Wednesday, April 20, 2016

TPC San Antonio (Oaks)

This week the PGA Tour heads to San Antonio for the Valero Texas Open. So I'll go ahead and give my brief review of the AT&T Oaks Course, where a bunch of us just played in late February.

Underrated.

That's the best way to describe the Greg Norman design. Granted, it's a part of the TPC network, so by definition it's rated very highly. But the Tour plays it during the "Masters hangover period," which is after the biggest event of the year and a few weeks before The Players (arguably the 2nd biggest event of the year). Basically... unless you're a golf fan or a degenerate gambler... nobody is paying attention.

Greg Norman is notorious for building difficult and borderline "unfair" layouts. But I didn't find that to be the case with the Oaks Course. There aren't many tricks to it. You can easily see where you need to hit the ball from the tee boxes. And you'd better hit it there.

Approach on the par-5 18th.
Since all the trees on the property are relatively small compared to the towering pines and grandfather oaks we have here in Florida, it appears to be fairly open. But if you're one foot outside of the first cut... your ball will be sitting in loose rocks, deep grass and cactus. It was insanely frustrating to hunt for balls in areas that looked open.

Then you have the deep bunkers that protect most of the greens. Don't go in those either unless you know how to hit flop shots off sand. Oh... and the 16th is a par 3 with a deep bunker in the middle of the green.

Par-3 16th Hole.
Texas is currently getting massive rain and flooding, so this year the course might look a little beat up. But it's definitely worth the trip if you ever want a "cheap" PGA experience.

Pete Dye built the sister course on site, AT&T Canyons. It was also excellent, and I describe it as a "better" version of Southern Hills.

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