Review and Rating of Briggs Ranch Golf Club – San Antonio
Golfers everywhere always appreciate the aura of a golf-only facility, created solely for the purpose of offering the most complete golf experience possible. Briggs Ranch is one of those, the first and only in San Antonio; designed by Tom Fazio with memberships limited to 400 and an initiation fee of only $10,000. The club is owned and operated by Michael Zmetrovich and his company, Z Golf Properties.
Fazio not only sodded over 100 acres but he also carved a spectacular layout out some gently rolling hills covered with a variety of trees and brush about 25 minutes west of downtown San Antonio. There are five sets of tee boxes and yardages ranging from 4898 to 7247 and if you pick the right set of tee boxes, you'll find the course to be fair but demanding and it won't beat you up. Bunkers, there are 73 of them, define Briggs Ranch and if you don't play strategically and do what it takes to avoid them, you're going to have a long day and take home a lot of sand.
Some of the holes that we really liked included:
- #1 sets the stage for your round and gives you a test of what to expect – a 455 yard slight downhill fairway that dogs left around two big fairway bunkers then heads slightly downhill to a raised green with a steep and deep bunker guarding the front of it
- #5 is a beautiful 510 par 5 with an elevated tee shot to a sloping fairway with a landing zone pinched by 3 bunkers followed by a slight dog leg right and a tough approach shot to a raised green with trees blocking the front and a nasty left and right side bunker
- #7 offers a good risk reward shot if you think you can fly two huge bunkers to shorten this 562 yard par 5 – make that shot and you've got 5 monster sized bunkers to avoid on the way to the green
- #11 is a 595 yard par 5 with a minefield of 9 bunkers, ranging from deep pot bunkers to some tractor trailer sized bunkers with multiple fingers
- long hitters can attempt to go for the green on the 314 yard #14 but you need to avoid 2 bunkers that stretch from 165 yards out all the way to the cup
The layout is part of what makes playing Briggs Ranch so enjoyable but the pace of play (few members, no tee times needed, and a fast players), peace and quiet, scenery, and superb conditions contribute to making this course one of the best in Texas.
The Zeon Zoysia fairways (the only ones in Texas) are near perfect and we felt guilty taking a divot and at times we thought we were on artificial turf! What a joy to play on! Most of the fairways are ample, some of the landing zones are pinched by bunkers or trees, and a couple of the fairways are wide open. You'll find some minor ups and downs and dog legs left and right plus some slope and contour you need to manage. The rough is also near perfect and fairly wide and thick, but the ball sits on top of the grass making it easy to find the ball and hit from. Miss the rough and you're lost in some trees and dense brush and prickly cactus. A couple fairways have some jaw dropping huge mansions sitting well back off the fairway.
The bent grass greens at Briggs Ranch Golf Club were also near perfect – very soft, held the ball well, ran true, and rolled at a manageable speed. They ranged in shape and size with most being a little smaller than average. Some are raised and all are guarded.
The bunkers are unbelievable – small steep and deep pot bunkers to huge long multi-fingered monsters. They were were very well maintained and the sand was soft and deep.
Briggs Ranch is consistently rated as one of the best in Texas and it made our list of the Best Private Courses in Texas. You need to do what it takes to get to play this beauty!
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Service is first class and includes valet parking. The club house with mens and womens locker room, bar and restaurant, and pro shop, sauna, and fitness center are well done and top notch. The practice facilities are very good.