|Resort Course at La Canters Resort in San Antonio
Only once in my golfing life—which is relatively short—have I played on a course that was prepped for a major professional tournament. That really increases the challenge factor, not just because those courses are generally more difficult than a run-of-the-mill course, but also because maintenance takes a different path.
In this case, the course was Westin La Cantera Resort Course in San Antonio, and the occasion was prior to the Valero Texas Golf Tournament in September 2009, the 15th and final year La Cantera hosted this PGA event. Normal mowing of the roughs had been suspended, leaving grass tall enough to bury a ball that missed the fairway.
|Roller coaster at Six Flags Fiesta Texas in background
On a recent visit to La Cantera Resort, I played the Resort Course again. This time the roughs had been mowed, so I didn’t have to dig any errant balls out of tall grass. Having an easier time with golf shots allowed me to enjoy the beauty of this Texas Hill Country course more fully.
Known for outstanding views of the countryside surrounding San Antonio—as well as roller coasters at nearby Six Flags Fiesta Texas--the course has six natural water features, huge live oak trees, and limestone outcroppings. There are no out-of-bounds; if your ball is unplayable, you simply take a stroke and place the ball at a playable location.
The 18-hole, par 72, 7001-yard course was designed by course architect Jay Moorish and pro golfer Tom Weiskopf. Five sets of tees accommodate every skill level, so I drove the cart right past the “pro” black tees to the ladies’ jade markers—still enough challenge for my abilities. Several holes drive from an upper level, over ravines, to lower fairways, and generally roll left to right. Well-groomed Bermuda grass makes fast greens that seemed hard to read. A total of 75 bunkers guard the course, and it’s well-known that sand has a magnetic attraction for golf balls.
|Signature hole at Palmer Course
Still, it’s a very playable course for any golfer, and the scenic panoramas make a splendid outing. Take time before your round to hit a few warm-up balls on the range and putting green, both available for guests of the resort to use. Pay special attention to hole #7, the signature hole of the Resort Course, and see if you can match my husband’s hole-in-one on # 13, a 120-yard par three.
|Barbeque dinner at The Palmer Grille
La Cantera Resort also features the Palmer Course, designed by the golf legend himself, with signature hole #4 that requires a long carry over a lake, waterfalls along the front of the green, and nostalgic Winnie’s Bridge, Palmer’s memorial to his wife. This is a more challenging course with a final hole that requires blind shots over a hill. It ends just in front of the club house, so take time to celebrate your round with a delicious lunch or dinner (or at least a drink) at The Palmer Grille.
Photos by Larry and Beverly Burmeier
Read more about La Cantera Resort at http://stripedpot.com/2011/04/04/san-antonios-la-cantera-resort-built-on-texas-legends/