New and improved Tapatio Springs ready to take its place among the better Texas Hill Country golf resorts

By Mike Bailey, Senior Staff Writer

BOERNE, Texas -- Tapatio Springs Resort and Conference Center has always enjoyed a reputation as a peaceful nature escape, but over the years, as four- and five-star resorts have cropped up around it, the resort had become dated.

Tapatio Springs Resort - Lakes golf course - hole 5
Tapatio Springs Resort features 27 golf holes set in scenic Hill Country north of San Antonio.
Tapatio Springs Resort - Lakes golf course - hole 5Tapatio Springs Resort and Conference Center - ribbon cuttingTapatio Springs Resort  - TaPatioTapatio Springs Resort - Valley golf course - hole 8
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The golf course has never been long, but conditioning over the past couple of decades started to take a hit, and accommodations, the clubhouse and other facilities on the 250-acre property had seen better days.

But recently, much of that has changed, thanks in large part to new ownership.

In November 2011, country singer George Strait, along with his wife, Norma, and Tom and Silvia Cusick cut the ribbon on the new and improved Tapatio Springs. Longtime friends Strait and Cusick bought Tapatio in April and have been busy making improvements ever since.

What's new at Tapatio Springs Resort

Upon entering the newly remodeled resort, guests are greeted by a beautiful cascading water feature and gas-flaming columns. That calming ambiance continues inside the newly renovated clubhouse in La Cascada Restaurant, where the dining area overlooks an outdoor waterfall. Guests opting for a more scenic view of the Texas Hill Country can visit "TaPatio" -- a new and beautiful cedar deck, which is the perfect spot for enjoying a Texas sunset and relaxing by the warm stone fireplace.

Celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, Tapatio Springs is home to 27 holes of golf, a resort hotel, more than 20,000 square feet of convention and meeting facilities, tennis courts, swimming pool and a fitness center.

"Tom and I always believed that Tapatio Springs could be a true Texas treasure," Strait said. "The renovations are incredible."

"Renewing the resort has been an exciting adventure," added Cusick, who has been a Boerne resident since 1985. "Preserving Tapatio Springs is essential to maintaining the history, culture and beauty of the Texas Hill Country -- and something George and I feel lucky to be a part of."

Located approximately 20 miles northwest of San Antonio, Strait and Cusick took control of the resort from Textron Financial Corp. in April 2011. Cusick founded Benefit Planners, based in Boerne, and sold the company to Fiserv in 2001. Since then, he has gone on to develop his dream residential community, Estancia at Thunder Valley, near Boerne and has brought that energy to Tapatio Springs.

"We see this as a tremendous opportunity to turn Tapatio Springs into an incredible resort that will attract golfers and visitors from across the country," Cusick said.

Golf at Tapatio Springs Resort

One thing that could never be debated about Tapatio Springs was the setting. Nestled in the Texas Hill Country, playing the three nines is a peaceful nature walk with plenty of elevation change, wildlife and general feeling of escaping it all.

Part of the overall renovation of the resort has included new irrigation and securing additional water rights that will help the golf course through difficult times like the drought of 2011.

"We feel like this is the gem of the Hill Country," said Director of Operations Alan Pierce. "We'd like to get Tapatio back to its former glory and beyond that."

The golf course in any combination isn't long, but it isn't easy either. Designed by Bill Johnston, the longest nine is the Valley Course at 3,376 yards, a par 37 with several difficult holes, including the par-5 fourth at 559 yards. The other two courses at Tapatio Springs, the Lakes (which features more water, naturally) and the Ridge, are 3,128 and 3,129 yards, respectively. Each course has four sets of tees.

Green fees typically run around $50 (including cart) on weekdays, and $60 on the weekends.

"We don't feel like we can compete with the J.W. Marriotts and La Canteras," Pierce said, "but we believe we can be right underneath them in that middle market."

EDITOR'S NOTE: In 2013, Tapatio Springs closed the Ridge nine. The resort now has 18 holes.

Mike BaileyMike Bailey, Senior Staff Writer

Mike Bailey is a senior staff writer based in Houston. Focusing primarily on golf in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean and Latin America with an occasional trip to Europe and beyond, he contributes course reviews, travel stories and features as well as the occasional equipment review. An award-winning writer and past president of Texas Golf Writers Association, he has more than 25 years in the golf industry. Before accepting his current position in 2008, he was on staff at PGA Magazine, The Golfweek Group and AvidGolfer Magazine. Follow Mike on Twitter at @MikeBaileyGA and Instagram at @MikeStefanBailey.

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