NCGA Golf

Spring 2019

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Johnson and home to the LBJ National Historical Park. (His presidential library and museum is located on the University of Texas at Austin campus and worth a visit if you have time.) We passed wineries situ- ated on private ranches with panoramic views of Hill Country and plenty of lone star flags lining the roads of residents and business owners bursting with state pride. Less than 90 minutes away is Briggs Ranch, a Tom Fazio-designed golf course that opened in 2001 and has been consis- tently ranked among the top-20 layouts in Texas. It won the heart of my wife, who raved about the spacious layout decorated with live oaks such as the ones on the par-5 5th hole with limbs that looked like they were playing a game of Twister. We both stood on the tees at Nos. 11 and 13, a pair of par 5s running parallel to each other out and back and agreed they were golf holes that got the blood flowing. In late April, the Web.com Tour pros tackled them when Briggs Ranch hosted a tournament for the first time and for years to come. Briggs Ranch is part of the Dormie Net- work, which is assembling a growing stable of ultra-high-end properties, combining the experience of destination golf with the exclusive hospitality of private membership for a national membership. (Kudos to who- ever suggested the cheese balls in the locker room.) To accommodate its out-of-town- ers, Briggs Ranch was in the process of constructing premium, on-site lodging in the form of casitas. With more than 25 public courses in the Alamo City, golfers have plenty of options from which to choose. The Golf Club of Texas is a stone's throw away from Briggs Ranch, and would be ideal for those 36-hole diehards among us. The claim to fame at Brackenridge Golf Course is being the oldest 18-hole public golf course in Texas. Located just north of downtown San Antonio, this course is accessible for locals and visitors alike. The 2008 restora- tion of "Old Brack" re-routed the course to A.W. Tillinghast's original layout, which dates to 1916, and renewed its conditions to compete with San Antonio's premier golf courses. La Cantera Resort, a 36- hole facility, used to host the Valero Texas Open and may have larger elevation changes than the rollercoasters at nearby Six Flags Fiesta Texas. We chose TPC San Antonio's AT&T Oaks Course, the cur- rent home of the PGA Tour's annual stop, for our second eighteen. (Pete Dye designed the sister course, AT&T Canyons.) I had walked the course previously while covering the tournament, but didn't truly appreciate the nuances of the Greg Norman design until I played it myself. It is a thinking man's course with constant decisions to be made, for instance, on how to attack the 11th hole, which has a bunker in the center of the fairway. The finishing stretch is top notch: No. 16 is a par-3 with a doughnut-hole-size bunker in the middle of the green that you want no part of; No. 17 is a drivable par-4 that entices you to try for eagle, but can just as easily turn disastrous; and the finale is a long, uphill par-5 with a creek bisecting the fairway and protecting a three-tiered green. You'll feel like you've won the Texas Open if you make birdie here. The JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa is linked to the courses and one of three terrific resorts to choose from in San Antonio's north side corridor along with La Cantera Resort and the Hyatt Regency. My wife and I enjoyed a post-round libation at 18 Oaks, the TPC clubhouse bar and restaurant, which features a daily 66 SPRING 2019 | NCGA.ORG The Pavilion at Barton Creek

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