ConCan Country Club Drawing Good Reviews

Less than six months after opening its full 18-hole layout, the golf course at ConCan Country Club in southwest Texas is drawing good reviews. The course lies in a region that has earned fame as a place to beat the Texas heat by swimming and tubing in the spring-fed Frio River. Now, it has a daily-fee 7,333-yard golf course at a place with the feel of an exclusive resort.

Designed by the Austin-based team of Roy Bechtol and Randy Russell, the course at the ConCan Country Club is nestled in a valley formed by the Frio River. Hills with elevations of up to 1,500 feet surround the venue and are a constant presence, adding to a feeling of isolation in a place where the deer, the rabbit and the armadillos far outnumber the human population. This setting, with a Hill Country backdrop to every green, makes ConCan a unique stay-and-play option.

"The area is just beautiful, and I enjoy the scenic drive to the facility which helps you wind down from the bustle of the big city," said John Junker, ConCan's director of golf operations. "Once you get there, the views are spectacular and the new golf facility is amazing. The course bestows that traditional feel and experience. Roy and Randy really did a great job instilling this in their design. With this course, they created a track that fits today's players and blends traditional and historical style design."

The golf course has been a lifelong dream for owners Kenneth and Barbara Arthur. But the issue of water always posed problems in making that vision a reality. A few years ago, the Arthurs, who own a huge part of the Frio River valley, donated a small piece of property to ConCan Water Supply to drill a well. When the well turned out to be successful, the wheels were set in motion to produce a resort-style course.

Harper Ray, ConCan's head golf professional, said the course fits the canyon and already feels like it has been there for years. "The ideas Roy and Randy brought to the table seemed unimaginable at the time, but now are reality," Ray said. "The course is nearly perfect as far as I am concerned and once it is completely grown in it will be even better. The track suits golfers of all realms because it can be stretched out and you can make it as challenging as you want."

The Arthurs' desires were put to paper by Bechtol and Russell who, jointly, individually and in conjunction with PGA Tour professional Tom Kite, have been involved in the design of more than 50 golf courses across the United States. Bechtol - a specialist in fashioning courses that take advantage of a property's natural surroundings - has built a track that brings to use every club in the bag.

Bechtol routed the course in an inside-out fashion reminiscent of an old-school design, using the sequencing of the holes with nature to enhance the site's natural setting. The resulting mix assures players leave ConCan with a good feeling. "I am extremely proud of the course we were able to bring to life in ConCan," Bechtol said. "The natural environment was just crying out to be turned into a top-notch golf course, and once you get down there, you are just transported to a place where you can golf in virtual solitude on a track that demands your attention and concentration. When we first walked the site, we found a valley with gently rolling appearance in an all-world, Hill Country setting. As the routing evolved, we were able to find subtle natural features that we could expand on and enhance."

Junker, a Class A Member of the PGA of America who has keyed successes at Lake Arrowhead Golf Club in Wisconsin, the Flying L Guest Ranch in Bandera, Texas, and the Woodlake and Lake Houston Golf Clubs, says ConCan is "the best golf course I have been associated with thus far. Every hole is memorable in itself. After playing it one time, I am able to vividly remember the layout and spectacular views. This facility is an unbelievable challenge, yet it is an extremely fair test of golf for all levels of play."

Among the most memorable holes at ConCan are its final four. The 15th, a 356-yard par-4, can be attacked on the drive or played conservatively and sets the table for No. 16, a short (519 yard) par-5. You go to the tee on the 16th thinking four or even better, but a wayward shot can leave you with a high score and shaking your head about what could have been. The 17th - a 202-yard par-3 - draws on all your skills to bring home par and is followed by the par-5 18th, which (playing uphill at 553 yards to a green that runs left to right and downhill) can result in feast or famine.

Add to those four holes the 450-yard, par-4 second; the 212-yard par-3 fifth, the 507-yard (!) par-4 eighth and the 620-yard, par-5 13th, and you know you have been on a course that asks for your best game. "I still canít believe I can drive three-fourths of a mile and be on the driving range at ConCan Country Club," Ray said. "I think this is a must-see course for everyone. So far the positive and complimentary feedback on this facility has been incredible. It is such a unique experience. The synergy of nature and the game of golf come together here, like no other place I have been."

Vistas of the Hill Country are found on every fairway and Zoysia grass under foot will make the course at ConCan Country Club one you will want to play again and again. "We were able to accentuate the natural features of the siteís environment and create a very special place," Bechtol said. "The trained eye will see that we aimed shot lines at surrounding features to expand the visual golf experience and make you feel on every hole that you are in your own little golf world."

From the golf course, to the House Pasture Restaurant just up the road, to the Spa at Mountain Valley (located in the wood-lined clubhouse at ConCan Country Club), to the cabins on the Frio River and the rental homes and lodges (some with private swimming pools and hot tubs) within walking distance to the course, the experience at ConCan is one to remember.

For more details about ConCan Country Club, visit