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Texas Tee Time

When the PGA Tour tees it up in the Valero Texas Open this year (May 13-16) at TPC San Antonio AT&T Oaks Course, most of the players will be seeing the layout for the first time. Opened on January 22, this Greg Norman design was built specifically for tournament play and reflects a departure from other TPC courses on the PGA Tour rota─there are 10 currently in use, including Scottsdale, Sawgrass, Southwind and others─in that the expansive spectator mounding and grassed areas found on the other TPC courses have given way to a more natural look and feel. The Oaks─named for the dense forest of mature oak trees through which the course is routed─will play 7,400+ yards for the Valero. That’s not overly long for a tournament course these days, and the players will find lots of room to hit the ball off the tees. From there to the hole, though, the course tightens significantly. Most greens are elevated above the fairways and many sport narrow openings. Edges fall away from the middle of the putting surfaces, leaving a small window in which to drop and hold a shot. Deep, penal bunkers are found greenside and also in the wide fairways. For those players in the hunt on Sunday, the tournament might very well be decided on the tough 18th hole (pictured), a par-5 with a stream dissecting the fairway in front of the green.

The 1,002-room JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa opened adjacent to the TPC facility, where players and their families will stay during tournament week.

Should be some great golf!

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