The Kissing Tree Golf Course is the first new, semi-private 18-hole golf course to be built in Texas in the past six years. Professionally managed by Troon Golf, the course incorporates the natural character of the land’s footprint and the Hill Country backdrop to create a one-of-a-kind experience for golfers.
The course serves as an extension of the natural landscape, blending grades on the edges, bringing the slopes and contours of the landscape into fairways. Each hole provides an avenue of play with varied angles that allow golfers of any skill level to enjoy the game and feel challenged.
The Kissing Tree Golf Course is part of the Audubon International program which preserves and highlights the native environment. With that in mind, Gary Stephenson designed the course to be very gentle in shape, allowing it to fit seamlessly into the natural landscape.
In addition to 18 holes, the Kissing Tree Golf Course offers a long- and short-game practice facility, along with a 9-hole putting course.
The course measures just over 6,500 yards from the back tees and boasts consists of many spectacular views. Learn more about the course or set a tee time at the Kissing Tree Golf Club website.
Creating the Course
Texas native Gary Stephenson designed an engaging par-72 layout that follows a landscape of rolling terrain, not surprising given Kissing Tree’s location on the eastern edge of Hill Country. “We built this course with the intention of making it fun for any level of golfer,” said Josh Clay, former General Manager of Kissing Tree Golf Club.
“We will have a lot of residents coming back to the game or who have never played before, but we also kept in mind the better golfer so they can still enjoy it. Gary created elevated tees, few forces carries, generous fairways (many 40 yards or wider), and subtle greens.”
Both nines end with drivable downhill par 4s (289 yards and 321 yards from the tips), albeit each with water in play around the green. “We did that because it’s exciting, but also because nine-hole golf will be a big part of the community,” said Clay. “We wanted to give those people the same level of entertainment on both sides of the course.”
In The News: Troon Golf Feature
According to The Texas Golf Insider
There’s a true Texas Hill Country feel and play-ability at the new Kissing Tree Golf Club here in San Marcos from the minute you drive onto the property to the final putt on the 18th hole of the 6,572-yard Gary Stephenson-designed course – and that’s a very good thing.
A combination of long-reaching vistas on rolling topography with creeks and ponds and rough-rock walls give Kissing Tree Golf Club a truly unique – but also familiar – countenance.
In the process, Kissing Tree Golf Club has raised the bar for golf in the burgeoning Austin-San Antonio corridor. Will its competitors take notice?
Stephenson has taken a splendid piece of land and enhanced it with gentle nudging, assuring that this course, which was built to be the centerpiece of the age-restricted Kissing Tree community just south of town and west of Interstate 35, can stand on its own right as a destination and must-play track.
“The Hill Country offers unique colors and textures with the limestone, oaks and scrub brush,” said Gary Stephenson, a native Texan who lives in the Dallas suburb of McKinney. “It’s a great wildlife habitat, and the routing was done to try and preserve as many prominent natural features as possible, and to use them as strategy and aesthetics for the golf course.”
Kissing Tree Golf Club is the first new, semi-private 18-hole golf course to be built in Texas in the past six years. Each hole provides an avenue of play with varied angles that demand execution of shots and finding the right tier of the mostly large putting surfaces to find success.
The course and community is a tribute to Sam Houston’s gubernatorial speech in 1857 in front of a mighty oak tree in San Marcos, where he famously kissed several of the female attendees, creating a stir and a bit of a local legend.
And while the Kissing Tree community was developed for the baby-boomer generation, this is not just your grandfather’s golf course. While your grandfather or father may be playing here, a trip to the back set of four tee boxes will be plenty of golf course to keep even the scratch golfer challenged.
“Our goal with this course was to make it fun and playable for all golfers, to bring those to the game who want to learn and understand that golf can be played for a lifetime, not just for guys that hit the ball like Tiger Woods or Dustin Johnson,” said Josh Clay, Kissing Tree GC’s general manager for Troon, the golf course management company that is overseeing course operations and agronomy.