When it comes to an anniversary, 14 years is traditionally celebrated by ivory or gold jewelry, but when it comes to Escondido Golf and Lake Club in Horseshoe Bay, the highest ranked course in Central Texas and the Hill Country, the Club is celebrating its 14th anniversary in a different manner. Further expansion and improvements to its already-impressive facilities will soon make one of the Southwest’s highest-ranked private country club communities even better.
A LEGACY OF EXCELLENCE
“Escondido has always had very high standards,” said Director of Instruction, Buck Mayers, one of the longest tenured employees at Escondido, which showcases an 18-hole Tom Fazio designed championship golf course, a massive Tuscan-styled clubhouse, extensive practice facility, performance center, a lakeside resort pool and full-service marina.
“We are second to no one, when it comes to everything that relates to a great facility. I don’t see anybody better when it comes to getting the job done.”
While Mayers has seen plenty of improvements in his 10-plus years at the award-winning facility, Director of Golf Penn Saad has been at the course less than 10 months, but has already discerned what makes Escondido so special.
“We’re living at a time when attention is the new currency. We are creating new and more advanced ways to interact with our membership through various social media platforms. Our goal is to listen to the direct feedback from our members and continue to act on their wants and needs while exceeding their expectations even in these unexpected times,” Saad said.
Saad added, “We have a great team in place to execute and create new and memorable experiences for our Members with JJ Wagner, as COO/General Manager, leading the way. It is a team effort, and we are all excited to take things to another level in this newest era of technology and creative programming.”
LUXURY LAKE LIVING
While Escondido’s celebrated championship course, which has hosted several top amateur events along with regular fun outings between members and their guests, will always be the centerpiece, the luxury private Escondido Golf and Lake Club recently announced an expansion to its extensive marina program.
Soon Escondido will launch a new boat storage, initially offering 20 units capable of storing boats up to 30ft. A special concierge service will be available to have your boat waiting for you at the dock prepped with any special requests you can imagine for your time on the constant-level, 21-mile long Lake LBJ.
“Our goal for 2021 and beyond is to provide an ever-improving level of service and experience at Escondido for members and guests,” said COO/General Manager J.J. Wagner. “We’re thrilled with our highest ever ranking in The Dallas Morning News, but that is only momentum for higher rankings and higher service levels for this special place.”
Meaning “hidden” in Spanish, the name Escondido says much about this amazing community. Set back from the fast pace of everyday life by a cobblestone entrance lined with monumental oaks, native grasses and dramatic granite outcroppings; this escape of unmatched charm awaits in the beauty of the Texas Hill Country. Escondido members describe it as the Escondido Experience –an irresistible draw to a place you never want to leave.
The par-71 layout plays to 7,165 yards from the back tees, but can be played from a variety of tee locations. Much of the year, the course, which winds gracefully through the adjoining community, is surrounded by wildflowers and dozens of hardwoods along with plenty of natural, spring fed lakes and well-stocked comfort stations.
It starts off gracefully with a pair of mainly-straight par 4 holes, but gradually brings all kinds of shots and all kinds of challenges into play. Fazio is a master of not repeating hole types and for not allowing cart paths or off-course homes to intrude into the golfers’ vantage points.
The renowned championship course was recently ranked 5th in the statewide Dallas Morning News’ Texas Golf Course Rankings. It is the highest statewide ranking for any Austin-area course since Barton Creek opened in the Capital City in the 1980s.
“We’ve done it the old-fashioned way,” said nationally renowned golf course superintendent Rodney Lingle, who’s spent 46 years perfecting his golf maintenance craft, including the last five at Escondido. “This is the best crew we have ever worked with. They are really talented and I’m just proud of what they have accomplished here with these awards.”
Before coming to Escondido, Director of Golf, Saad worked at some of the top private clubs in the U.S., along with a stint in New Zealand, but didn’t take too long to find out what makes Escondido special to raters, members and guests.
“Escondido has a culture and environment that is not only unique and powerful, but also a perfect blend that makes every person who drives through our gates feel at home,” There are lots of great golf courses, facilities and amenities around the world, and while Escondido has the best of those categories as well, it is the membership and the staff at Escondido that really set us apart.”
