From Tillinghast to Dye: San Antonio offers golf course designs of all styles

By Travel ArticlesJanuary 5, 2012, 11:47 pm

SAN ANTONIO -- While it's true that San Antonio golf has really exploded over the last decade, it's not without its classic architecture, even on public golf courses.

That combined with some of the more modern gems give the Alamo City a nice variety of looks for the visitors and locals alike. Here, then, are a few courses with plenty of design character.

A.W. Tillinghast: Brackenridge Park

Brackenridge Park Golf Course, the oldest public golf course in Texas, has truly become the gem of public golf in San Antonio.

This classic 1915 Tillinghast design was restored a few years ago to perfection, all the way down to the original rectangular greens and flat-bottom bunkers. The difference is that the course now sports Mini-Verde greens.

Located just minutes from downtown, Old Brack -- which also houses the Texas Golf Hall of Fame and played host to decades fo the Texas Open -- is a must-play for visitors.

Pete Dye: TPC San Antonio, AT&T Canyons

Now home of the Champions Tour's AT&T Classic, the only way to describe TPC San Antonio's AT&T Canyons Course might be as Pete Dye-light.

This course isn't easy, but it isn't brutally difficult either, especially compared to the AT&T Oaks Course, which is located on the other side of the J.W. Marriott Resort. The signature pot bunkers are there, no doubt, but perhaps Bruce Lietzke's influence as consulting architect softened old Pete up somewhat.

The fairways are rather generous, and the greens aren't too difficult. More than anything else, though, the course has plenty of cool shots, whether it's from an elevated tee or to an elevated green.

Arthur Hills: Hyatt Hill Country Resort

Arthur Hills' courses typically aren't easy, and the 27 holes of the Hyatt Hill Country Resort are no exception. What you will find is a great variety of holes. Or, even more accurately, a great variety between the nines.

Each of the nines -- the Lakes, the Creeks and the Oaks –- reflect the feel and terrain of their name. The key to playing this course is to think your way through.

Even from the tips, the longest combination is just more than 6,900 yards, so it's not real long, but there is plenty of trouble for the player who hits driver on every hole and isn't super accurate.

Press Maxwell: Pecan Valley Golf Club

Press Maxwell did a lot of work in Texas (and Colorado), but Pecan Valley Golf Club is perhaps his best known work.

Site of the 1968 PGA Championship won by Julius Boros, Pecan Valley is a 7,010-yard, par-71 parkland course along Salado Creek. It underwent a $5.5 million renovation by Bob Cupp in 1998 and has since hosted numerous qualifiers, local PGA events and the 2001 U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship.

Because of its history and reasonable green fees, it's still a favorite among locals and certainly worth a look by visitors.

Editor's Note: On January 3rd, Pecan Valley management announced the course would close on January 8th, 2012. 

Loeffler-McGlynn: Willow Springs Golf Course

Emil Loeffler and John McGlynn might not be household names, but the pair had a pretty good resume, especially in Pennsylvania. In 1921, the two of them designed Latrobe (Pa.) Country Club, where Arnold Palmer learned to play, and two years later, they did Willow Springs Golf Course in San Antonio.

Willow Springs is one of those courses that locals love and out-of-towners don't know much about, but visitors should check it out. It's in pretty good shape these days, has some elevation change and is very challenging, playing to more than 7,200 yards from the tips.

The course, which is located 10 minutes east of the River Walk, has been the site of several Texas Opens.

Keith Foster: The Quarry Golf Club

Foster has a lot of nice work in the area but none more unique than the Quarry Golf Course, which is located in the northwest part of town near the airport.

While the front nine is a conventional, open, almost links-style nine, the back nine was carved out of an old, abandoned rock quarry. The most interesting part of the experience is that every once in a while a wayward shot will hit a rock wall and kick back onto a green or fairway. It's not classic golf, but it sure is fun.

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Winning on Kerr's mind this week and beyond

By Randall MellMarch 24, 2018, 2:11 am

Cristie Kerr moved into position Friday to do more than win the 21st LPGA title of her career.

