TPC San Antonio, Old American Golf Club at The Tribute land on Golfweek's Best New Courses list

By Mike Bailey, Senior Staff Writer

Not many golf courses opened recently in the Lone Star State, but those new in 2009 landed on Golfweek's recently released Best New Courses list.

TPC San Antonio AT&T Oaks Course - No. 16
The AT&T Oaks Course at the TPC San Antonio hosts the Valero Texas Open.
TPC San Antonio AT&T Oaks Course - No. 16 Old American Golf Club at The Tribute - hole 7AT&T Canyons Course at TPC San Antonio - No. 6
If you go

TPC San Antonio at the JW Marriott Hill Country Resort and Spa earned two spots on the top-40 list, while the other is The Old American Golf Club at The Tribute in The Colony, Texas, just north of Dallas.

The top three tracks on the Golfweek Best New Courses list come from the Northwest. Old Macdonald at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort in Bandon, Ore., is No. 1, while Huntsman Springs in Driggs, Idaho, and Shooting Star in Teton Village, Wyo., followed.

TPC San Antonio lands two on list

The new TPC San Antonio opened two golf courses ready to host the touring pros.

TPC San Antonio's AT&T Oaks Course, No. 14 on Golfweek's list, is a Greg Norman design that serves as the new site of the PGA Tour's Valero Texas Open after the tournament moved from its longtime home at La Cantera Resort, also in San Antonio. The AT&T Canyons Course at TPC San Antonio, designed by Pete Dye, is the 24th-rated course on the list and will host the Champions Tour's AT&T Championship, starting in 2011.

Both are part of a resort that includes a 1,004-room hotel, the largest in the JW Marriott portfolio.

The AT&T Oaks Course is the more difficult of the two. With player consultant Sergio Garcia lending a hand, the golf course has narrow fairways, more than 100 difficult, ragged-edged bunkers and plenty of trouble off the five sets of tees. It even features a hole reminiscent of California's Riviera Country Club -- the par-3 16th, with a bunker in the middle of the green. From the tips, it measures more than 7,500 yards. Norman clearly designed it to test the best players in the world.

The AT&T Canyons Course, more scenic than the Oaks, includes great vistas of the adjacent 700-acre nature preserve, Champions Tour player Bruce Lietzke lent a hand in the design, which might explain the more forgiving nature of the golf course. It's definitely more resort friendly and features plenty of elevated tees and elevation changes. Even at 6,800 yards, it should rank as a good test for the senior tour professionals.

The Old American Golf Club is a new concept

Tripp Davis, who designed the original Tribute Course to honor to the great Scottish links that have hosted British Opens, paid homage to great early American architects such as Seth Raynor, Donald Ross, Alister MacKenzie and A.W. Tillinghast at Old American, 19th on the Golfweek list.

The former outstanding University of Oklahoma player teamed with University of Texas alum Justin Leonard on the project. Davis drew from his experience in helping restore many of the great golf courses of the Northeast, while Leonard added his PGA Tour experience to create a golf course with features reminiscent of classics such as Shinnecock Hills, National Golf Links, Prairie Dunes Country Club and Crystal Downs.

You'll find natural contours, hazard styles, native grasses and green shapes influenced by those great venues. And the bunkers are played as waste bunkers, so they truly are hazards, although players are allowed to rake when finished.

All three of the new Texas golf courses limit availability to the public. To play the TPC San Antonio tracks, you must be a member or guest at the resort. The Old American remains open to the public for a limited time as the golf course builds its membership.

Golfweek's Best New Courses list was determined by a national panel of more than 600 raters -- on the basis of 10 criteria, including routing, conditioning, variety and memorability of holes.

Mike BaileyMike Bailey, Senior Staff Writer

Mike Bailey is a senior staff writer based in Houston. Focusing primarily on golf in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean and Latin America with an occasional trip to Europe and beyond, he contributes course reviews, travel stories and features as well as the occasional equipment review. An award-winning writer and past president of Texas Golf Writers Association, he has more than 25 years in the golf industry. Before accepting his current position in 2008, he was on staff at PGA Magazine, The Golfweek Group and AvidGolfer Magazine. Follow Mike on Twitter at @MikeBaileyGA and Instagram at @MikeStefanBailey.

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