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TPC San Antonio - AT&T Canyons Course Review

Texas Outside Rating: 9.1

Golf - Resort Private Course · 18 Holes · Par 72
San Antonio
Website · Locate This Course
· Stay & Play
Date Last Played: August 25, 2010

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TPC San Antonio - AT&T Canyons Course Review

TPC San Antonio opened for play in 2010 and is home to two awesome courses - AT&T Oaks and AT&T Canyons.  Both courses are fantastic and each has it's own personality and unique characteristics.  The AT&T Canyons Course, designed by Pete Dye, is more player friendly and generous off the tee box and it includes several elevation changes, plenty of bunkers, challenging greens, scenic panoramic vistas, and native areas that are very penalizing. 

The Greg Norman designed the AT &T Oaks Course which is 6 to 10 strokes harder and 300 yards longer from the tips and it is characterized by very steep and deep penalizing bunkers, complex greens, and much narrower tree lined fairways.  Read our review of the AT&T Oaks Course to learn more about this outstanding track. 

Both courses:

  • were elegantly carved out of tree covered and rocky San Antonio Hill Country terrain
  • were built with the environment in mind and included closed loop irrigation systems that recycle their own rain water
  • provide a memorable golf experience with plenty of hazards, risk reward opportunities, and tests for polished players
  • have sweeping vistas of the Hill Country or seclusion among thick tree lined fairways and exposed rock - a priceless escape from reality
  • have plush rolling fairways and smallish greens that are well protected by deep devilish bunkers
  • will challenge your putting skills thanks to plenty of slope, undulation, and subtle breaks
  • are in a pristine natural hill country setting boarded by a nature preserve with no homes anywhere near the course
  • offer near perfect conditions, excellent facilities, and service that is unmatched.  

The At&T Canyons Course is a hill country style course with wider and more generous fairways and bunkers that are not as deep and steep faced, which is not typical for a Pete Dye created course. But plenty of danger still exists to make for a challenging and exciting round - you'll find dramatic elevation changes, forced carries over Grand Canyon like ravines, and lots of pesky need-to-avoid fairway bunkers.

Club selection is key to scoring well on this 18 because of a lot of downhill shots, gargantuan ravines, 115 bunkers, and rolling fairways that were elegantly carved out of the tree covered and rocky Hill Country terrain just north of San Antonio.  While the AT&T Oaks course is tree lined, the AT&T Canyons is more wide open and offers panoramic views of the the Hill Country and a 750 acre nature preserve resting adjacent to the course. It's refreshing to play with no homes within sight - it just you and nature.  In fact, the course's motto is "True to Nature, True to Golf!"

Some of the memorable holes include:

  • #6 is a 565 yard dog leg right roller coaster ride with a blind shot and 6 fairway bunkers leading to an uphill well guarded green
  • #8 is the highest point on the course and it feels like being on the top of Texas with 360 degree panoramic views of the wildlife sanctuary, the JW Marriott Resort, and the surrounding Hill Country
  • #10 is a 400 yard par four offering a great view and a dog leg right with a risk reward opportunity to the downhill green
  • #12 is a 532 yard climb uphill to a well guarded green
  • #17 has  big carry over a ravine from an dramatic elevated tee box then back up hill to an elevated green
  • #18 is a fantastic finishing hole with 15 bunkers,

The fairways are resort friendly and forgiving off the tee box and are in nearly perfect condition.  Most of the fairways are rolling and contoured.  The first cut is playable but miss it and you're lost in the native areas.

The 115 bunkers and complex greens help define the AT&T Oaks Course and make it very challenging.  The bunkers are all shapes and sizes with soft deep sand.  Some are steep and deep and most are strategically placed - I left the course with plenty of their sand in my hair, ears, and shoes.

The greens are still maturing and don't hold well yet and a bump and run strategy works well.  Once on the greens, which seem smaller than normal, you'll need to quickly figure out how to manage the speed (10 to 11), the slope, and undulation if you want to one or two putt.  The fringe around the greens is large and smooth and in most cases puttable. 

