Roy Bechtol-designed Golf Course Featured in American-Statesman

Club at ConCanAUSTIN - The sublimely difficult and near-perfect golf course at The Club at ConCan in the Frio River Valley of south Texas – designed by Austin-based golf architect Roy Bechtol – was highlighted Aug. 10 in a glowing travel feature published by the Austin American-Statesman.

The course – which after a year and a half of maturation and a whirlwind of rave reviews from golfers of all skill levels – has become a must-play for visitors to the vacation-friendly area.

As part of the renowned Frio Country Resort (www.friocountry.com), the golf course was designed by Bechtol and his former partner Randy Russell to give tourists a reason to venture to the region when dove were out of season and the Frio was too low for tubing. 

The American-Statesman feature, written by Kevin Robbins and illustrated with photographs from Ralph Barrera, talks about a guys-only golf trip to ConCan in spring of 2008. Robbins called ConCan “far enough away from home to feel like we'd gone somewhere but close enough to keep expenses low. It was,” Robbins writes, “like Pine Dunes in Frankston or Squaw Valley in Glen Rose, impossibly efficient: Good golf, good beds, good price – a place for good friends.”

Robbins compared his trip to ConCan with one he made to Bandon Dunes in 2005. “Bandon Dunes was pure, unvarnished golf on coastal bluffs so remote the only noises you hear are the Pacific surf and the snap of flagsticks,” Robbins writes. “ConCan was pure, unvarnished golf on rocky, landlocked terrain populated by javelinas, cedars and steep hills so inaccessible there are no roads to the top.”

Bechtol said he receives many such remarks on the course from people who never knew such a golfing jewel could be played in such isolated conditions on such a budget.

“Real golfers, those that have played on some of the most famous courses in the world, come back from ConCan and tell me it is their new favorite course,” Bechtol said. “The golf at ConCan is honest and challenging, and that’s one of the things that make in memorable.”

The Club at ConCanThe golf course at The Club at ConCan (www.concangolf.com) is nestled in the valley formed by the Frio River. Hills, with elevations of up to 1,500 feet, surround the course and are a constant presence, adding to a feeling of isolation in a place where the deer, the rabbit and the armadillos far outnumber the human population. This one-of-a-kind setting, with its Hill Country backdrop to every green, makes ConCan a substantially different, unique and refreshing stay-and-play option.

“We were inspired by the peaks, the silhouettes and the abruptness of the dramatic profiles against the sky when we were routing and building the holes,” Bechtol said. “We just tried to lay the course gently on the earth, where it looks like it's been there forever.”

Barbara Arthur, who with her husband Kenneth developed The Club at ConCan and own a large part of the Frio River valley, said the course is still stunning to see. “It takes my breath away every time,” Arthur told Robbins. “The ‘new’ doesn't wear off.”

Bechtol – a specialist in fashioning courses while taking advantage of a property’s natural surroundings and environments – has built a track that brings to use every club in the bag. He expertly routed the course (which plays at 7,333-yards from the back tees and to a par of 35-37—72) in an inside-out fashion reminiscent of old-school design, using the sequencing of the holes hand in hand with nature to enhance the site’s majestic and natural setting. Check out the Bechtol Golf Design website at www.bechtolgolfdesign.com.

“(ConCan is) a big-shouldered golf course, with hectic contours of some greens and bunkered mightily throughout,” Robbins writes. “The par-3 holes are thoughtful, though not excessively long. The par-5 holes – one on the front and three on the back – are demanding enough, though not excessively punitive. The 10 other holes, the sturdy and relentless par-4s, will make your ears ring.”

Panoramic views of the Hill Country are found on every fairway and premium Zoysia grass under foot will make the course at ConCan Country Club one you will want to play again and again.

“We were able to accentuate the natural features of the site’s environment and create a very special place,” Bechtol said. “The trained eye will see that we aimed shot lines at surrounding features to expand the visual golf experience and make you feel on every hole that you are in your own little golf world.” 

 

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