A new set of Golfweek rankings have Texas golfers debating which courses are among the best private tracks in the state.
And while the top course, Whispering Pines near Huntsville, maintained its perch atop the list, a number of others have been jockeying for position.
For example, Spicewood’s Austin Golf Club — which has strong ties to local legend Ben Crenshaw and often sees the two-time Masters champ spending his afternoons there — has moved into a tie with Fredericksburg’s gorgeous Boot Ranch (which was the cover of Golfweek’s recent magazine).
Central Texas courses Spanish Oaks and the Tom Fazio-designed Escondido also cracked the top 15, but the new Fazio offering Driftwood has yet to make the list, even though it’s likely to crack it in years to come.
Here’s how the rankings work — members of Golfweek’s course-ratings panel continually evaluate courses and rate them based on our 10 criteria. They also file a single, overall rating on each course. Those overall ratings on each course are averaged together to produce a final rating for each course. Each course is then ranked against other courses in its state to produce the final rankings.
Without further ado, here’s the list:
1. Whispering Pines, Trinity
2. Dallas National, Dallas
3. Bluejack National, Montgomery
4. Colonial, Fort Worth
T5. Austin GC, Spicewood
T5. Boot Ranch, Fredericksburg
7. Wolf Point Ranch, Port Lavaca
T8. Brook Hollow, Dallas
T8. Maridoe, Carrolton
10. Trinity Forest, Dallas
11. Club at Carlton Woods (Fazio Championship), The Woodlands
12. Spanish Oaks, Bee Cave
13. Briggs Ranch, San Antonio
14. Escondido, Horseshoe Bay
15. Oak Hills, San Antonio
Jordan Spieth’s Irish adventure and pro-am DQ
Jordan Spieth has been living the dream in Ireland this week and he asked a couple of buddies to tag along in the form of Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler.
Ahead of competing Monday and Tuesday in the J.P. McManus Pro-Am at Adare Manor in Limerick, Ireland, the trio did what any golf-loving guys would do: enjoying a buddies trip to some of Ireland’s fabled links gems.
On Saturday, they played at Lahinch Golf Club on the northwest coast of County Clare. Lahinch, which has the fingerprints of Old Tom Morris and Alister MacKenzie on it, ranks No. 12 in Golfweek’s Best Classic Courses in Great Britain and Ireland. The boys appeared to catch it on a beautiful sunny day and as Spieth teed off, a goat grazed behind him.
On Sunday, they knocked off a gem from the Modern list, playing at Tralee, an Arnold Palmer design (often called his finest) that opened in 1984 in County Kerry.
Agent Jay Danzi, who represents Spieth, rounded out the foursome and posted a terrific selfie that showed the locals who caught wind that the pros were playing and came from far and wide to see them do their thing.
That included a toast of a few pints of Guinness on the tee.
“Getting the full experience while in Ireland,” Thomas wrote in his Instagram post.
But Jordan being Jordan took on new meaning McManus. The event is a two-day, 36-hole charitable event that has raised more than $145 million in its previous five stagings.
Texas ex Spieth was one of a plethora of stars playing. Tiger Woods was also there, as was Rory McIlroy. A handful of LIV Golf Series players were also on hand, including Bryson DeChambeau and Graeme McDowell.
The McManus is the latest stop during an amazing Irish golf swing for Spieth this week leading up to the 150th Open Championship.
The trouble began when Spieth picked up too soon on the 14th hole. That eliminated him from the individual competition. Spieth was 3-over through 13 holes at the time.
Scottie Scheffler among stacked Scottish field
This week’s Scottish Open has its strongest field ever, starting with world No. 1 and Masters champion Scottie Scheffler, the former Longhorn star.
Also, reigning Open Championship winner and No. 4 Collin Morikawa, reigning PGA Championship winner and No. 5 Justin Thomas, and reigning U.S. Open champion and No. 10 Matt Fitzpatrick will be joined by No. 2 and 2021 U.S. Open champion Jon Rahm, Players Championship winner No. 6 Cameron Smith, 2021 FedEx Cup champion and No. 7 Patrick Cantlay.
But wait, there’s more: No. 8 Viktor Hovland, No. 9 Sam Burns, No. 11 Xander Schauffele, No. 12 and three-time major winner Spieth, No. 13 Will Zalatoris — who actually leads the DP World Tour Ranking due to his runner-up finishes in the past two majors — and 2021 Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama.
The PGA Tour backs up the claim, reporting that “by field strength, the 2022 Genesis Scottish Open is set to be the strongest non-major in DP World Tour history.”
Dripping Springs' Scott Kelly captures Firecracker Open
Using a 65 in the final round, former Korn Ferry Tour player and current Dripping Springs resident Scott Kelly edged Jonathan Alden and Jack Cersosimo to take the Firecracker Open over the holiday weekend.
Austin Cotton, Alex Ellis and Jake Sitterle were three shots behind Kelly, who played at Sam Houston State.
Kelly, who got one start on the KFT and played a year on the PGA Tour Canada circuit used a huge save on No. 16 at Lions Municipal to capture the trophy.
"I was in the hardpan in rocks under a tree on 16 and hit it to a foot from like 40 yards away," said Kelly, who just recently got his amateur status back. "We all hit bad shots. It's what you do with them that matters. That was big for me."
Despite all of his previous accolades, Kelly admitted that winning the Firecracker might be his favorite accomplishment to date.
"There are a lot of big names on that trophy," he said. "And of course, Muny just has such a cool vibe."
Kelly said he hasn't much competitive golf of late after giving up the mini-tours and pro circuits back in 2018. He currently works for Lutronic, a company that makes cosmetic lasers.
"I thought golf was hard," he joked. "The business world is really hard."
Tim Schmitt is the managing editor for Golfweek, golf coordinator for the USA Today Network and lives in Round Rock. Golfweek’s Todd Kelly and Adam Schupak also contributed to this report.
This article originally appeared on Austin American-Statesman: Three Central Texas private golf courses among the state's best