf course, Delaware Springs Golf Course, can't be a big-time central-Texas attraction.
The town has a population of just about 7,000, but visitors from all over Texas come here to enjoy the Highland Lakes, Inks Lake State Park, Longhorn Cavern and more in the great outdoors. With affordable, accessible golf just minutes south of town on Highway 281 at Delaware Springs, it's easy to include a round into vacation plans as well.
With a layout stretching more than 6,900 yards and through scenic Burnet countryside, it's a round that is as satisfying as Hill Country golf can offer for the money.
Delaware Springs: The course
Set on rolling land donated to the city by the Fox family, there are a lot of reasons why Delaware Springs hardly feels like a "muni." For starters, the course recently installed Champions Bermuda greens that play fast and smooth. In the winter time, they hold their color better too, so no over-seeding or transition periods are necessary.
Secondly, the playing environment is hardly urban but one that feels like you're predominantly on a secluded, Hill Country ranch. One point of interest is the "Comanche Tree," a remarkable, slanted oak that dangles over a rocky wash behind the par-4 15th hole.
Lastly, the design job by Dave Axeland and Dan Proctor should be lauded. This design team is one of the top unsung architecture firms in the golf-design business. While they were on shaping duty for the construction of the famous Sand Hills Golf Club in Nebraska with designers Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw, they were the architects of record to one of the best bargains in the Top 100, Wild Horse in Gothenburg, Neb., (perhaps the best "Under $50" course I've ever played).
Delaware Springs gets its namesake from the spring-fed Delaware Creek that runs across the par-5 first hole. The back nine is particularly secluded and features a stellar finishing stretch. A meaty, par-3 16th plays beside high grass or "gunch" as its referred to around these parts.
The 17th hole, named "The Last Temptation," features a potentially drivable par 4 that is a sharp dogleg left to a small, elevated green. It's a pretty tough tee shot to pull off effectively. Approach shots, regardless of the distance, aren't easy, thanks to a small green that runs off steeply on each side and behind the green.
Delaware Springs Golf Course: The verdict
Proctor & Axeland's style succeeds primarily for two reasons: their courses are fun to play with a good balance of playability and challenge.
But their courses are also designed so as to limit much unnecessary maintenance. At Delaware Springs G.C., there are really no unnecessary bunkers or design features "for show," which helps keep green fees at an affordable level while also maintaining a more natural look.
Considering the course hosts between 40,000-48,000 rounds annually, it'd be tough to call Delaware Springs a "hidden gem," but far too few central-Texas golfers have likely played it. Those coming from the north side of Austin, Georgetown or Cedar Park will relish in the remoteness of the setting that's about 30-45 minutes away.
The course is in the top tier of golf experiences between Austin and San Antonio. The course is not particularly walker-friendly on the front nine thanks to a few long drives between holes, so golf carts are recommended.
Amenities at Delaware Springs include a large driving range and practice green, plus a clubhouse with a bar and grill that serves up sandwiches and burgers.
April 1, 2013