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Briggs Ranch Golf Club Review

Texas Outside Rating: 9.3

Golf - Private Course · 18 Holes · Par 72
San Antonio
· Locate This Course
Date Last Played: September 30, 2014

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Briggs Ranch Golf Club Review

Review and Rating of Briggs Ranch Golf Club - San Antonio

The die-hard golfer always appreciates the old-school, machismo aura of a golf-only facility created solely for the purpose of offering the most complete golf experience possible. Briggs Ranch is one of those, the first and only in San Antonio, a $10 million project designed by Tom Fazio and an initiation fee upwards of $50,000 limited to only 300 men and women.

Along with Fazio, longtime San Antonio golf celebs Bill Rogers and Buddy Cook are part of the team that created the par-72, 7247 yard layout, which happens to be one of the only solid-sodded courses in the country. Imagine sodding over 100 acres at around $15,000 per acre!

Fazio not only sodded over 100 acres but he also carved a spectacular layout out some gently rolling hills covered with a variety of trees and brush about 20 minutes west of San Antonio.  There are five sets of tee boxes and yardages ranging from 4898 to 7247 and if you pick the right set of tee boxes you'll find the course to be fair but demanding and it won't beat you up.  Bunkers, there are 73 of them, define Briggs Ranch and if you don't play strategically and do what it takes to avoid them, you're going to have a long day and take home a lot of sand.  

Some of the holes that we really liked included:

  • #1 sets the stage for your round and gives you a test of what to expect - a 455 yard slight downhill fairway that dogs left around two big fairway bunkers then heads slightly downhill to a raised green with a steep and deep bunker guarding the front of it
  • #5 is a beautiful 510 par 5 with an elevated tee shot to a sloping fairway with a landing zone pinched by 3 bunkers followed by a slight dog leg right and a tough approach shot to a raised green with trees blocking the front and a nasty left and right side bunker
  • #7 offers a good risk reward shot if you think you can fly two huge bunkers to shorten this 562 yard par 5 - make that shot and you've got 5 monster sized bunkers to avoid on the way to the green
  • #11 is a 595 yard par 5 with a minefield of 9 bunkers, ranging from deep pot bunkers to some tractor trailer sized bunkers with multiple fingers
  • long hitters can attempt to go for the green on the 314 yard #14 but you need to avoid 2 bunkers that stretch from 165 yards out all the way to the cup

The layout is part of what makes playing Briggs Ranch so enjoyable but the pace of play (few members, no tee times needed, and a fast players), peace and quiet, scenery, and superb conditions contribute to making this course one of the best in Texas.

The Zeon Zoysia fairways (the only ones in Texas) are near perfect and we felt guilty taking a divot and at times we thought we were on artificial turf!  What a joy to play on! Most of the fairways are ample, some of the landing zones are pinched by bunkers or trees, and a couple of the fairways are wide open. You'll find some minor ups and downs and dog legs left and right plus some slope and contour you need to manage.  The rough is also near perfect and fairly wide and thick, but the ball sits on top of the grass making it easy to find the ball and hit from.  Miss the rough and you're lost in some trees and dense brush and prickly cactus.  A couple fairways have some jaw dropping huge mansions sitting well back off the fairway.

The bent grass greens at  Briggs Ranch Golf Club were also near perfect - very soft, held the ball well, ran true, and rolled around a 9 or so.  They ranged in shape and size with most being a little smaller than average. Some are raised and all are guarded.

The bunkers are unbelievable - small steep and deep pot  bunkers to huge long multi-fingered monsters.  They were were very well maintained and the sand was soft and deep.

Briggs Ranch is consistently rated as one of the best in Texas and it made our list of the Best Private Courses in Texas.  You need to do what it takes to get to play this beauty! 
 

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Course Slope & Ratings

Tee Box Yardage Rating Slope
Black 7,247 74.3 131
Gold 6,810 72.3 128
Blue 6,217 69.3 118
White 5,462 65.7 109
Red 4,898 70.5 125

Course Information

Course Architect:
Tom Fazio
Greens Condition
9.5
Greens Difficulty
8.5
Fairway Condition
9.3
Bunker Condition
10.0
GPS:
No
Walkable:
No
Beware of water on 1 holes and the 73 sand traps.

Texas Outside Rating

Overall Rating:
9.3 out of 10
Beauty:
9.2
Difficulty:
9.0
Variety:
8.7
Fun to Play:
10.0
Value:
8.7
Condition:
9.8
Front Nine Rating:
9.2
Back Nine Rating:
9.4
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FEES & AMENITIES

Initiation Fees: $40,001 to $55,000
Monthly Dues: $601 to $800

Service is first class and includes valet parking. The club house with mens and womens locker room, bar and restaurant, and pro shop, sauna, and fitness center are well done and top notch. The practice facilities are very good.

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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.