Looking for scenery? Check out these San Antonio golf beauties
SAN ANTONIO -- One thing San Antonio isn't short on is scenery, from the famed Riverwalk to the Spanish missions to the natural Texas Hill Country settings that provide unique topography to the golf here.
Most of the golf courses in the San Antonio area are scenic, but here are seven that stand out among the rest. Play any one of them, and you'll want to bring more than your golf clubs; you'll want to bring a camera.
Hyatt Hill Country Resort
The Hyatt Hill Country Resort is a 27-hole Arthur Hills design. It's a shotmaker's course that's easy on the eyes with elevation change, meandering streams, lakes, wildlife and plenty of live oak trees around every bend.
The original 18 (which includes all nine holes on the Oaks) opened in 1993, and an additional nine holes, incorporated into the Creeks and Lakes, debuted in 2005. Together, they take golfers on a peaceful journey where you often don't see other golfers or parallel holes.
Canyon Springs Golf Club
San Antonio golfers know that when it comes to scenery, Canyon Springs Golf Club is hard to beat.
The name is an apt description as streams wind around this hilly, beautiful golf course nestled at the edge of the Texas Hill Country. At more than 7,000 yards from the tips, there's plenty of challenge to this Tom Walker design and lots of memorable holes, like the elevated 10th where you can grip and rip it for a big tee shot.
The 18th, however, is probably the most talked about, with waterfalls cascading down the rocks that provide the backdrop for the green.
Tapatio Springs Golf Resort
Located in Boerne, just west of San Antonio, Tapatio Springs Golf Resort & Conference Center really is an escape from the city, providing a non-pretentious, serene, relaxed setting for golf.
Designed by Bill Johnston, the course is replete with dramatic elevation change, ponds, lakes, streams and precariously perched greens with plenty of undulation. A shotmaker's course, you don't overpower Tapatio, you simply go with the flow.
TPC San Antonio AT&T Canyons Course
While both courses at the TPC San Antonio and JW Marriott San Antonio Resort & Spa are scenic, we give the vistas edge to the AT&T Canyons Course, which features more dramatic holes than the more difficult AT&T Oaks Course that hosts the PGA Tour's Texas Open.
The Canyons, designed by Pete Dye with Bruce Lietzke, has sort of a hybrid feel. Host of the Champions Tour's AT&T Championship, the Canyons is a little bit Hill Country and a little bit links style, with Dye's famous pot bunkers scattered throughout.
There's a par 3 and par 5 that play straight uphill from the tee. And the 16th is just the opposite, a 220 yard-plus par 3 that plays downhill over a ravine with views that go on for miles.
La Cantera Arnold Palmer Course
Much like the TPC San Antonio, both courses at La Cantera are scenic, but the Arnold Palmer Course takes the cake with its elevation changes, streams, waterfalls and finishing hole.
Located about a mile from the Resort Course as the bird flies, the Palmer Course has tremendous views of San Antonio below from several holes. The 10th, for example, is a dogleg-right par 4 with a drop-off so steep to the right that it has to be protected by a steel barrier.
The ninth and 18th holes, with the magnificent Palmer clubhouse in the background, are particularly striking. Each have extensive water features that protect the green, and the 18th is a dramatic par 4 with a near 200-foot drop in elevation from a blind tee shot.
Brackenridge Park Golf Course
This classic A.W. Tillinghast course that was renovated to near perfection a few years ago is in the perfect setting. Just minutes from downtown and the Riverwalk, the backdrop of the Alamo City makes for interesting views from many angles at Brackenridge Park Golf Course, which opened in 1916.
Add the beautiful walk-in-the-park feel you get when playing this course, plus the classic stone clubhouse and historical buildings that house the Texas Golf Hall of Fame, and you've got a pretty memorable experience.
The Quarry Golf Club
The Quarry Golf Club is certainly San Antonio's most unique course and one of its most scenic. With the back nine laid out in an old cement quarry, there's nothing like it, but the front nine of this Keith Foster-designed jewel deserves some kudos as well.
The front has sort of a links feel to it, with rolling terrain and wetlands that don't do anything to prepare you for what's coming on the back nine. With rock walls more than 100 feet tall, you feel like you're playing in a Canyon after you make the turn.
The most dramatic hole might be the 17th, which calls for a tee shot over a deep ravine that is framed by a 40-foot waterfall.
August 24, 2011