Hideout Golf Club & Resort

The Hideout Golf Club & Resort is one of Central Texas’s favorite destinations for championship golf, lakefront resort getaways, and to enjoy vacation.


BROWNWOOD, Texas — Hidden gem. That’s a term you hear often in conjunction with “off the beaten path.” Sometimes, it’s hyperbole, but that isn’t the case with a destination I recently checked out in the middle of the Lone Star State. The name of the resort — “The Hideout Golf Club and Resort” — is spot on. It’s certainly a bit out of the way, but very much worth it if you’re looking for affordable quality golf at a place where you can relax in rustic accommodations. And it truly is a getaway in every sense.

Located about 2 1/2 hours northwest of Austin and a little more than that southwest of the Dallas-Fort Worth area, The Hideout is pretty much in the geographical middle of the second largest state in the Union, at the edge of the Hill Country. It’s Texas through and through. The resort is just outside of Brownwood, a town of just under 20,000 people, right next to Lake Brownwood, so there is a little more to do than just play golf. In town, you’ll find shops with plenty of western wear, Texas grub, and a fine watering hole or two as well.


As for The Hideout, it’s a private club with resort play. The facility has undergone several ownership changes over the years — it faced some tough economic times around 2008 — but more recently its new owners and Troon Golf have made great strides in improving the golf, the food and beverage operation and accommodations. When you stay here, you definitely feel like you’re out in the country, and away from the fast-paced life of Dallas, Austin, or Houston.


The par-72 course is just a little more than 6,900 yards from the back tees (there are five sets starting at just over 4,200 yards), and it’s a really good test of golf getting better with each passing day as the grounds crew continues to raise the level of conditioning. The course was designed by Bill Johnston, a former club pro who actually won two events on the PGA Tour, including the 1958 Texas Open. He wound up playing in 183 events and made the cut in 132 of them. Johnston died in 2021 at the age of 96.

He finished the first nine holes in 1989, then the other side was built in 2010.

It’s an old-school golf course that can easily be walked, with live oaks and juniper trees dotting gentle doglegs. The layout includes some carefully-placed bunkers and water that comes into play on several holes. The smooth, bentgrass greens, for the most part, are generous with some tricky undulations on some of them, so putting can certainly be a challenge as well.

What I really liked about this course is that no two holes are the same. Playing it twice, I pretty much remembered all of them. The par 3s and par 5s were particularly varied.


For example, the 150-yard par-3 second (from the whites) is pretty straightforward with bunkers behind the green. The par-3 13th has a completely different look. It can be nearly 200 yards from the tips, and a pond comes into play depending on how you shape your shot (ideal would be left to right to go around the water).

The par 5s are arguably more intriguing. The seventh and ninth holes can make or break your front nine. The seventh has a lake that you must carry at some point. That could come on your second shot or even your third if you’re forced to lay up. Still, it’s a par-5, so it’s an opportunity. If you can get your tee shot close enough to the lake, there’s certainly an opportunity to get there in two or just short of the green for a good up-and-down chance. The hole is just under 500 yards from the middle tees and 575 yards from the tips.

The ninth has a ravine that crosses about two thirds of the way to the green. Like the seventh, it’s pretty much straight away, and if you play the proper tees, it’s getable.

And then there’s the par-5 16th. The approach shot plays over another ravine to the most unique green on the course. It has a punch bowl front left. If the hole is located in the bowl, you just have to pitch it to that part of the green to get it close. It’s probably a three-putt, however, if you’re not in the same portion of the green as the flagstick.


Finally, the par-4 18th hole has the most memorable tee shot on the course. A highly elevated tee brings in miles of views of the countryside and the course below. Avoid the road on the right and the wetlands on the left, and you’ve got a pretty reasonable approach into a smallish green.


Once you finish your round, it’s back to your cabin or to The Hideout’s magnificent clubhouse for a drink on its huge deck overlooking the property, or maybe lunch or dinner.

The log cabin style accommodations are rustic with raised ceilings, a loft, a kitchen and compact bathroom. There are porches that overlook the property (some are on the golf course along the first hole), perfect for a cigar and a beverage as you watch the sun go down later in the day. There are also limited accommodations in the clubhouse, where I found the most pleasant surprise of them all — the dining.

You don’t expect the dining at a country getaway like this to be off-the-charts excellent, but it was. That’s because the new executive chef, Prashanth Ramphal, who came over from Horseshoe Bay Resort west of Austin, has revamped the food and beverage program there. Whether it’s prime aged steaks or an incredible breakfast that included the best biscuits and gravy I’ve ever tried (and that’s saying something since I’ve lived in Texas for more than 40 years now), there isn’t anything on The Hideout’s menu that isn’t impressive. Ramphal is all about using fresh ingredients, much of them grown or raised nearby. And in addition to the restaurant, there’s also a full-sized bar, offering an array of cocktails, wine, and beer on tap.


In addition to the dining, there’s also a large pool, tennis courts, and access to the lake, where you can take part in boating or fishing to round out your vacation. And the deck on the clubhouse is magnificent, overlooking the putting green below, the golf course and a vast Texas horizon.

If you want to try something different, though, going into town is highly recommended. There’s lots of shopping, but if you’re looking to see a lot all at once, you can check out Shaw’s Marketplace, which has a collection of vendors right next to Fuzzy’s Tacos. Inside you’ll find unique crafts, vintage soda pops and candy, boots, and other Texas fashions as well as a coffee shop.

There’s also one of the most unique bookstores you’ll find anywhere in the country. The Intermission Bookstore got its name from the venue that was once a movie theater during World War II. Back in the day, soldiers from nearby Camp Bowie packed the place, often before they were shipped out to battle. And if you’re looking for a craft beer and some excellent pizza, check out the Pioneer Tap House, or head over to Waylon & Ray’s for some live music.


But for fine dining and history in the same location, Lucille + Mabel Kitchen and Libations is the spot. The restaurant reflects family generations of recipes, offering an elegant bar and exquisite dining that includes aged Wagyu steaks, pan-seared Chilean sea bass, shrimp and grits, premium burgers, and delectable desserts.

This is just a sampling of the things to do in and around Brownwood, but for golfers, it doesn’t get much better than The Hideout, where you can get packages that start around $250 a night with unlimited golf. The best part about it, for me anyway, is that there’s nothing pretentious about “The Hideout.” You can pretty much come as you are, play as much golf as you like, and just enjoy a great meal and relax.


(Mike Bailey is a Travel Editor for Pro Golf Weekly. He can be reached at mstefan.bailey@gmail.com)

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