TPC San Antonio opened for play in 2010 and is home to two awesome courses – AT&T Oaks and AT&T Canyons. Both courses are fantastic and each has it's own personality and unique characteristics. The Canyons Course, designed by Pete Dye, is more player friendly and generous off the tee box and it includes several elevation changes, plenty of bunkers, challenging greens, scenic panoramic vistas, and native areas that are very penalizing.
The Greg Norman designed AT&T Oaks Course is 6 to 10 strokes harder and 300 yards longer from the tips and it is characterized by very steep and deep penalizing bunkers, complex greens, and much narrower tree lined fairways.
- were elegantly carved out of tree covered and rocky San Antonio Hill Country terrain
- were built with the environment in mind and included closed loop irrigation systems that recycle their own rain water
- provide a memorable golf experience with plenty of hazards, risk reward opportunities, and tests for polished players
- have sweeping vistas of the Hill Country or seclusion among thick tree lined fairways and exposed rock creating a priceless escape from reality
- have plush rolling fairways and smallish greens that are well protected by deep devilish bunkers
- will challenge your putting skills thanks to plenty of slope, undulation, and subtle breaks
- are in a pristine natural hill country setting boarded by a nature preserve with no homes anywhere near the course
- offer near perfect conditions, excellent facilities, and service that is unmatched.
Sergio Garcia lent his unique perspective in assisting Greg Norman with the design of the Oaks Course which is tough and long (7435 yards and a slope of 148!) and fraught with hazards – narrow tree lined fairways, 12 foot deep bunkers guarding the greens, and globs of thick knee-high native grass just off the second cut of the fairway, dog legs, forced carries, and more.
To play well here you need to stay on the practice range until you can hit 'um straight, then move to the bunkers and spend time trying to get the ball out, and finally practice reading the greens and putting. Then head out for a fun, challenging, and very memorable round. Don't bite off more than you can chew, in fact you'll enjoy the AT&T Oaks Course more if you move up a set of tee boxes. With a rating of 76.5 and slope of 148 from the tips, the AT&T Oaks course may be the toughest course in Texas – but don't let that discourage you from playing this fantastic track.
The AT&T Oaks course will throw a lot at you and there are a number of memorable and fun holes. The first four are some of the toughest, for example:
- #1 sets the stage and looks like a a pretty straight forward 454 yard par 4 with a wide landing zone off the tee box (don't miss the fairway) but the approach shot is a killer – tight with a huge long deep bunker along the left side, another bunker in front of the green, and a very complex putting surface – par may be tough
- #2 gets a big "Wow" on the approach to a shared L shaped green and 3 humongous bunkers
- #3 is a beautiful 213 yard par 3 that is all carry over the water with no room in front, a steep collection area in back, and another of those huge deep bunkers on the right
- #4 is a tight 481 yard dog right requiring both precision and power to a fairway with no room for error on the right and three large bunkers on the left side up to and around the green
And the route from #4 back to the club house has a number of memorable, very challenging, scenic, and fun holes, like:
- #11 which has a huge bunker splitting the fairway and forcing you to make a decision off the tee box for a shorter but tougher approach or a longer but safer shot to an oblong green with a bunker all along the right side
- #16 is a beautiful 183 yard par 3 to a green complex protected by 4 challenging bunkers plus a large clam shell deep bunker in the middle of the green
- #18 which is a 581 par 5 with a "z" shaped fairway that is bisected by a creek that also protects the green – a very fun and scenic hole that gives you a couple risk reward opportunities and requires some skilled shot making to par
When we played in September 2010, the fairways were in near perfect condition. This is a course where you don't want to miss the fairway which can be a tad narrow in places – the first cut is a thick followed by the native areas with trees, cactus, tall thick native grass, and snakes! Most of the fairways are fairly straight and flat (until you get to the greens) and you can usually see what you're up against. To score well on the AT&T Oaks Course you need to carefully manage your club selection and shot making and do whatever it takes to stay in the fairway and away from the bunkers and native areas. Listen closely to Greg Norman on the excellent GPS telling you how to play the hole.
The greens are unbelievable – near perfect condition and ample size but they have lots of slope, undulation, spines, ridges, and contour to make putting very challenging. When we played they were running a little fast at 10 to 10.5 and were very true, but difficult to read. Since the greens are new and still maturing, they are hard and difficult to hold making bump and run a good approach strategy. And the majority of the greens are very well guarded by huge, steep, and very deep bunkers.
The bunkers are strategically placed along the fairways and surrounding the greens. Some are deep enough to swallow a VW bus and you'll find them challenging to get out of – both your ball as well as your body. Most also have several fingers which can create very challenging lies. The sand is soft and deep. The bunkers are menacing but also help make the TPC AT&T Oaks course aesthetically pleasing.
This is a must play course, so add it to your bucket list. You'll find it challenging but a blast to play and a course you'll remember for a long time and want to come back and play again.
TPC San Antonio is a private resort, only accessible to Club Members and guests of the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort and Spa. The JW Marriott is a first class resort – so save your money and book a room for a golf outing or fun vacation – read our review of the JW Marriott Stay & Play to learn more.
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Service is unequalled and whoever does the hiring is to be commended - everyone (from the starter to the cart girls) is friendly, helpful, funny, and out to make your round enjoyable. The facilities are first class including the pro shop, bar, grill, locker room, and practice areas. And the GPS is the best and most helpful that we have seen. Pace of play is excellent.