Before college football, tee it up all over Texas this bowl season
The 2011 Super Bowl at the Jerry Dome isn't the only bowl game in Texas this winter. This year's college football holiday bowl season brings six showdowns to the Lone Star State. BCS selections LSU and Texas A&M meet up in the AT&T Cotton Bowl in Dallas to headline the action on Jan. 7.
The five previous games feature powerhouses like Notre Dame, Miami, Arizona and Oklahoma State. So keep your fingers crossed for some balmy Texas weather, bring your sticks and cheer on your alma mater at bowl games and golf courses from around the Texas Hill Country, Dallas Metroplex, Houston and out west in El Paso.
Texas Bowl, Dec. 29, Houston
The Matchup: Illinois vs. Baylor
One of the top golf experiences in town is the PGA Tour Shell Houston Open host, Redstone's Tournament Course. This Rees Jones design opened in 2005.
Houston residents also adore Memorial Park Golf Course, an affordable muni in the heart of the city. For something between Memorial Park and Redstone, Augusta Pines Golf Club features a country club feel and top conditions.
Valero Alamo Bowl, Dec. 29, San Antonio
The matchup: Oklahoma St. vs. Illinois
There is plenty of golf to choose from in San Antonio, starting with the brand new 36-hole TPC San Antonio, new host of the Valero Texas Open. The former host, La Cantera, features 36 holes of its own, an entirely different type of Hill Country golf.
Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl, Dec. 30 and the TicketCity Bowl, Jan. 1, Dallas
The Matchups: Northwestern Vs. Texas Tech and Army vs. SMU
If you're in Big D for football, you probably want to play Cowboys Golf Club in Grapevine, a big, luxurious tribute to the NFL team and its fans, opened in 2001. Other top Metroplex golf options include the newly renovated TPC Four Seasons Las Colinas or Tangle Ridge Golf Course.
The Old American Golf Club just debuted a brand new Tribute Course, a Golden Age-inspired design by Justin Leonard and Tripp Davis on the shores of Lake Lewisville.
Hyundai Sun Bowl, Dec. 31, El Paso, Texas
The Matchup: Miami vs. Notre Dame
When in west Texas, you can check out one of the great new municipal courses in the country, Butterfield Trail Golf Club, which was designed by Tom Fazio, who sculpted a course out of the natural sand dunes of West Texas and also boasts bentgrass greens.
If Butterfield Trail is booked, try 27-hole Painted Dunes Desert Golf Club, a tournament tested, Ken Dye/Jeff Bauer design that plays over 6,900 yards in any 18-hole combination.
AT&T Cotton Bowl, Jan. 7, Arlington, Texas
The Matchup: LSU vs. Texas A&M
With Arlington's location between Fort Worth and Dallas, you have boundless options for golf in the Metroplex, but that's not to say there aren't good options right in Arlington. Spread out over 250 acres, the well run Tierra Verde Golf Club was the first municipal course to earn Audubon Sanctuary certification.