By James McAfee

Country western singer and songwriter Mac Davis once sang “I thought happiness was Lubbock in my rearview mirror.” After a recent visit, I discovered this certainly isn’t the case anymore. Happiness is returning to Lubbock. There’s plenty to do now. Despite spending more than 70 years living in Texas, I had never before thought of the Hub City as a vacation destination, especially one where golf might be a reason for the visit.

With one of the best public courses in Texas, The Rawls Course is a must-play where you get a “bang for your buck” with green fees less than $100 for weekend getaways.

The idea of Texas Tech alumni Jerry Rawls was carved out of a cotton farm more than 20 years ago to test the skills of the country’s best college golfers but also to provide another place for others in the college and the community to enjoy.

Rawls was able to reach out to renowned golf course architect Tom Doak, fresh off his Oregon masterpiece at Bandon Dunes, allowing him and his staff to rely on their imagination to move 1.3 million cubic yards of topsoil to create a challenging parkland course, with 30 feet of elevation changes. It’s defined by wide fairways with plenty of contours and uneven lies; bordered on the sides by wispy grasses where finding a ball is difficult; large undulating greens (average of 8,000 square feet) where three-putts are common; and 97 craggy and deep bunkers of all sizes. There are not many trees either. The only water hazard is to the right of No. 10 and to the right of No. 18. Many locals say the design mimics the eroded features of the South Plains Caprock region, providing an appealing rustic look. I agree!

The course, managed by Troon Golf for the past 14 years, has been rated as the No. 2 best public course in the state and the No. 3 best campus course by Golfweek Magazine. It has hosted several Big XII Conference events, including the Big XII Women’s Championship, the National Junior College Championship, several American Junior Golf Association events, and qualifying for the U.S. Open and the U.S.Amateur. More