Westin La Cantera-Golf As Grand As Its Name

There are a number of high-class golf resorts in Central Texas, but the conversation of "absolute best" usually gets around to including the biggest (and we know how important that is to Texans) and best known of all of Texas' great golf getaways the Westin La Cantera, home to the PGA TOUR's Valero Texas Open.

Located in the first set of hills west of the city, next door to Six Flags' Fiesta Texas and now the Shops at La Cantera (with Nieman-Marcus and Nordstrom as anchor tenants), is the sprawling 508-room resort that's only been open since 1999, but feels like it has been on the hill forever. The gigantic main lobby was designed in the flavor of the historic King Ranch, but what truly lets you know you're playing golf in Texas, besides the bigger than life views, are subtle things like honky-tonk music playing on the practice tee from speakers hidden in the trees.

Westin La Cantera has two championship courses. The Resort Course is a Weiskopf/ Morrish layout where the Valero Texas Open has been crowning PGA TOUR champions for years, including native Texan Justin Leonard twice. Go ahead and play the seventh hole from the back tees, its just 316 yards long, but be sure to aim at the roller coaster at Fiesta Texas, and after you swing, be careful not to walk off the 100-foot cliff (which may be why there's barbed wire at the front of each tee box at #7) as you watch your drive fly majestically into the Texas sky. The 12th is a little more traditional, but no less gorgeous par-4 with a second shot carry over a deep ravine to a horizontal green protected by three back bunkers.

The newer Palmer Course (designed by you-know who) is believed by many to be tougher than the one they play the TOUR event. Stunning elevation changes reinforce why there's no walking, and no caddies here. Carts are a requirement and an ATV wouldn't be a bad option. And wait'll you play the last 240 yards of the 460-yard-plus 18th that looks like a downhill ski run when you look back up from the mission-style clubhouse. Great golf YOU can play. For more information, visit www.westin.com/lacantera or call (210) 558-6500.


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