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TEXAS: HORSESHOE BAY RESORT
One of Central Texas’ quintessential Hill Country golf experiences, the 18-hole Apple Rock course at the AAA-Four Diamond- and Conde Nast Readers’ Choice Award-winning Horseshoe Bay Resort, re-opened this summer, signaling the completion of the resort’s three-year restoration of all three of its acclaimed Robert Trent Jones, Sr. designs.
The renovated Apple Rock layout offers some of the most picturesque views in the state, most notably at the start of its second nine. The 10th and 11th holes, both dramatic downhill par fives, cascade toward the serene coast of Lake LBJ and the par-three 12th plays along an intimate stretch of its shoreline. Jones Sr. strategically routed Apple Rock, which debuted in 1986, to take advantage of the many higher elevation points that overlook Horseshoe Bay and the lake.
Apple Rock’s renovations included the installation of 007 Bentgrass greens, expanding green sizes by as much as 50 percent on many holes, renovating (and scaling down many) bunkers, re-shaping and leveling tee-boxes, improved irrigation, as well as adding stone retaining walls along water hazards to improve aesthetics.
In 2016, Slick Rock, the oldest of Horseshoe Bay Resort’s three Robert Trent Jones, Sr. layouts (built in 1971) underwent similar renovations and in 2017, the acclaimed and challenging Ram Rock course (which opened in 1981) was restored to match Jones’ original vision. On Ram Rock, to improve playability, the greens were enlarged and re-contoured and dozens of bunkers were reduced in size. The result is a more enjoyable course from the forward tees and still an impressively strategic set-up for skilled golfers.
Similarly, the greens on Apple Rock’s 6,999-yard, par-72 layout have been made larger and more playable and, according to director of agronomy Ken Gorzycki, each surface now has more options for quality pin placements.
Gorzycki’s team worked in concert with Robert Trent Jones II’s design team, led by senior project architect Mark Voss, to maintain the integrity of the original design while making the most of the layout’s naturally hilly features
Apple Rock’s bunkers now feature a firmer, lighter-in-color sand that Holder says will be more playable while creating an attractive visual contrast against the emerald fairways.
With all 54 Robert Trent Jones, Sr.-designed holes in peak condition plus the 18-hole Whitewater Putting Course and the exclusive, private Summit Rock course, Horseshoe Bay Resort is positioned as one of the most attractive and diverse golf destinations in the United States. The brand-new Cap Rock clubhouse village will open later this year with a state-of-the-art, 3,360-square-foot structure housing world-class dining, locker rooms, meeting spaces and terraces overlooking breathtaking views of the Texas Hill Country and Lake LBJ.