Each member of the Escondido team has stepped up and worked together to improve the overall project over the last 14 years, including the most important for some golfers – Food!
Executive Chef, Gilbert Moore oversees an impressive array of food options from wedding receptions and formal dinners to what may be the most important to the golfers, the Smoke Shack. After nine holes of golfing challenges, players stop at the unique smokehouse next to the par 3 10th hole where native meats are grilled on a large outdoor grill and then served as a quick snack to hungry golfers.
It’s another way Escondido separates itself from fellow private clubs as its famous halfway house Brisket Tacos were named the sixth best on-course food in America by Golf Digest.
“The brisket tacos at Escondido Golf and Lake Club are the essence of slow food,” the magazine raved with a large photo of the tasty, coveted item, which is available daily at the 10th tee Smoke Shack.
The Golf Digest goes on to explain the beef delicacy is “smoked daily over white oak and pecan harvested from the property… the meat has been brined for two days and smoked for another 24 hours.”
Assuming you’re not too full to swing, the par 3 10th hole, forces you to thread your ball through a thicket of trees on either side of the fairway to a pear shaped green.
Among the most memorable holes are Escondido’s closing stretches, like the par-3 15th hole, where a large lake takes up the entire left side of the fairway and curls dangerously all along the left side of the green.
The finishing challenge comes on the par-5 18th hole with water all the way down the left side with trees on both sides of the fairway and a green on which putts break toward the water.
Golfers have three unique ways to arrive at the exclusive private home community. They can arrive by boat to the private Escondido harbor, which ties directly into the large, wooded community. Many members do that on a regular basis during the year, courtesy of the constant level Lake LBJ which laps the shores of the marina.
Members and guests can also arrive by air to the huge private airport on a large landing strip overlooking the property – just seven minutes from Escondido’s stone façade and wrought iron gates. Or, if you want to be downright old-fashioned, you can traverse the scenic Farm to Market road which winds through the charming town of Marble Falls and leads you onward from the capital city of Austin or Texas’ metropolitan centers.
LIVING THE DREAM
Escondido is located in an inspiring Hill Country setting and surrounds enchanting Estate, Villa and Casita home sites. Comfortably located near both Austin and San Antonio, residents are able to enjoy an active local community, easy day trips to premier cities and renowned Central Texas towns; as well as an active social life with family and friends within their own private gated community. A limited number of homes and homesites are available within this exclusive and enchanting resort-style enclave.
Adding to the select choice of homes and home sites in Escondido is the waterfront extension of this stunning community, Lago Escondido. Available properties in Lago Escondido include premium lake front and lake view home sites. Featuring direct water access with unparalleled lake and hill country vistas, Lago Escondido is located just a short distance by boat or golf cart from Escondido Golf and Lake Club.
Recently, Escondido Golf and Lake Club Member, Timm Baumann, an active Principal with Savannah Developers, in partnership with Tom Classen of Westway Custom Builders, secured several homesites in Lago Escondido to develop a collection of custom spec homes as well as build-to-suit opportunities for those homeowners with the desire for personal design and distinction.
Timm says “there is something for everyone in this breathtaking big water big view community. The intention is to reimagine Lago Escondido by creating a large-scale work of art where people, structures, and the existing landscape blend subtly into a harmonious community. Lago’s entire team is highly dedicated to preserving the stunning beauty and unique natural landscape of this amazing privately gated peninsula.”
OK, so what you’ve heard is likely true. Escondido is the kind of place you go when you know you’ve already arrived, but that doesn’t mean it’s stuffy. Not by any means. For those who haven’t been through Escondido’s gates, the property owns a bit of a mystique, a marveled-at reputation for elevating the concept of country club life as well as resort-style living. Once inside, one discovers this private club community is far less about pomp and status and all about making sure members make the most out of their time there- whether that’s for refreshing long weekends on the links or the water, or a quiet daily connection with the invigorating Hill Country setting.
To learn more about one of the most unique and finely-appointed private golf and lakefront communities in Texas, visit www.escondidotexas.com
By Art Stricklin