Golf on three budgets San Antonio
Brackenridge Park is Texas' first 18-hole municipal golf course
If you're planning a San Antonio golf vacation, the good news is that not only are there plenty of good courses from which to choose, but an option for every budget.
In terms of variety, scenery and price, San Antonio might have the best public golf scene in the state of Texas. From the new high-end JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa to the recently renovated and affordable Brackenridge Park, there's a golf course for every taste and every budget.
Fall and spring are probably the best times of year to plan a San Antonio golf trip, but winter can be pretty good, too. The area has a mild winter climate, where days in the 70s and 80s are not uncommon, and like Arizona golf, most golf courses in San Antonio are overseeded, which means you'll enjoy terrific conditions.
Here, then, is a guide for enjoying San Antonio golf on three different budgets – premium ($100 or more rack rate), medium (generally $50-$100), or bargain ($50 or below).
High-end public golf in San Antonio
Perhaps the biggest news in the last year or two has been the addition of the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort and two golf courses of the TPC San Antonio. In order to play here, you have to be a member or a resort guest, and the packages generally do run on the premium side. However both courses – the Greg Norman/Sergio Garcia designed AT&T Oaks Course, and the Pete Dye/Bruce Lietzke-created AT&T Canyons Course host PGA Tour (Valero Texas Open) and Champions Tour (AT&T) events respectively. And that means you're getting to play where the pros play, which is always fun.
Norman's course has scores of tough bunkers, strategically difficult fairways and undulating greens designed to test the best players in the world, while Dye's work (which is mild by his standards) has more elevated tees, views of the Hill Country and blind shots.
The Westin La Cantera, former site of the PGA Tour Valero Texas Open isn't too shabby either, and it's better than ever. The resort recently underwent a multi-million dollar improvement project and has on the best views of the city. You don't have to be a guest to play either the Tom Weiskop/Jay Morrish-designed Resort Course, which hosted the PGA Tour for more than a decade, or the Arnold Palmer Course. Both have spectacular elevation changes and great Hill Country views. The bonus on the Resort Course is that it bumps up next to the Six Flags Fiesta Texas Theme Park.
And finally, the Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort near SeaWorld offers 27 shotmaker's holes designed by Arthur Hills. This understated, elegant Western resort has a true Hill Country Feel, great dining and excellent golf with plenty of wildlife, local flora and hole variety. The trick to playing the course successfully is to think your way through it, as is the case for most Hills courses.
Mid-priced golf courses in San Antonio
Just below the resort experience is probably one of the most talked about golf courses in the state, The Quarry. Opened in 1993, the Quarry Golf Club is a splendid Keith Foster design that combines a linksy sort of nine with a nine that's carved out of an old stone quarry, making for some interesting caroms on wayward tee shots. The course has a real resort feel and even offers forecaddies.
You don't often include municipals in this category, but Brackenridge Park Golf Course, an A.W. Tillinghast design and one of the oldest golf courses in Texas, fits the mold after a recent renovation. Great conditions and old school architecture make this a must-play for any mid-level-budget visitor. Plus, it's the new home of the Texas Golf Hall of Fame and just minutes from downtown and the famed River Walk.
Visiting golfers will also enjoy the Golf Club of Texas at Briggs Ranch, a 7,000-yard Lee Trevino design that's different from most anything else around the city, with lakes, streams, mounding, a few pot bunkers and undulating greens.
Other good mid-level options include The Republic Golf Club and Canyon Springs Golf Club. The Republic was designed by former Keith Foster associate Art Schaupeter and has become a perennial favorite among locals with its great conditions, challenging greens and mature trees. Canyon Springs was built on an historic ranch and quarry, has a man-made waterfall behind one green, and was once planned as a TPC course. The result is a challenging and beautiful design.
San Antonio golf bargains
If you're looking for bargain golf in San Antonio, a good place to start is the Alamo City Golf Trail. Although the Trail is headed up by the mid-level priced Brackenridge Park, the rest on the list can be played for less, including Cedar Creek, a Finger/Dye/Spann design on the northwest side of town.
There are four other courses on the Trail, including Olmos Basin and Mission Del Lago golf courses, both of which are enjoyable for the money.
If you're looking for more tournament history, Pecan Valley Golf Club is an excellent choice. Site of 1968 PGA Championship won by Julius Boros, the 7,010-yard, par-71 Press Maxwell-designed course underwent a $5.5 million renovation in 1998 to bring back much of its former glory. Pecan Valley also hosted the 2001 U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship.
And finally, an excellent daily-fee course that's almost always in good condition but very economical to play is Silverhorn Golf Club. Operated by Palmer Golf Management, Silverhorn is a Randy Heckenkemper design that opened in 1996. Heckenkemper also crafted Silverhorn Golf Club in Oklahoma City five years earlier, but he worked with PGA Tour pros Willie Wood and Scott Verplank on the San Antonio version to build a course that would not only test really good players, but also be enjoyable to the average player.
