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Willow Springs Review

Texas Outside Rating: 8.7

Golf - Public Course · 18 Holes · Par 72
San Antonio
Website · Locate This Course
Date Last Played: January 14, 2013

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Willow Springs Review

Review of Willow Springs Golf Course in San Antonio

Opened in the 1920's, Willow Springs Golf Course is one of the oldest courses in San Antonio area and for years it was home to the Texas Open where Ben Hogan and Sam Snead were named Texas Open champions.  Williow Springs is one of the seven courses that is part of the Alamo Golf Trail - click on the link to read our reviews and rating of the courses on the Alamo Golf Trail.  

Willow Springs Golf Course is fairly traditional and straightforward with generous tree lined fairways and big greens.  A meandering creek that cuts across several fairways, some ponds, wind,  elevation changes, dog legs, risk reward opportunities, and two bunkers guarding most of the greens can cause you some problems.  The good news is that most of those challenges are easy to avoid but Willow Springs is long from each of the four tee boxes with yardages ranging from 5516 to 7221 yards, so don't bite off more than you can chew and you'll have a very fun and enjoyable round of golf.  

Some of the holes that we really loved playing included:

  • #1 and #10 are both similar and have an elevated tee box, a carry over the creek, a dog leg left, and an uphill shot to the green guarded by 2 bunkers
  • #2, the #1 handicap, is challenging and a blast to play - it requires accuracy on every shot to carry the ditch, manage two right dog legs, avoid the trees and creek along the right side of the fairway, and have a good shot to the green with a ridge and slope
  • several of the fairways are side by side and wide open with a scattering of trees and which means you can bring out the big dog and let-er-rip - hit the other fairway and you still have a good recovery shot
  • you'll find a couple great risk reward opportunities if you have the guts to try and fly the trees and/or creek to shorten the hole
  • #17 is fun - a surprising two bunkers on the left side of the tee box, dense trees and a creek on the right side, and a sharp 90 degree dog leg right to the green

Speaking of the greens, they were redone in 2009 to make them smooth and fast and normally they run around 9.  Most of the greens are large with some minor slope and some subtle breaks while others are odd shapped and home to some significant slope, ridges, or tiers.  We found the Willow Spring greens in excellent condition, soft, and true. 

The fairways and roughs at Willow Springs were also in great condition.  There are no homes on the course, but you will find side by side fairways, trees, and water.  One one fairway has bunkers.  The majority of the fairways are wide with wide playable roughs and most are flat and firm offering some good roll.  However, a few have some surprising elevation changes that will require you to club up or down to manage.

The bunkers were in good shape with sand varying from soft and thick to thin and firm.  Most are about average size, a few have steep faces, but the majority have a small  lip and you might get lucky and roll out. 

Willow Springs is consistently recognized as having good conditions from the tee box to the cup and we found that to be the case when we played.  The greens at Willow Springs were renovated in 2009, so expect fast and smooth putting surfaces.

Bottom line - challenging but very fair coupled with good conditions make this a very popular course and one of the best on the Alamo Golf Trail.

We played in January 2013 when the grass was dormant so we are using the Course's pictures. 

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Course Slope & Ratings

Tee Box Yardage Rating Slope
Gold 7,221 74.6 130
Blue 6,979 73.5 128
White 6,392 70.6 126
Red 5,616 71.8 120

Course Information

Course Architect:
Emil Loeffler/John McGlynn
Greens Type:
TifEagle
Greens Condition
9.0
Greens Difficulty
8.8
Fairway Condition
8.8
Bunker Condition
8.5
GPS:
Yes
Walkable:
Yes
Scorecard
Beware of water on 11 holes and the 35 sand traps.

Texas Outside Rating

Overall Rating:
8.7 out of 10
Beauty:
8.0
Difficulty:
8.5
Variety:
8.8
Fun to Play:
9.0
Value:
9.0
Condition:
9.0
Front Nine Rating:
8.4
Back Nine Rating:
8.8
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FEES & AMENITIES

Approximate Weekend
Rates:
$38.00 to $43.00

Service is ok, the grill has reaonably priced food (burgers, sandwiches, dogs, and more), and the pro shop has the basics. There is a putting and chipping area but no driving range.

 

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.