Expansive golf course highlights everything that’s great about the Texas Hill Country
DRIFTWOOD, Texas — Everything is big in Texas and when you add Discovery Land Company to a project in the Lone Star State, the sky is the limit. Such is the case at Driftwood Golf & Ranch Club, set on 800 acres of rolling Hill Country prairieland among the rocky hillsides about a 35-minute drive southwest of Austin.
This exclusive community will offer just 315 parcels of land for single-family residences, with the eastern portion of the expansive property (called the Ranch) highlighted by a broad-shouldered, burly Tom Fazio-designed golf course that he’s called one of his best.
The western side of the community (called the Creek parcel) will sport family-friendly amenities, including sports courts, homegrown vineyards, a family pool complex, an activity barn and sports fields, a spa and wellness center, organic farms and – with this being Austin – a songwriter’s studio.
The property’s two parcels are connected by a cart path that tunnels under the road that leads residents and members to the site.
For our purposes, the golf course is the draw, and Fazio has fashioned his 7,662-yard par-72 track through stands of stately century oak trees and around and over natural limestone outcroppings. The mostly wide routing incorporates natural wetlands and wildlife habitat corridors. On the edges of the course are native wildflowers, prickly pear cacti and 50-foot cliffs above a flowing creek.
Driftwood Golf & Ranch Club’s substantial practice game area has a 13-acre driving range and a 3.5-acre short game area turfed with Zeon Zoysia, with a water feature that runs through the large greens, allowing for practice for every shot and for all skill levels.
“The top players may never leave the practice facilities because they are the best they’ll ever see,” Fazio said at the grand opening of Driftwood Golf & Ranch Club. “When they play the course, they’ll never want to leave. That’s not hype – that’s just the fact of the place we’re creating here.”
Fazio offers players five sets of tees at Driftwood Golf & Ranch Club, the shortest at 4,960 yards.
On a recent trip to the facility we were able to tee it up on the front nine, playing it twice on a sun-splashed, windswept afternoon. The back nine was still growing in after an uneven Texas winter that saw some late-season frosty temps that put that side of the course a little behind schedule.
The opening hole plays into the prevailing wind at 425 yards, with a wide landing area and a large putting surface that features plenty of undulation. The second is a reachable par 5; keep your drive down the left side to get a good look at the well-protected green, which moves back toward the right on the approach.
The third is, by far, the shortest par 3 at Driftwood Golf & Ranch Club, playing 181 yards from the back tees and with the wind behind your back. The green has a false front and is segmented, moving left to right.
Nos. 4 and 5 are both long par 4s, carded at 499 and 539 yards, respectively, from the tips. They play in different directions but are both routed across the prevailing winds. The sixth keeps with the “longer is better” theme, playing 212 and uphill with a large bunker to the right and a closely mown area on the left.
The first of the course’s two comfort stations is behind the sixth green, and you are likely to need a little comfort after playing the previous three holes. Once you whet your whistle, you will be ready to play the most “getable” stretch of holes at Driftwood Golf & Ranch Club, the 450-yard par 4 seventh, the 354-yard par 4 eighth and the 597-yard par 5 ninth, which plays shorter than its length.
Jordan Spieth, who has ties to the Austin area for the year he played for, and helped win the national championship, the University of Texas golf team, has purchased two residential lots near the ninth green, but don’t expect to see him lounging on his back deck. The setbacks here are considerable, so much so that the homesites will only augment the course and the community.
We were able to take a drive around holes 10-18, which will be the more dramatic half of the golf course. Seven of the course’s back-nine holes include water features. There are winding natural creeks that play throughout and huge lake that borders the entire right side of the 485-yard 16th hole. Another lake must be carried from every tee on the 203-yard par 3 17th, and part of that lake continues on down the right side of the 476-yard closing hole, which is also pinched near the green by a waterfall and pond on the left.
The Ranch parcel of the property includes The Pavilion, a place to enjoy live-fire barbeque on an event lawn overlooking the 18th green; the clubhouse (with fitness facilities and luxurious locker rooms); the Golf House, with a pro shop and indoor/outdoor dining areas; and a teaching bay for lessons and tune ups to your game.
Because this is a Discovery Land Company property, members of this ultra-private community and club can expect to be pampered to the nth degree. Driftwood Golf & Ranch Club is one of Discovery’s 25 exclusive, members-only international neighborhoods, all of which feature unrivaled amenities and inspired experiences for members to share with family and friends across generations.