Spieth stalls on Moving Day at Australian Open
Moving Day? Not so much for Jordan Spieth in Round 3 of the Emirates Australian Open.
Spieth, the defending champion and also a winner in 2014, continued to struggle with his putter, shooting 1-under 70 on Saturday at the Australian Golf Club in Sydney.
“I was leaving them short yesterday and today it was kind of misreading, over-reading. I missed a lot of putts on the high side – playing wind or more break,” he said. “I just really haven’t found a nice marriage between line and speed to get the ball rolling.”
The world No. 2 started the day eight off the pace and was unable to make a charge. He had three birdies and two bogeys, including a 4 at the par-5 finishing hole.
Spieth praised his ball-striking in the wind-swept conditions, but lamented his putting, which has hampered him throughout the week.
“Ball-striking’s been fantastic. Just gotta get the putts to go,” he said.
Spieth, who is scheduled to compete in next week’s Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas, is still holding out hope for a third title in four years at this event. He fired a brilliant 63 in very windy conditions to prevail in ’14.
“Tomorrow is forecasted as even windier than today so you can still make up a lot of ground,” he said. “A few years ago I shot a final round that was a nice comeback and anything like that tomorrow can still even be enough to possibly get the job done.”
South Korean LPGA stars lead KLPGA team
South Korea’s LPGA team of all-stars took the early lead Friday on the Korean LPGA Tour in a team event featuring twice as much star power as this year’s Solheim Cup did.
Eight of the world’s top 20 players are teeing it up in the ING Life Champions Trophy/ Inbee Park Invitational in Gyeongju. There were only four players among the top 20 in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings when the United States defeated Europe in Des Moines, Iowa.
Park led the LPGA team to a 3 ½-to-2 ½ lead on the first day.
Park, who has been recuperating from a back injury for most of the second half of this season, teamed with Jeongeun Lee5 to defeat Hye Jin Choi and Ji Hyun Kim, 5 and 4, in the lead-off four-ball match.
So Yeon Ryu and Park, former world No. 1s and LPGA Rolex Player of the Year Award winners, will be the marquee pairing on Saturday. They will lead off foursomes against Ji Young Kim and Min Sun Kim.
Nine of the 11 South Koreans who won LPGA events this year are competing. Sung Hyun Park and I.K. Kim are the only two who aren’t.
The fourball results:
LPGA’s Inbee Park/ Jeongeun Lee5 def. Hye Jin Choi/Ji Hyun Kim, 5 and 4.
LPGA’s Mirim Lee/Amy Yang def. Ji Hyun Oh/Min Sun Kim, 3 and 1.
LPGA’s M.J. Hur/Mi Hyang Lee halved Ji Hyun Kim/Ji Young Kim.
KLPGA’s Ha Na Jang/Sun Woo Bae def. Sei Young Kim/Hyo Joo Kim, 5 and 4.
LPGA’s Na Yeon Choi/Jenny Shin halved Jin Young Ko/Da Yeon Lee
LPGA’s In Gee Chun/Eun Hee Ji halved Jeongeun Lee6/Char Young Kim.
NOTE: The KPGA uses numerals after a player’s name to distinguish players with the exact same name.
Cut Line: Lyle faces third bout with cancer
In this week’s holiday edition, Cut Line is thankful for the PGA Tour’s continued progress on many fronts and the anticipation that only a Tiger Woods return can generate.
The Fighter. That was the headline of a story Cut Line wrote about Jarrod Lyle following his second bout with cancer a few years ago, so it’s both sad and surreal to see the affable Australian now bracing for a third fight with leukemia.
Lyle is working as an analyst for Channel 7’s coverage of this week’s Emirates Australian Open prior to undergoing another stem cell transplant in December.
“I’ve got a big month coming,” Lyle said. “I’m back into hospital for some really heavy-duty treatment that’s really going to determine how things pan out for me.”
Twice before things have panned out for Lyle. Let’s hope karma has one more fight remaining.
Changing times. Last season the PGA Tour introduced a policy to add to the strength of fields, a measure that had long eluded officials and by most accounts was a success.
This season the circuit has chosen to tackle another long-standing thorn, ridiculously long pro-am rounds. While there seems little the Tour can do to speed up play during pro-am rounds, a new plan called a 9&9 format will at least liven things up for everyone involved.
Essentially, a tournament hosting a pro-am with four amateurs can request the new format, where one professional plays the first nine holes and is replaced by another pro for the second nine.