The TPC San Antonio AT&T Oaks Course is a fantastic track and a must play.  It's a tad pricey but you only live once and you won't be disappointed about spending the money.  You'll also need to stay at the JW Marriott Resort and Spa if you want to play this course.  The Marriott is also a first class resort - read our review of the JW Marriott Stay & Play to learn more. 

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Course Slope & Ratings

Tee Box Yardage Rating Slope
Black 7,106 74.1 136
Gold 6,622 71.9 131
Blue 6,142 69.8 127
White 5,609 67.5 120
Red 4,968 70.4 118

Course Information

Course Architect:
Pete Dye and Bruce Lietzke
Greens Type:
Champion Bermuda
Greens Condition
9.5
Greens Difficulty
9.5
GPS:
Yes
Walkable:
No
Scorecard
Beware of water on 1 holes and the 115 sand traps.

Texas Outside Rating

Overall Rating:
9.1 out of 10
Beauty:
9.5
Difficulty:
9.0
Variety:
9.0
Fun to Play:
9.5
Value:
8.0
Condition:
9.5
Front Nine Rating:
9.3
Back Nine Rating:
9.5
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FEES & AMENITIES

Initiation Fees: $25,001 to $40,000
Monthly Dues: $201 to $400

Service is top notch - all of the starters, cart girls, and marshals were friendly, helpful, and funny. The carts are equipped with a fantastic GPS with tips, flyovers, and more. The Pro Shop, restaurant, bar, and practice facilities are outstanding.

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Here's How Texas Outside Determines the Scorecard Rating

The Texas Outside rating scale ranges from 1 to 10 – a perfect 10 course would be something like this:  links along a cliff overlooking the Pacific ocean and bordered by tall trees; lush fairways on rolling hills with lots of natural hazards; water (which is crystal clear) on most of the holes; immaculate greens (but they are undulating and tough); lots of variety and character (each hole is completely different and includes blind shots, elevation changes, doglegs, and significant challenges); perfectly manicured traps with the whitest and prettiest sand you’ve ever seen; a nice club house with great food and a 19th hole; a GPS; plenty of beverage carts or your own cooler and ice; and it only costs $40 bucks! What this means is that you probably won’t find any 10s in Texas – try Cabo San Lucas, Pebble Beach, or some of the Hawaii courses! 
Texas Outside rates courses on the following:

  • Beauty – tall trees, rolling hills, beautiful houses, waterfalls, and similar stuff would score high; a 1 would be flat, bushes or cactus instead of trees, and some grass but mostly weeds
  • Difficulty – a straight, 300 yard par 4 with no traps or hazards, no out of bounds or water would probably get a 1; if it is a 460 yard par 4 over two ravines, with water along one side, natural hazards on the other, strategically placed traps or that dreaded tree right in the middle of the fairway, we are talking a 10. 
  • Variety – what would you give a course where all the holes looked and played exactly the same (“I thought we just played that hole!”); were side-by-side, which is good for finding or dodging other people’s balls, but not much fun; and you can see the flag from every tee box?  That’s right, it gets a 1.
  • Fun Scale – a 10 is where you walk off the course and say “now that was fun” and you can’t wait to get back, or you immediately turn around and play another 18 holes
  • Value – a 5 is $50 to $60, a 10 is $20 to $30, and 1 is $200 or so – of course all of this is dependent upon how you liked the course.  For example, if a run down, boring municipal course, with six players on each hole was only $10; it would still get a value rating of 1.
  • Condition – this one’s pretty easy – what condition are the fairways. A 10 commands very lush perfectly manicured fairways, compared to a 1, which has fire ants, weeds, and more dirt than grass!
  • Condition of Greens and Difficulty – very hard to read greens with lots of undulation and tough pin placement, rate very high on the difficulty scale.  Condition is self-explanatory.  

All of the above determines the overall score for the golf course.  In other words, we like courses that are pretty, fun, very challenging with a lot of variety, and fairways and greens in excellent condition – all for $40.  We also tend to play the courses that are affordable for the masses, which means in the $30 to $80 range. We rate hard and we haven’t found a 10 in Texas yet – don’t worry we haven’t given up and we’re still looking.