It is not often I see a really great idea for golf outings pop up. This one is so simple, so perfect and so unique that I can’t figure out why I’ve never seen it done before.
First, let’s backtrack a bit and examine the anatomy of a morning golf outing with the dreaded 8-9am, shotgun start. For me, that means a whole litany of events: I’ll have to get up at O-dark thirty, fight morning rush-hour traffic, and try – just try – to get to the course in time to get my bag together, shoes changed, register, chat with my hosts or other folks I know, warm up on the range along with 25 others who are waiting for the few spaces on the grass, plus get a bite to eat from the breakfast buffet….all within 45 minutes if I am lucky. Normally I’ll pass on the buffet. Donuts, packaged pastries, watery eggs, limp bacon or something else unhealthy all are not enough of a draw to sacrifice precious minutes warming up. Often, there is also a shuttle involved to get to and from the clubhouse to the practice range to the cart line-up, which means there might be a wait. All in all, the whole morning is a mad rush to accomplish way too much in a short amount of time.
But then in May I visited Wolfdancer Golf Club at the Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort and Spa in Austin, Texas….you know, the state where it was 90-100 degrees with no rain for months, except for the three days I was there and it dropped 40 degrees with rain and wind? Despite the turn in the weather, our group was treated to the ultimate breakfast buffet – on the practice range – complete with the Chef, who fashioned made-to-order omelettes. Atop beautifully appointed buffet tables, hot coffee, yogurt parfaits, granola, fresh fruit and pastries, and more awaited as we decided what to accomplish first: do stretches, eat, hit balls, eat, stay warm, eat, practice short shots, eat, or I suppose, just eat. Getting ready for golf was a snap. The only improvement would have been the dawning of a nice balmy morning with the sun rising low in the sky rather than cold temps, mist, and a biting wind that wildly whipped tablecloths and cooled the coffee as it was being poured into our personal Wolfdancer insulated travel cups. Still, it was heaven.
The Wolfdancer practice range, which has plenty of room to accommodate such a feast for a full field of players, is perched at a high point on the property, overlooking a number of holes. I might have been content to stay there a lot longer, practice a little more, see the views, hope for the weather to improve, and then go tackle Wolfdancer a bit later. But certainly not to be missed is this superb course, where architects Arthur Hills and Steve Forrest were able to incorporate three very different styles of terrain into a 7200 yard natural journey from softly rolling prairie to oak and cedar woodlands, to the Colorado River valley loaded with towering pecan trees, dramatically framing the 18th hole’s entire right side.
Now that the heat of an Austin summer is waning, a visit to Wolfdancer, a stop on the Austin Golf Trail, is a must. If you aren’t playing in an outing, that’s OK too: the food is fantastic everywhere on the Hyatt Lost Pines property.