LAJITAS Located on the banks of the Rio Grande, the unincorporated community of Lajitas might look like a mirage to some road-weary travelers who have been driving for hours on 170 throughout Big Bend National Park.
However, this oasis is very much real and continues to attract visitors with its myriad of activities.
From golfing on one of the most of popular courses in the state to shooting clays and enjoying the sunrise and sunset while horseback riding, Lajitas Golf Resort remains one of the top vacation destinations in Texas.
Thanks to its location at Big Bend National Park and away from the hustle and bustle of the big cities, visitors make their way to the 27,000-acre resort, which is located about 237 miles from Odessa.
The course, which is named Black Jack’s Crossing, has been ranked the number one resort course in Texas by Texas Outside and the Best Golf Course You Can Play in Texas by the Dallas Morning News.
“Big Bend brings a lot of people over here,” Lajitas Golf Resort General Manager John Price said. “When people are looking to play golf and to get away from the city, Black Jack’s Crossing, has been ranked up there in a lot of magazines as well.”
Black Jack’s Crossing was designed by golf superstar Lenny Wadkins, who was the winner of the 1977 PGA Championship and eight-time member of the US Ryder Cup team and World Golf Hall of Fame inductee.
The resort brings in many people to its golf course on any given week as people from as far away as Houston and Dallas will take a private charter plane into Lajitas International Airport, which is privately owned for the use of the resort’s guests and property owners.
“We have a charter jet that leaves Dallas and Houston and brings approximately 30 people to the resort a couple of times a week,” Price said. “That’s a big market for us as well.”
Named after U.S. Army General “Black Jack” Pershing, the golf course combines the historical features of the land with the stunning setting of Big Bend National Park.
For Price, the accolades that the golf course has received mean a lot.
“This golf course deserves it,” Price said. “It’s in great shape. The scenery, you can’t put it in words. You can’t even put pictures to it. When you go out there and drive, you’re in awe.”
Built around 2012, Price said the layout, design and the scenic mountains has made the course one that’s on the top of golfers’ bucket lists.
“You’re in the mountains so you’re teeing off at an elevation, hitting down to every hole. It’s designed to never flood, should a flood ever come,” Price said. “The greens are pretty tricky. The tee shots are pretty tight. The golf course plays pretty firm and fast which is what we want it to do. People want to play there and they want to play it again. This one, they’ll play over and over.”
But there’s more than just golfing at the Lajitas Golf Resort.
For those who aren’t afraid of heights, visitors can experience the resort’s new zip-line tour in Quiet Canyon.
There are three different tours. Each tour includes different zip lines with distances ranging from 385 to 523 feet and speeds of up to 30-50 mph.
“We built that when I first got here in 2015,” Price said. “It took us awhile to get it built. We’re working off the mountain. We don’t have anything where you have to climb up high platforms. We just use the elevation of the mountain. You start at the top and keep coming down. Our platforms are pretty small. It’s a challenging zip line. It’s probably faster than normal.”
Shooting activities are another thing that ranks high on visitors’ list of things to-do at the resort.
One of those activities includes five standing sporting clay shoots where one round consists of 25 shots.
There’s also the Cowboy Action Shoot where people can shoot like a real cowboy, with a course that includes a walk-through town, shooting a single-action pistol, a side-by-side shotgun and a lever-action rifle.
“All of those appeal to different age groups. The majority of the shoots are the cowboy action shoots during spring break,” Price said.
One of the busiest times of the year for the resort are the months of March, April, May and June. Though, Price added that the resort was closed for a short time last year after the pandemic started.
“September, October and November are busy as well,” Price said. “With the pandemic, once we reopened back in June last year, we’ve been busy from June until now. Our occupancy has exceeded everything.”
With the resort reopening back up last year, business has once again returned to booming for the resort.
“It keeps growing and growing,” Price said. “People want to get out and it’s away from the big cities. There’s a lot of fresh air. The park always draws people in. it’s one of those places where people want to go.”
If you go
- Where: Lajitas Golf Resort, 237 miles south of Odessa.
- Fees: Ranges from $250-$400.
- Who to call: 432-424-5000.