Gary Stephenson design at Kissing Tree opens for play

  • Kissing Tree

    The Gary Stephenson-designed course at Kissing Tree Golf Club has opened for play

  • Kissing Tree

    The layout is the first new public course in Texas for six years

Richard Humphreys
By Richard Humphreys

Kissing Tree Golf Club in San Marcos, Texas, designed by golf course architect Gary Stephenson, has opened for play.

Built as an amenity for a residential community for 55 and overs, Kissing Tree will also be available for daily-fee play, making it the first new public course to open in the state for six years. Texas resident Stephenson has created a design that embraces the course’s location in Texas Hill Country, bringing the slopes and contours of the landscape into the fairways and greens.

The layout, which can be played from 5,200 to 6,600 yards, follows the natural movement of the land, with wide playing corridors and green complexes reachable from various angles. The areas around the greens will be closely cropped, providing a variety of options in the short game.

Tifway 419 bermudagrass has been used on the tee boxes, fairways and rough, while greens are TifEagle bermudagrass.

“Kissing Tree Golf Club puts true Hill Country golf right in local golfers’ backyard,” said Dirk Gosda, president at Brookfield Residential Texas. “As our residents who have already been previewing and playing the course can attest, the views and topography provide a challenging, yet accessible and enjoyable, golf experience for everyone. The natural beauty of the property really shines through, and the greens are pristine. We can’t wait for the public to join our residents on the links.”

In addition to the 18-hole course the club also features a short game practice facility, an extensive practice range and a putting green.

Golf course management company Troon is overseeing course operations and agronomy.

The club has earned certification as a signature program facility with Audubon International. The Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf is an environmental and conservation assistance program created to help courses protect the environment, including wildlife and habitat management, and to follow sustainable resource management principles.

“The course offers all levels of golfers a fun and exciting round of golf,” said Josh Clay, general manager at Kissing Tree Golf Club. “From driveable par fours that incorporate risk-reward water hazards around the green to reachable par fives, golfers will have plenty of chances to make birdies and eagles.”