The latest issue of Golf For Women magazine includes the publication's annual "Top 50 Courses for Women" rankings. There is only one Texas course on the list, and it's one that has appeared on every GFW list I've seen: The Resort Course at La Cantera in San Antonio. It's ranked at No. 40, and GFW says, "Built on an abandoned limestone quarry, this hilltop course offers great yardages and a variety of exciting holes (check out the 80-foot drop from the seventh tee to the fairway)."
A variety of exciting holes is, of course, an important factor in judging any golf course great. But what makes a golf course great for women? It used to be pretty simple: The fact that women were allowed to play, and could reserve any tee time they wanted, made a course a great course for women. Thankfully, the days in which women are restricted from courses or from the best tee times are mostly a thing of the past (alas, not completely).
So a welcoming atmosphere (including things such as a selection of women's clubs and apparel in the clubhouse pro shop) still matters.
More important, however, are those yardages. A golf course should offer tees that are appropriate for recreational women golfers, for whom distance is often the biggest challenge. And if not distance, then carry: Annika Sorenstam can bomb a drive way past most men golfers, but most recreational women golfers don't generate the clubhead speed necessary to deal with a lot of forced carries. Getting the ball up in the air is an issue for many higher-handicapped women.
So, two keys: Make sure a realistic distance for higher-handicapped women is available, and don't throw a bunch of forced carries out there off the tee or in front of the greens. Give those players (whether women or men) whose ball flight is shallow and includes a good deal of roll the chance to run shots up to the green.
And for goodness' sakes, get more than one set of tees rated for women. It's very frustrating for low-handicap women to tee off from the middle tees only to discover that the golf course has rated only the forward tees for women.