Which TPC duo is best of the west

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In this edition of Punch Shots, travel editor Erik Peterson and TravelGolf.com senior writer Mike Bailey debate which western TPC duo is best: Texas or the desert?


By ERIK PETERSON

With the TPC Four Seasons Resort in Dallas-Fort Worth and the recently opened TPC San Antonio, the Lone Star State joins Florida as the only states with at least two public-access TPCs. And with each Texas TPC offering its own distinct style, travelers have a solid one-two punch of PGA Tour-caliber golf.

Set in north San Antonio amidst the dramatic backdrop of Texas hill country, TPC San Antonio is a 21st-century golf arena built to host a PGA Tour event. With two brawny 18-hole championship courses – Oaks and Canyons – it definitely lives up to the classic mantra, 'Everything’s bigger in Texas.' In fact, at 7,400-plus yards from the tips, no other TPC is longer than the Oaks Course. Beyond the golf, you'll appreciate TPC San Antonio’s 1,000-room J.W. Marriott, six-acre water park, and seven restaurants.

About 250 miles north on I-35 is TPC Four Seasons Resort in Irving. Though they share the TPC name, that’s about where the similarities end.

In contrast to San Antonio, TPC Four Seasons Resort is shorter – though a 2007 redesign by D.A. Weibring lengthened five holes and produced two 500-yard par 4s. The views here aren’t as scenic as San Antonio, but shot values are better, as evidenced by such prolific ballstrikers Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Sergio Garcia and Ernie Els etching their names on the Byron Nelson Championship trophy.

The adjoining Four Seasons Resort needs no introduction other than to say it recently underwent a $60-million upgrade. The resort is frequented by more than a few of Dallas’ pro athletes – including Tony Romo – who see it as a safe escape that’s close to home.

Each of Texas’ TPCs is a great golf experience, whether you’re into the scenery of San Antonio or the history and tradition at Las Colinas.

By MIKE BAILEY

When it comes to golf, if your definition of best is fun, then you can't beat the two desert TPC golf courses – the Stadium Course at TPC Scottsdale and TPC Las Vegas.

First off, any course with a hole where 50,000 fans boo more than they cheer and bet on which caddie makes it to the green first is all right in my book.

I'm talking, of course, about No. 16 at the Tom Weiskopf-designed Stadium Course in Scottsdale. The hole more closely resembles a baseball park than a par 3 during the PGA Tour's Waste Management Open, an appropriate moniker considering the state of many of the fans during the event. It's followed by a drivable par 4 that Andrew Magee once aced by caroming his tee shot off another player's putter on the green. (How cool is that?)

Plus, the rest of the golf course is a bomber's paradise with wide fairways, generous greens and flawless conditions in the fall, winter and spring (my kind of course).

The clubhouse is pretty magnificent as well, with photos and memorabilia of all the legends who’ve played it.

Then there's the TPC Las Vegas, and you could end the discussion with location alone. For most guys, nothing tops Sin City in terms of wicked fun, and this golf course falls in line with the theme. The course has awesome views of the glittering Strip below as well as Red Rock Canyon.

Designed by Bobby Weed with Raymond Floyd, TPC Las Vegas opened in 1996 and used to be the site of the Las Vegas Classic on the Champions Tour. Here you'll experience plenty of elevation change through desert canyons and arroyos. Keeping it on the 110 acres of irrigated turf is probably the best policy. Service is also first-rate, including the on-course beverage service.