A general scenic view of the 16th hole from the tee box prior to the Valero Texas Open at TPC San Antonio


Golf News travel writer Graham McKenzie enjoyed a memorable round during his visit to the Lone Star State at TPC San Antonio, home of the Valero Texas Open

If you have ever been you will be forgiven for thinking that San Antonio in Texas is quite a small city. The ability to walk around downtown easily moving from the Alamo to the canals whilst listening to Mexican Mariachi bands as you sip sangria and eat spicy food will give you the impression of a small town. You would however be wrong as it is in fact by population the seventh largest city in the whole of the United States and as such the demand for golf is high. Unsurprisingly the area is well represented with about twenty quality tracks within a good three wood from the city centre. Most famous of all though is the TPC (Tournament Players Club) San Antonio home to the Valero Texas Open since 2010.

Both courses have great green configurations


TPC San Antonio offers a quality experience to golfers of all levels with two courses to choose from. The Oaks Course and the Canyons Course.  The Canyons course is the shorter of the two but offers probably the best views of San Antonio Hill country anywhere in Texas plus a magnificent wildlife reserve. It is a complete contrast to the Oaks course but has professional credibility of its own as it was the host for the PGA TOUR Champions San Antonio Championship from 2011 to 2015. The winner in its final year was none other than Bernhard Langer who scooped a first prize purse of $270,000. The intricacies of the course are hardly surprising when you realise that the course architect was Pete Dye with his smallish, contoured greens that  in some cases do not make for an easy read. Not quite a Salman Rushdie novel but not far off it


The Oaks Course is the more famous of the two, having been used to host professional tournaments of the highest order  and the Valero Texas Open since 2010. The course was designed by the new  Darth Vader of the Golf World aka Greg Norman and is known for its narrow, tree-lined fairways and challenging bunkers. Whilst the course is very long, even from the shorter tees it’s way over 6000yds , it is extremely playable, and  it has two signature holes in the 16th and 18th. The 16th is the par three with a bunker in the middle. You will know before I even write it what side of the bunker my ball went. Yep, the wrong side which makes for an interesting decision. Chip from the pristine green and risk a divot or try crazy golf style and  go as close to the bunker as possible with your first putt in the hope you may have an outside chance of a par putt with your second. I failed taking the putting route and ended with a bogey.

Graham McKenzie at Valero
Graham McKenzie at TPC San Antonio


The 18th is a long uphill par 5. For even the most gifted amateur playing from a forward tee it offers a severe challenge. A really good drive will still leave you an even better 3-wood to the green and across the stream that runs alongside the fairway but separates that from the green. The most sensible route is to lay up further along the fairway and take your third over the water to the green but you only live once so a 3 wood it is. More failure results in ball retrieval from the water and a double bogey seven. Still, we gave it a go and later this year when it is on television you can relate and admire  to what the professionals are doing.


The venue offers a world-class partner in the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa, which provides upscale style, good service, and excellent hospitality. The resort is nestled among 600 acres of oak-covered hills and provides stunning views of the Texas Hill Country. The resort also offers a full-service wellness centre, Lantana Spa, where guests can indulge in a massage or other wellness treatments.

The TPC San Antonio is a forty five-minute drive from the Alamo in the downtown area of the city and if you are anywhere nearby it is well worth a visit.

Green Fees start at around $200 which includes a buggy and range balls. Click here to more information