David McLay-Kidd bringing minimalistic design strategy to Texas with Loraloma

A rendering of Loraloma's 8th hole.

A rendering of Loraloma's 8th hole.


Bandon Dunes designer David McLay-Kidd is well known for his minimalistic golf course design, working with the site he’s given rather than moving mountains of dirt to create something new.

As the designer of three of GOLF’s Top 100 Courses in the U.S. already, McLay-Kidd’s work has typically been on links-style sites, like the Oregon coast, along the Columbia River in Eastern Washington or the sand hills of Nebraska. The Scotsman was the first designer of a new course at St. Andrews in nearly 100 years when his Castle Course opened for play along the North Sea.

But McLay-Kidd had yet to put his name on a project in the southern U.S. Until now.

This month, Loraloma, a private Hill Country community within the 2,200-acre Thomas Ranch masterplan outside Austin, Texas, will break ground on McLay-Kidd’s first design in the southern U.S. The community, which is in the Lake Travis area, is being developed by Areté Collective.

The name “Loraloma” translates to “lore of the hills,” and both the course and community aim to focus on respecting the land’s natural beauty. That aligns with McLay-Kidd’s design philosophy of working with the natural land, rather than against it.

“The Loraloma landscape is vastly more visually inspiring than most of what exists in the Austin area today,” McLay-Kidd said. “Our goal is to open up this compelling landscape to golfers for a world-class experience, and I will tread very lightly to preserve and protect this land so that it can be enjoyed and embraced for generations to come.”

The 18-hole, par-72, 7,060-yard championship golf course is scheduled to be completed in late 2024 for select play with a full opening by spring 2025.

The proposed routing for Loraloma, outside Austin, Texas.
The proposed routing. Courtesy

The course is routed through the community with eight holes along the cliffside overlooking the Pedernales River. The greens will be Creeping Bentgrass, allowing the Zoysia fairways to showcase the native flora, including the iconic Texas bluebonnets and other wildflowers and native plants.

The community combines ecologically-inspired residences with premium amenities including fitness, wellness, culinary arts, equestrian and nature-based experiences.

“Loraloma’s environmentally conscious approach is something that really drew us to the partnership with Areté Collective, and an ideology we plan to replicate on the course we are creating for residents,” McLay-Kidd said. “Our company was built on the idea of incorporating active and passive recreation into our course designs. The principles that Loraloma and Areté Collective have harnessed, such as having a minimal number of homes on the course itself, will only enhance the type of game and social interaction we aim to offer.”

For more information, click here.

a map or laraloma golf
A look at the proposed golf campus. Courtesy

Jack Hirsh

Golf.com Editor

Jack Hirsh is an assistant editor at GOLF. A Pennsylvania native, Jack is a 2020 graduate of Penn State University, earning degrees in broadcast journalism and political science. He was captain of his high school golf team and recently returned to the program to serve as head coach. Jack also still *tries* to remain competitive in local amateurs. Before joining GOLF, Jack spent two years working at a TV station in Bend, Oregon, primarily as a Multimedia Journalist/reporter, but also producing, anchoring and even presenting the weather. He can be reached at jack.hirsh@golf.com.