She moved into position to claim an LPGA Hall of Fame point this week.

Yes, winning is foremost on her mind at the Kia Classic, where she took the lead with an 8-under-par 64 in the second round, she’s on a larger quest, too.

After turning 40 last fall, Kerr was asked what her goals are.

“The Hall of Fame is attainable, if I stick with it,” she said.

Kerr is five shots ahead of Lizette Salas (67), In-Kyung Kim (69), Hee Young Park (70) and Caroline Hedwall (70).

It’s a good time for Kerr to get on a hot streak, with the year’s first major championship, the ANA Inspiration, next week. She has long been one of the best putters in the women’s game, but her ball-striking is impressive this week. She hit 17 greens in regulation Thursday, and she hit 16 on Friday.

“I like winning,” Kerr said. “I like challenging myself. Definitely doesn't get any easier as you get older, with the travel and recovery time. I got up this morning and I'm like, `Man, why does my hamstring hurt?’ From working around this hilly golf course.”

Kerr acknowledged Friday that her body is more vulnerable to time’s realities, but her mind isn’t.

Full-field scores from the Kia Classic

“The golf ball doesn't know an age,” Kerr said. “I've always said that. As long as I stay hungry, going to just keep playing.”

Kerr won two weeks after her 40th birthday last fall, boosting her LPGA Hall of Fame point total to 22. She is five points short of eligibility for induction. A player earns one point for an LPGA victory and two points for a major championship title. So there’s a lot of Hall of Fame ground to gain this week and next.

It’s a long-term goal that motivates Kerr to take care of her body.

“I don't think the golf changes,” Kerr said. “I think, physically, it gets harder as you get older. Like I said, I've got tape on my hamstring. I strained it, just a little bit yesterday, walking around this golf course. It's tough as you get older, just being fresh and rested. I put more focus into that as I've gotten older. I still practice, but off the course I try to get more rest.”

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Big names chasing Kerr into the weekend at Kia Classic

By Associated PressMarch 24, 2018, 1:55 am

CARLSBAD, Calif. - Cristie Kerr shot an 8-under 64 on Friday in the Kia Classic to take a five-stroke lead into the weekend.

The 40-year-old Kerr had eight birdies in her second straight bogey-free round to reach 13-under 131 at rain-softened Aviara.

''I like winning. I like challenging myself,'' Kerr said. ''Definitely doesn't get any easier as you get older with the travel and recovery time. I got up this morning and I'm like, 'Man, why does my hamstring hurt?' From working around this hilly golf course. The golf ball doesn't know an age. I've always said that. As long as I stay hungry, going to just keep playing.''

She has 20 LPGA victories, winning at Aviara in 2015. She won twice last year and helped the U.S. beat Europe in her ninth Solheim Cup appearance.

''It's tough as you get older just being fresh and rested,'' Kerr said. ''I put more focus into that as I've gotten older. I still practice, but off the course I try to get more rest.''

Lizette Salas, In-Kyung Kim, Hee Young Park and Caroline Hedwall were tied for second. Salas shot 67, Kim 69, and Park and Hedwall 70.

''I really like this golf course. I really like the environment,'' said Salas, the former University of Southern California player from Azusa. ''My family gets to come out. So much confidence at the beginning of the week, and definitely showed the first two days.

Jeong Eun Lee was 7 under after a 69, and defending ANA champion So Yeon Ryu had a 70 to get to 6 under.

Full-field scores from the Kia Classic

Ariya Jutanugarn (72), Brooke Henderson (70) and 2016 winner Lydia Ko (71) were 5 under. Shanshan Feng (68) was another stroke back, and Singapore winner Michelle Wie (72) was 1 under.

Lexi Thompson was 2 over after a 74, making the cut on the number in the final event before the major ANA Inspiration next week at Mission Hills.

