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Play Away: Austin Golf Trail

By Elisha Neubauer

Did you know that there are 35 golf courses within 45 minutes of downtown Austin? That's a lot of green!

Chip Gist, founder of the Austin Golf Trail, wanted to help solve the some of the supply and demand issues that such a saturation inevitably creates: "There are more golf courses in Austin than local demand can support," he explains. "So we decided to create new demand for the courses from outside our market. With the help of the Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau, we market Austin as a golf destination to the rest of the country and then fulfill that marketing with a full service concierge."

The Austin Golf Trail partners with hotels and golf courses- even offering package deals that include both golf and accommodations for one-stop shopping. Gist's inventive thinking has helped to put Austin on the map, creating a fascinating business wave for the golfing community. "To date we have booked over 10,000 rounds of golf and 5,000 hotel rooms with golfers who would not otherwise come here," he says.

Once you've golfed in Austin, you won't be able to stop yourself from coming back. "Austin offers great golf and a phenomenal golf experience," boasts Gist. In addition to the sheer number of courses, many of them are designed by top course designers- Gist names Nicklaus, Fazio, Dye, Palmer, and Crenshaw/Coore as a few of the big names. "The courses are built in memorable, hill country topography," he adds.

But, as most golfers know, there is more to golf culture than just the courses themselves. Austin also presents visitors with a great 'after golf' experience as well, featuring nightly live music, award-winning restaurants, and a bar scene viable for all tastes. "Simply, Austin has the "best 19th Hole" in the country," says Gist.

Weather is another massive draw to Austin for golfers. Austin plays host to approximately 300 days of sunshine per year, with an average yearly temperature of 74.6 degrees Fahrenheit- making it the perfect environment for outdoor activities. In fact, climate is one of the top reasons Austin earned Golf Digest's "The Best" City in America for golf ranking in 2008. A few other reasons for the esteemed title included total number of courses per capita, proportion of public access to private courses, golf history, and cost value for playing.

If you're a golf fan looking to expand your playing territories- or to find a golf-capital to call home- Austin is a great place to consider. Bring your clubs, pack a hat- and hit the fairway!

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About The Author

Elisha Neubauer is a freelance editor, ghostwriter, book reviewer, and author. She is...

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