San Antonio Golf is All That

PGA Tour heads to Texas this week

Coloradoans love to tease our Texan neighbors. It’s probably because Lone Star folk take so much pleasure in bending ears about piddling stuff: father-son presidencies, NBA world championships, Ben Hogan, Byron Nelson, Willie Nelson.

Irritating contrivances if you ask me. That is, until the boastings swing toward San Antonio golf. As Colorado State alum Martin Laird prepares to defend his title in the Valero Texas Open at TPC San Antonio, you’ll be hearing a lot more about this honest-to-goodness slice of Texas heaven.

Here are four of the city’s more memorable must-plays:

Brackenridge Park Golf Course: “Old Brack” is a 1916-circa A.W. Tillinghast design that is steeped in iconic history. Jug McSpaden shot a practice-round 59 before the 1939 Texas Open was hosted here, and Mike Souchak had nearly a half-century of glory after setting his 72-hole PGA Tour record (257) here in 1955. Five years ago, the course was restored by architect John Cooligan, which brought back much of the layout’s unique luster—including Tillinghast’s original greens, tees, bunkers and fairways. It has been drawing well-deserved praise ever since.

Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort and Spa: This AAA Four-Diamond property is grounded in peerless amenities, including 27 holes of unbridled, Arthur Hills-designed golf. The upscale daily-fee venue treats all comers to generous fairways, open-avenue greensites, grassy hollows, wide swales and rock-line gulches sited on rambling fields of live oak, cedar and Spanish oak. Plus, the hotel recently completed a $13 million renovation to its 500 guest rooms and suites.

La Cantera Hill Country Resort: The Texas Open began in 1922 and is among the oldest tournaments on the PGA Tour. It now hangs its Stetson at the stylish La Cantera, a 508-room luxury retreat built upon an abandoned limestone rock quarry. Amenities include two wonderful golf courses, including the Tom Weiskopf/Jay Moorish-designed Resort Course and the Arnold Palmer crafted Palmer Course. Both are candy stores for courageous shotmakers and gamblers. Reserve some backbone for the Resort Course’s drivable fifth, an eight-story tee shot plunge that makes for compelling, mano-a-mano duels.

TPC San Antonio: Open to guests of the adjacent JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country, the 36-hole complex hosts this weekend’s Valero Texas Open on its 7,435-yard Greg Norman-designed AT&T Oaks Course and, in October, the Champions Tour’s AT&T Championship on its 7,106-yard Pete Dye-designed AT&T Canyons Course. Each challenge winds through the breathtaking wildflowers, oaks and cedars native to the Hill Country, with the gentler Dye layout—three words rarely used together—presenting panoramic views of the nearby Cibolo Canyons.

San Antonio really is worth crowing about. It’s a terrific vacation destination made for Coloradoans who know the difference between fizz and fizzle. Decide for yourself why few dare to opine “all hat, no cattle” about this remarkable golf Mecca. For a free travel guide call (800) 447-3372 or go online to


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Chris Duthie is a contributor to Colorado AvidGolfer, the state’s leading resource for golf and the lifestyle that surrounds it. It publishes eight issues annually and proudly delivers daily content via