The PGA Tour continues its two-week stretch in the Lone Star State at TPC San Antonio for the Valero Texas Open. TPC San Antonio, which has played host to the Texas Open since the club opened for business in 2010, features two 18-hole championship courses for golfers: the AT&T Canyons and AT&T Oaks Courses. But this week’s Tour event, the last before the Masters next week, will only be played on the Oaks Course. Here’s everything that you need to know about the AT&T Oaks Course at TPC San Antonio, which rated as one of the 12 most difficult holes on Tour last year.
The origin of the course: As previously mentioned, TPC San Antonio opened in February 2010 before it became the host of the Texas Open later that year. Both tracks on the resort property are part of the PGA Tour’s TPC network of courses, which also includes TPC Sawgrass and TPC Scottsdale. Furthermore, both tracks were designed by two of the most well-known course designers around. The AT&T Canyons Course was designed by Pete Dye, while the AT&T Oaks Course was built by Greg Norman. The Dye-designed Canyons Course has also hosted Tour events, as it was the home of the AT&T Championship on the Champions Tour from 2011-2015.
The design of the course: The Norman-designed AT&T Oaks Course, which was actually done in consultation with Sergio Garcia, is a par-72 track that runs 7,435 yards from the championship tees. The course, which offers golfers five tee boxes to choose from, is described as being a traditionally-designed track with both narrow tree-lined and wide fairways, as well as lengthy holes. When designing the course, the two-time British Open champion sought to bring in the natural landscape to the course to make it reflective of what the area consisted of.
Golfers will also come across numerous water hazards, cavernous bunkers that are strategically-placed throughout the course, and rolling greens. Wind is a constant factor on the course, as golfers are either going to be hitting into the wind or with it at their backs depending upon if the hole is uphill or downhill. Bermuda grasses are used on the entire course as well.
Easiest hole: The par-5 14th hole, which runs 567 yards from the championship tees, had an average score of 4.486 last year, which was the lowest of the par-5’s on the course. The highest-number of eagles (14) and birdies (237) on the course are collected at this hole, while the fewest-number of bogeys (25) are earned here too. As the shortest par-5 on the course, this hole provides the golfer with a great opportunity to reach the green in two shots and earn a birdie or eagle.
The 14th hole also features one of the course’s wide fairways that Norman built. Even if one doesn’t make the green in two shots, a layup will give players a short pitch to the green. The key to succeeding at this hole is to stay away from the right-side bunker, or a bogey could be coming your way.
Most difficult hole: The par-4 first hole, which runs 454 yards from the championship tees, was one of the 30 most difficult holes on Tour last year. The most bogeys on the course last year (132) were amassed at the first hole too. Playing downhill, golfers will be playing into the prevailing wind at this hole. The key to performing well at this hole is hitting a good tee shot to set yourself up well later. If you hit your drive down the left side of the fairway, you’ll have a better view of the green.
A good tee shot will give you an opportunity to reach the green in two shots. To make the green, aim for the right with your approach shot, as the green is surrounded by bunkers to the left and front. If you can finish with par here on the moderately-undulating green, you’re off to a good start. The first hole’s 4.296 scoring average was the highest of the par-4’s on the course last year.