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TravelGolf.com On Campus: In Austin, Texas, on football Saturday, everything but the golf's weird

By Chris Baldwin, Contributor

Each week this season, TravelGolf.com is highlighting a key college football matchup and looking at the golf around the home team's campus. This Saturday, the top-ranked Texas Longhorns host the University of Missouri. Here's a look at the golf courses in Austin, including Barton Creek Resort, Falconhead and the University of Texas Golf Club.

Texas Longhorn Fans
If you're not wearing burnt orange or flashing the horn signs, you're not fitting in at Texas.
Texas Longhorn FansFalconhead Golf ClubMatthew McConaugheyTexas Football Stadium

AUSTIN, Texas - If you're looking for a town where Vince Young isn't thought of as the wacked out quarterback who refused to re-enter a game and forced his coaches to call the police because they were worried that he might commit suicide, you've found it.

Austin is not just the self-dubbed "Live Music Capital of the World," it's also where Texas Longhorns are forever remembered for what they did for UT. So, anyone who mentions Young in these parts best bring up his amazing, one-man, national-championship-winning Rose Bowl show vs. USC rather than his current troubles with the Tennessee Titans.

Rule No. 1 in Austin: Thou Shall Not Dis' Vince.

"There's Texas football and then there's life," People magazine's favorite actor, Matthew McConaughey, once told me at a celebrity golf tournament. "And I don't know what life's worth without Texas football."

Yes, McConaughey, arguably the most annoying "movie star" in history with his goofy pretty boy expressions and penchant for going shirtless in horrible flicks, went to the University of Texas. In fact, McConaughey is essentially the Ashley Judd cheerleader of Texas football, appearing on the sidelines making that silly horn hand sign almost as often as Judd can be found dressed like a 12-year-old jumping up and down at Kentucky hoops games.

McConaughey's even narrated a Baby Longhorns DVD that's geared to ... yes, you guessed it, introduce your baby to all things Texas football.

That's probably reason enough alone to root for visiting Missouri in this Saturday's showdown in Austin. It's hard to dislike Missouri football. Especially considering no one even knew the school had a football team until quarterback Chase Daniel showed up to help that coach from Toledo.

Though, if the 11th-ranked Tigers do lose, Mizzou alum Sheryl Crow could sing some whiny ballad about the Longhorns like she does ex-boyfriend Lance Armstrong, who calls Austin home.

Speaking of amateur musical acts, you'll want to get to Texas Memorial Stadium early to hear the UT marching band belt out "Eyes of Texas" with the aid of a giant drum (one of the world's largest bass drums) that possesses a moniker any golfer can appreciate (the drum's known as Big Bertha). A stadium that holds 94,113 burnt orange-clad souls can sway in these moments.

Then again, that might be just due to all the beer consumed in the tailgate tent lines that lead to the stadium with the Camden Yards-like brick facade.

Since it's mid October, it only figures to be 95 degrees with 108 percent humidity, too. Or, as George W. Bush - he's a big Texas guy too, if you hadn't heard - would call it: Perfect speed golf weather.

Not that the grungy T-shirts crowd that lounges around Austin's hip downtown squares (think Cal Berkley's year 2000 hippies only transplanted into the heart of Texas) know anything about the game. These folks are why you can buy "Keep Austin Weird" T-shirts - in burnt orange, of course.

"Austin's a cool city," Houston resident Calvin Yang said. "The only problem is that people who live here think it's cooler than New York and Los Angeles put together. They'll keep telling you how cool it is."

Austin's Hook Em Golf

Austin's golf courses are a decidedly more humble bunch. They don't make average golfers feel out of place. Even if the only two Texas golf courses that made Golf Magazine's list of the "Top 100 Courses You Can Play" are located on the outskirts of the city.

You don't want to miss the game to play Barton Creek Resort & Spa's Fazio Canyons (rated No. 67) and Fazio Foothills (rated 71). This is a good game, after all. But you could easily lose yourself in Barton Creek's 4,000 acres in the Texas foothills - the Fazio courses are just two of the four courses that run through this land with Crenshaw Cliffside and Palmer Lakeside (though Palmer's is 25 minutes from the actual resort) completing the ensemble.

Remember that Austin co-eds (some who do wear cowboy boots) are legendary, and you'll probably find a way to mosey over to the stadium or at least Sixth Street and its array of well-known music clubs.

"Dallas has gorgeous women who all think they are going to marry an oil big shot or a Dallas Cowboy," Yang said. "Austin has beautiful women who will actually talk to you."

With that in mind, you'll probably want to save some money for your drinks tab. Luckily, one of the best golf courses in Austin, Falconhead Golf Club, is running a $49 weekends after 12 p.m. special this month. Falconhead's part of the PGA Tour Design architects series, which means it's even more surprising it's not trying to gouge you for the name-brand status.

If you have any real Longhorn sway, though, you'll be teeing it up at the University of Texas Golf Club. This is where Texas football coach Mack Brown plays (don't laugh, that's a big part of the club's advertising campaign, this is Texas). And it's completely private, even though it's the official golf course of the Longhorns' men and women's golf teams.

Donations to help secure another All-American running back will likely surely be accepted, though.

Partying in Austin, Longhorns style

If you can't find the party in Austin, you must be more strait laced than a Mormon who's spent the last 10 years on a mission in remote Chinese countryside. Head downtown to Sixth Street and wander, or take a quick walk to Congress Avenue, and you'll stumble upon bar after bar after bar.

For nourishment in-between, duck into El Arroyo - if you can find any space to move. This renowned Tex-Mex joint serves up heaping platefuls of food for well under $10 and is one of the places to be postgame. El Arroyo also calls itself the "Cultural Center of the Universe."

Hey, no one said they made them humble in Texas.

Stubb's Barbecue will give you your 'cue and live music. Bob Dylan's played here. And, no, they can't understand what he's saying in Texas either. Besides the fact that he probably swore allegiance to Texas football. Life just goes easier that way here.

Chris BaldwinChris Baldwin, Contributor

Chris Baldwin keeps one eye on the PGA Tour and another watching golf vacation hotspots and letting travelers in on the best place to vacation.

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