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Hill Country (Golf) Heaven

Best of the Rest

Falconhead Golf Club (falconheadaustin.com) near Lake Travis offers mesmerizing views of the Hill Country and a cantilevered green at the par-three seventeenth suspended above an artificial limestone-edged pond. ColoVista Country Club (colovista.com) in Bastrop, thirty miles east of Austin, features a pine-draped back nine and a majestic vista of the Colorado River at the par-three fifteenth. Heading northwest, a day trip to Burnet puts you among the bluebonnets and prickly pear cacti at Delaware Springs Golf Course (www.delawaresprings.com), a model municipal layout. The fairways of Star Ranch Golf Club (starranchgolf.com) ripple through a maze of dazzling bunkers. Jimmy Clay Golf Course (austinpubliclinks.com), a tree-lined Austin muni favorite designed by Joe Finger, is being renovated until August. For an unmistakable Austin experience, head to Lions Municipal Golf Course (austinpubliclinks.com). Short, eccentric and seductive, Old Muni, as it is lovingly known, hosts the annual Firecracker Open, a popular summertime tournament won by Crenshaw and Kite when they were young.

Where to Stay

Barton Creek Resort & Spa With four of the best golf courses in Texas, a world-class spa, indoor and outdoor pools, a billiards-and-cigar bar and a variety of restaurants on the property, you can stay in one of Barton Creek's well-appointed but understated rooms and never require a car. An evening stroll down the lighted paths along the tributary itself is a quiet pleasure.
8212 Barton Creek Drive, Austin; 800-336-6158, www.bartoncreek.com. Rooms: $180-$380. Suites: $570-$1,900.

The Driskill This opulent hotel, opened in 1886 by Texas cattle baron Jesse L. Driskill, lords over the Sixth Street entertainment district with elegance and grace. It was here that LBJ set up his election-night headquarters in 1960 and '64. The Driskill's 176 rooms and thirteen suites still feature rich Victorian decor. Even if you don't stay here, visit the lobby, where antiques gleam in soft light filtered through a stained-glass dome.
604 Brazos Street, Austin; 800-252-9367, www.driskillhotel.com. Rooms: $215-$375. Suites: $395-$2,500.

Hotel San José A bohemian, bungalow-style hotel fashioned out of a former motor court and located in the emerging neighborhood of SoCo (as in South Congress), the forty-room, stucco-walled San José oozes urban chic. Native gardens, crushed-granite walking paths and an in-house music library combine to evoke an unmistakable Austin attitude.
1316 South Congress Avenue, Austin; 800-574-8897, www.sanjosehotel.com. Rooms: $90-$240. Suites: $260-$370.

Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort and Spa The newest resort in the center of the state exudes a decidedly Texan spirit. The tree-shaded grounds hug the Colorado River, offering opportunities for fly-fishing, rafting and horseback riding. Children can enjoy the Crooked River Pool and water slide, and couples or families can visit the nearby historic town of Bastrop.
575 Lost Pines Road, Lost Pines; 512-308-1234, lostpines.www.hyatt.com. Rooms: $329-$405. Suites: $580-$2,500.

Where to Eat

Austin's dining scene reflects the cosmopolitan energy of the city, but the fact remains that you're still in the heart of Texas. Barbeque, therefore, rules. It's beef, not pork or chicken, that defines the Texas smokehouse and grill: beef ribs, beef brisket and beef sausage served with beef-flavored ranch beans. And it's sauced strictly after being cooked, not rubbed in advance.

Chuy's (Tex-Mex) Nothing goes better with a cold drink after a round than a bottomless bowl of homemade chips and salsa and a steaming stack of enchiladas, and few places do either as well as this Austin institution of vinyl, Formica and chrome. The kitsch on the walls and ceiling alone, including an installation of hubcaps, makes it worth the short wait for a table at lunch or dinner.
1728 Barton Springs Road, Austin; 512-474-4452. $


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