Periodically I bring you detailed and useful info on one of North America’s best destinations for a golf-based second home.
I write the most popular and widely read column on second-home real estate in the English language. My column is called “Life on Vacation,” and runs every Friday in USA Today, which also happens to be the number one newspaper in, you guessed it, the USA.
Because of my expertise on this topic, I have been invited to speak at real estate conferences, appear on real estate radio shows, and so on and so on, mainly because literally no one else in this country covers the second home market at the level I do. Since I have been writing this column week in and week out for nearly three years, I thought it would make sense to share some of what I have learned with you, my dear readers.
When I highlight a golf destination, it is because I think it stands out as a second home locale, the kind of place I might buy a second home if they paid me more. By following the link to my original USA Today story on this destination you can find in depth coverage of the market, prices, neighborhoods, the pros and cons and examples of what you might get for different prices.
This week I cover the Texas Hill Country and its twin cities of San Antonio and Austin, less than two hours apart.
In this countryside around and between the two cities is what many consider the most beautiful part of Texas, and as the name suggest, it is hilly, not as hot and flat and barren as much of the Lonestar State, and filled with charging towns packed with antique shops, wineries, and of course, barbecue. Many of the most famous names in grilling are here, temples to brisket, ribs and sausage such as the Salt Lick, Rudy’s and the now ubiquitous at retail Stubbs.
Of course, there is golf and plenty of it. The new 36-hole TPC San Antonio just landed a PGA Tour event that used to be held at the also 36-hole Westin La Cantera. The 27-hole Hyatt Hill Country resort is the other heavy hitter of golf in these parts Besides these five and a half high profile layouts here are many good golf courses around San Antonio, and one not so great course here, Pecan Valley, has the distinction of being just one of 11 public Major venues you can play – it hosted the 1968 PGA Championship. Austin, which is home to several full time PGA Tour players, has its fair share of strong golf as well, and so does the rest of Hill Country, most notably the famed Horseshoe Bay Resort on Lake LBJ, the only place on earth you will find three courses by Robert Trent Jones, Sr. – and some of the toughest he ever designed.
Lakes are the other big part of the equation here, and many opt for second homes that combine waterfront living and watersports with golf, barbecue and charm. Hill Country is also a cycling mecca, with Austin home base for Lance Armstrong and myriad road racers and triathletes, and I doubt you will find any city anywhere, not even Boulder, with more bike shops. In fact, Austin seems to have nothing but bike shops, musical instrument stores, tattoo parlors, bars and restaurants, which to me is a good mix to have.
Here the summary:
Austin has the fastest growing downtown in the nation, is a true hipster town, very young and vibrant and well known as the live music capital of the world. Music, fitness and food are what it is all about. It is home to the largest urban University campus in the country, UT Austin. San Antonio is a more Disney-esque tourist flair with its famed Riverwalk shopping and dining neighborhood and of course, the Alamo. I think of Austin more as a home away from home, and San Antonio for people who want to feel like they are on vacation when they go to their second home, more of a hotel alternative. The rest of Hill Country is a big mix for those who want homes on golf courses, on lakes, or seclusion in the mountains.