Kerr opened with birdies on the par-5 10th and par-3 11th, added birdies on the par-4 16th, 18th and second, and ran off three in a row on the par-3 sixth, par-4 seventh and par-5 eighth.

''I don't think you can fall asleep on one shot,'' Kerr said. ''It's a really good golf course. I think I play better on courses that demand the focus, so I think that's why I've played well here in the past. ... I'm trying not to put limits on myself right now. I've got some good things going on with my swing.''

She has long been one best putters and green-readers in the world.

''I can see the subtleties that a lot of people can't,'' Kerr said. ''It's a gift from God being able to do that. I've always had that, so I'm lucky.''

Laura Davies withdrew after an opening 82. The 54-year-old Davies tied for second last week in the Founders Cup in Phoenix, playing through painful left Achilles and calf problems.

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DJ hits 489-yard drive, but it doesn't count for history

By Rex HoggardMarch 24, 2018, 12:22 am

AUSTIN, Texas – Dustin Johnson is no stranger to big drives, but even for DJ this one was impressive.

Trailing in his Day 3 match at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, Johnson launched a drive at the par-5 12th hole that traveled 489 yards, but that number comes with an asterisk.

“He got lucky it hit the road,” smiled Kevin Kisner, who was leading the world No. 1, 3 up, at the time. “I thought he would make an eagle for sure, he only had 80 yards [to the hole]. He didn’t hit a very good putt.”

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Johnson’s drive, which was 139 yards past Kisner’s tee shot, is the longest recorded on the PGA Tour in the ShotLink era, surpassing Davis Love III’s drive of 476 yards in 2004 at the Tournament of Champions.

The drive will not go into the record books, however, because the Tour doesn’t count statistics from the Match Play.

It should also be noted, Kisner halved the 12th hole with a birdie and won the match, 4 and 3, to advance to the round of 16.

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Durant leads Champions event in Mississippi

By Associated PressMarch 24, 2018, 12:21 am

BILOXI, Miss. - Joe Durant had three straight birdies in a back-nine burst and a shot 6-under 66 on Friday to take the first-round lead in the PGA Tour Champions' Rapiscan Systems Classic.

Durant birdied the par-4 11th and 12th and par-5 13th in the bogey-free round at breezy and rain-softened Fallen Oak. Because of the wet conditions, players were allowed to lift, clean and place their golf balls in the fairway.

''It just sets up nice to my eye,'' Durant said. ''It's a beautiful golf course and it's very challenging. The tee shots seem to set up well for me, but the greens are maybe as quick as I've ever seen them here. You really have to put the ball in the right spots. I played very nice today. With the wind swirling like it was, I'm really happy.''

He won the Chubb Classic last month in Naples, Florida, for his third victory on the 50-and-over tour.

Full-field scores from the Rapiscan Systems Classic

''Done this long enough, Friday's just one day,'' Durant said. ''Especially in a three-day tournament, you've got to go out and shoot three good numbers. Fortunate to put one on the board, but I know I have to back it up with a couple of good days because you can get passed very quickly out here.''

Mark Calcavecchia was a stroke back. He won last month in Boca Raton, Florida

''It's probably my best round I've ever had here and it was a tough day to play,'' Calcavecchia said. ''The greens are just lightning fast. They're pretty slopey greens, so very difficult to putt.''

Steve Stricker was third at 68. He took the Tucson, Arizona, event three weeks ago for his first senior victory.

''Just getting it around and managing my game I think like I always do,'' Stricker said. ''You get in the wrong position here with the greens being so fast and you're going to be in trouble. I did that a couple times today.''

Billy Mayfair, Billy Andrade and David McKenzie shot 69. Jerry Kelly, the winner of the season-opening event in Hawaii, was at 70 with Wes Short Jr., Glen Day, Gene Sauers and Jesper Parnevik.

Bernhard Langer opened with a 71, and two-time defending champion Miguel Angel Jimenez had a 72.

Vijay Singh, coming off his first senior victory two weeks ago in Newport Beach, California, had a 73.