Featured Guest: Jay Reynolds, Top Texas Golf Courses
By: Jay Reynolds*, Guest Contributor
As a competitive golfer for many years I’ve been lucky enough to get to play many of Texas’s most famous courses. Here are the top ten courses I’ve played. As a part of my series on Texas’ best golf courses, I will be following up with the top ten golf courses in the state that I have not yet played, but want to play in the coming weeks.
10. The Cliffs @ Possum Kingdom Lake – This course is an absolute can’t-miss. About an hour west of Ft Worth, The Cliffs is as beautiful as it is challenging. Trust me when I say bring lots of golf balls…. The Cliffs features stellar views and there are no easy birdies here. The one time I played here, I was 16 or 17 and I got to take Ray Benson’s tour bus there and back from Austin! The Cliffs holds may fond memories to say the least.
9. Old American Golf Club – The Colony, TX – I just recently played OAGC for the first time a couple weeks ago and was blown away with the imaginative design, fantastic condition, and unique experience they provide. You will have to get used to the British-sized flag sticks (which play tricks on your eyes!), but beyond that the course is an absolute blast to play. Bring plenty of balls if you play on hitting it sideway.
8. Vaquero – This Tom Fazio course is one of the most fun courses I’ve played in Texas. Vaquero features beautiful rolling terrain, famous people’s homes surrounding the course, and customer service that will make you feel the entire staff would take a bullet for you. Maybe they would!
7. Colonial Country Club – Ft Worth, TX – The layout at Colonial is quintessential Texas golf. Colonial provides tall trees, narrow fairways, and is steeped in history. Ben Hogan called this course home for years, and his office there remains intact. I have played this course once, in a practice round for the US Senior Am Qualifier my dad, Peach, was playing in. Despite a bogey, bogey, bogey finish to miss a playoff by one stroke, it was still a memorable day and a course I look forward to playing again.
6. Wolfdancer Golf Club – Lost Pines, TX – Wolfdancer represents stunning central Texas golf with epic landscape changes and ultra fast and undulating greens. Serenity surrounded by terror is the best description of this amazing track! I have actually called Wolfdancer my home course for the last 5 years or so. And it doesn’t seem to matter how many times you play Wolfdancer, it is always tough as nails.
5. Walden on Lake Conroe – Walden, TX – This Robert von Hagge design is one of my favorites I’ve ever played. Walden contains some of the most unique holes and quizzical greens pieced together through monumental pines and lake views. If you end up north of Houston, it’s worth the time to play a round at Walden.
4. Austin Country Club – Austin, TX – I had the pleasure of meeting ACC architect Pete Dye at a tournament a little while back. When I brought up ACC, his eyes lit up and he said “that was my favorite piece of land I’ve ever had to work on.” He built a masterpiece. Lakes, canyons and beautifully contoured greens make ACC one of my favorite courses of all time.
3. Whispering Pines – Middle of Nowhere TX – Whispering Pines was home to my last major junior win, the AJGA Whispering Pines Classic in 2001. This was the first tournament they ever hosted at this incredible facility and I’m happy to have my name attached to Whispering Pines in any way!
2. Austin Golf Club – I’ve heard some people in Austin criticize AGC as being dull and not imaginative and my answer to them is: “are you ********* crazy?” This course features one of the finest layouts I’ve ever played. The green complexes are simply the best around. And getting there can seem simple on some days. But with a breath of wind, you’ll be hunting for balls in a hurry if you’re not careful. I’ve had the pleasure to play this track with designer Ben Crenshaw several times and watching him putt these amazing bent grass greens is an image I hope never leaves me!
1. Pecan Valley – San Antonio, TX – My first experience with Pecan Valley was in 2001 when I was lucky enough to qualify for the US Pub Links Championship . The 6-inch rough and lighting fast greens ate my lunch…but the course has obviously withstood the test of time. With only minor work done, this course is very similar to the course Arnold Palmer hit one of golf’s most famous shots in the 1968 PGA Championship, only to lose by a shot to Julius Boros. Despite its rich history and being a course that has hosted several major events, Pecan Valley closed its doors in January and appears to be not only my favorite course I have ever played, but one I will never play again.
* About Jay Reynolds: Born and raised in Austin, Jay graduated from Austin High School in 2001, rising to No. 3 in the Golfweek/Sagarin Junior Rankings, before accepting a golf scholarship to play at the University of New Mexico. Jay graduated with a BA in Communications and Journalism in 2005, and earned Academic All-American Honors for the 2003-04 season. He then turned professional, competing on the Canadian Tour in 2006 and the Hooters Tour in 2007-2008.
Off the tour, Jay and his father, Peach Reynolds, were featured contestants on the first season of The Golf Channel’s reality series, “Highway 18.” He is president of Scoring Solutions Golf, an on course approach to golf instruction, which calls the beautiful Wolfdancer Golf Club in Bastrop its home. Jay recently filed for reinstatement as an amateur golfer and will pursue a full amateur playing schedule in 2014 at the highest amateur level.
However, Jay is more than just a golfer. A well rounded Texan, Jay is currently traveling the state with Texas country star, Monte Montgomery and has appeared on an episode of MTV’s True Life.
We at the Texan Post are proud to have Jay Reynolds as a featured contributor.