Wolfdancer Golf Club Overcomes Mother Nature

Despite historic wildfires in nearby Bastrop, TX, Austin's Wolfdancer Golf Club has thrived.

AUSTIN, TEXAS — Despite the record-breaking heat, historic drought and wildfires that severely impacted Bastrop, Texas a dozen miles to the east, the Wolfdancer Golf Club at the Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort and Spa proudly sports its best-ever playing conditions since it first emerged onto the Austin golf scene five years ago.

In fact, the resort’s picturesque setting played a major role in not only allowing the golf course to survive the summer elements, but thrive. Situated along the banks of the Lower Colorado River immediately adjacent to an 1,100-acre nature preserve caled McKinney Roughs Nature Park, Wolfdancer recently received the prestigious Audubon Sanctuary Certification and offers golfers an “Audubon Experience” while playing.

“Our location has played a very large part in our conditioning,” said Wolfdancer GC Director of Golf Eric Claxton. “Being located on the Colorado River and having access to water is a tremendous advantage. In addition, Wolfdancer has followed the LCRA’s Drought Contingency Plan, but with smarter utilization of our irrigation system we have been able to achieve water reduction and optimum playing conditions.”

Designed by Arthur Hills/Steve Forrest and Associates, the 7,205-yard, par-72 Wolfdancer was named after the Native American Tonkawa, who hunted and fished along the Colorado River long before Texas was a republic. Working with the naturally rich heritage of the land, Hills designed a layout that rambles over a dramatic 300-acre stretch of terrain dotted with oak, cedar elm and pecan trees and cut by the Colorado River, which dramatically frames the right side of the layout’s memorable finishing holes.

Claxton also credits the premium playing conditions at Wolfdancer to strict adherence to the club’s extensive agronomic plan, as well as having a great relationship with the club’s Golf Course Superintendent John Crall. “We have weekly drive-arounds and take a team approach to the conditioning of the golf course,” said Claxton. “Also, being 5 years old now the course has had an opportunity to mature and come into its own.”

Wolfdancer Golf Club employs a sophisticated irrigation system with more than 3,000 irrigation heads covering 110 acres. A central computer that controls this entire system is located in the Golf Course Superintendent’s office. As a result, Crall and his staff are able to identify individual heads and increase or decrease the run time depending upon the conditions — allowing the club to save a tremendous amount of water by identifying “Hot Spots” and only increasing the head(s) that affect that area instead of the entire fairway or hole.

“It takes time to fully understand the golf course and this system,” said Crall. “Being 5 years old now, we have been able to maximize the efficiency of golf course irrigation. “

Claxton said the fall season generally provides the best playing conditions at Wolfdancer GC, and with the course maturing over the past five years, the fall of 2011 has produced the finest playing conditions overall since the golf course opened in 2006.

“Golfers should come play Wolfdancer Golf Club right now to take full advantage of the optimum playing conditions,” Claxton said. “Our full golf experience is second to none with unparalleled service from the Golf Staff and playing a championship golf course during its prime. The summer heat is over and the temperatures are great to enjoy a great round of golf with friends and/or family.”

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