Palmilla Beach Golf, Where Fewer Holes Mean More Balls

Red McCombs has been a well-respected fixture in the world of Texas business for more than 61 years. 2017 was one of the most devastating he’s seen. True to form, McCombs stepped up when Texas needed him.

Published June 12, 2019

McCombs is the founder of San Antonio-based McCombs Enterprises, co-founder of Clear Channel Communications and developer of high-profile residential and commercial properties across the United States. At age 91, this former San Antonio Spurs owner shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

“At 91½ I might pass on trying the new golf boards, but I’m not slowing down. Heck, we are just getting started at Palmilla Beach. We have big plans to further improve golf and combine it with dining and entertainment offerings,” says Red McCombs. Photo courtesy Palmilla Beach Resort and Golf Community

When Hurricane Harvey’s 140 mph winds tore through Texas in 2017, one of McComb’s properties, the Palmilla Beach Resort and Golf Community, which sits along the Gulf Coast of Port Aransas, was pummeled. McCombs and his team stepped into action putting an extensive amount of time, money and energy into revamping and rebuilding the golf course.

“The damage gave us a great opportunity – not just to rebuild the golf course, but to reinvent it to be much better, especially for vacationing families.” said McCombs.    

As any enthusiast knows, golf isn’t a cheap sport nor is it exactly conducive to family-member participation. Golf is known for being time-consuming with its traditional rounds of 18-holes often taking more than four or five hours to complete. Today’s time-strapped, working families and individuals value their precious time, which has caused a shift to courses with only nine holes.

Palmilla Beach features the only golf holes in Texas lying directly on the coast, offering a true links experience in the Scottish/Irish tradition. Photo courtesy Palmilla Beach Resort and Golf Community

With this newest trend in mind, McCombs Properties decided to redesign Palmilla Beach Golf and transform it into a more diverse, national tourism destination for avid, new, novice and non-golfers. Their mission was to make the course a sustainable amenity with wider appeal including more family-friendly activities that would appeal to a new generation of golfers of all ages and skill levels.

The property’s newest signature feature is its Scottish/Irish traditional links course which is the oldest style in golf courses. The course meanders along the windswept Mustang Island dunes with the only golf holes in Texas that lie directly on the coast.  

The new playground at Palmilla Beach includes themed attractions for children, a multitude of family-oriented games and an 18-hole golf course featuring authentic, all-grass putting with grass greens, bunkers, dunes, music and access to food and beverages.

Palmilla Beach Golf Course
The newly added LOOP is a 3-hole short course playing 85-100 yards, designed for those just starting out as well as experts looking to sharpen their short game. Photo courtesy Palmilla Beach Resort and Golf Community 

The events lawn, which is integrated into the golf course, is a flexible area serving as a venue for concerts, games and competitions with access to music, food and beverages. Palmilla Beach Golf is bringing the best of both worlds together for a fun and family-friendly experience for vacationers, yet providing challenges for serious golfers.

As Red McCombs’ grandson, Joe Shields said, “The new course is a terrific activity for friends, families and novice golfers, yet still challenging from the tips for serious golfers. It’s designed to be fun for everyone and we are excited to bring these positive changes to the great game of golf.”

Palmilla Beach Resort
Over the past 10 years, the sport of golf has seen a decrease in participation nationwide with golf course closings far outpacing openings. Photo courtesy Palmilla Beach Resort and Golf Community

So, when your significant other complains that you spend too much time playing golf, take the whole family with you on an excursion to Palmilla Beach Resort where everyone will find something to tickle their fancy.

Palmilla Beach Golf celebrated their grand opening on June 1 and is open to the public year-round.


Cover courtesy Palmilla Beach Resort and Golf Community

Austinite Lisa Davis is the Editorial Assistant for Texas Lifestyle Magazine and honors graduate from Concordia University Texas with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication and Public Relations.

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