Professionals will have the option to request 18-hole pro-am rounds, giving players who limit practice rounds to just pro-am days a chance to prepare, but otherwise it allows Tour types to shorten what is an admittedly long day while the amateurs get a chance to meet and play with two pros.
The new measure does nothing about pace of play, but it does freshen up a format that at times can seem tired, and that’s progress.
Tweet of the week: @Love3d (Davis Love III) “Thanks to Dr. Flanagan (Andrews Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Center) for the new hip and great care! Can’t wait to get back to (the PGA Tour).”
Love offered the particularly graphic tweet following hip replacement surgery on Tuesday, a procedure that he admitted he’d delayed because he was “chicken.”
The surgery went well and Love is on pace to return to the Tour sometime next spring. As for the possibility of over-sharing on social media, we’ll leave that to the crowd.
Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)
Distance control. The Wall Street Journal provided the octagon for the opening blows of a clash that has been looming for a long time.
First, USGA executive director Mike Davis told The Journal that the answer to continued distance gains may be a restricted-flight golf ball with an a la carte rule that would allow different organizations, from the Tour all the way down to private clubs, deciding which ball to use.
“You can’t say you don’t care about distance, because guess what? These courses are expanding and are predicted to continue to expand,” Davis said. “The impact it has had has been horrible.”
A day later, Wally Uihlein, CEO of Acushnet, which includes the Titleist brand, fired back in a letter to The Journal, questioning among other things how distance gains are putting a financial burden on courses.
“The only people that seem to be grappling with advances in technology and physical fitness are the short-sighted golf course developers and the supporting golf course architectural community who built too many golf courses where the notion of a 'championship golf course' was brought on line primarily to sell real estate,” Uihlein wrote.
For anyone paying attention the last few years, this day was inevitable and the likely start of what will be a drawn out and heated process, but Cut Line’s just not sure anyone wins when it’s over.
Tiger, take II. Tiger Woods’ return to competition next week at the Hero World Challenge was always going to generate plenty of speculation, but that hyperbole reached entirely new levels this week as players began giving personal accounts of the new and improved 14-time major champion.
“I did talk to him, and he did say it's the best he's ever felt in three years,’” Day said as he prepared for the Australian Open. “If he's hitting it long and straight, then that's going to be tough for us because it is Tiger Woods. He's always been a clutch putter and in amongst the best and it will be interesting to see.”
Rickie Fowler added to the frenzy when he was asked this month if the rumors that Woods is driving the ball by him, by 20 to 30 yards by some reports, are true?
“Oh, yeah,” he told Golf.com. “Way by.”
Add to all this a recent line that surfaced in Las Vegas that Woods is now listed at 20-1 to win a major in 2018, and it seems now may be a good time for a restraint.
Golf is better with Woods, always has been and always will be, but it may be best to allow Tiger time to find out where his body and game are before we declare him back.
Searching for answers. Twelve months ago, Hideki Matsuyama was virtually unstoppable and, regardless of what the Official World Golf Ranking said, arguably the best player on the planet.
Now a year removed from that lofty position, which featured the Japanese star finishing either first or second in six of his seven starts as the New Year came and went, Matsuyama has faded back to fifth in the world and on Sunday finished fifth, some 10 strokes behind winner Brooks Koepka, at the Dunlop Phoenix.
“That hurt,” Matsuyama told the Japan Times. “I don’t know whether it’s a lack of practice or whether I lack the strength to keep playing well. It seems there are many issues to address.”
Since his last victory at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, Matsuyama has just two top-10 finishes on Tour and he ended his 2016-17 season with a particularly poor performance at the Presidents Cup.
While Matsuyama’s take seems extreme considering his season, there are certainly answers that need answering.
Video, images from Tiger, DJ's round with Trump
Updated at 9:50 p.m. ET
Images and footage from Tiger Woods and Dustin Johnson's round Friday at Trump National in Jupiter, Fla., alongside President Donald Trump:
Trump Jupiter Tiger, Johnson, Faxon,Trumps staff &team treats everyone the best, members and media guests alike, FACT pic.twitter.com/TB61q7Qe3y— Dr. Eric Kaplan (@drekaplan) November 24, 2017
Tiger Woods is scheduled to make his return to competition next week at his Hero World Challenge. But first, a (quick) round with the President.
President Donald Trump tweeted on Friday that he was going to play at Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter, Fla., alongside Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.
After Turkey call I will be heading over to Trump National Golf Club, Jupiter, to play golf (quickly) with Tiger Woods and Dustin Johnson. Then back to Mar-a-Lago for talks on bringing even more jobs and companies back to the USA!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 24, 2017
Woods and President Trump previously played last December. Trump, who, according to trumpgolfcount.com has played 75 rounds since taking over the presidency, has also played over the last year with Rory McIlroy, Ernie Els and Hideki Matsuyama.