I've since corresponded a few times with the reporter who authored that article, Kevin Robbins, and Kevin has followed up on the subject with his sources. Yesterday, Kevin confirmed - after talking with a contact with the PGA Tour design services - that the courses would not be open to locals (unless they get a room).
Kevin wrote to me:
He told me that no, there will not be any "daily-fee," "public" or "walk-up" access to the TPC. He did say, however, that there might be a "membership structure" that allows someone to pay some money, presumably a lot, for the privilege of paying the green fee to play those courses without having to stay at the resort. To me, that idea excludes 98 percent of us who would like to play those courses.
Kevin is certainly right about that: Only a very, very small number of San Antonio golfers would be able to buy a "membership." And the membership plan is only a maybe anyway.
There's nothing unusual about a swanky resort being open only to resort guests. Although San Antonio's three existing resorts - La Cantera, Hyatt Hill Country, and, in Boerne, Tapatio Springs - are open for daily-fee access, that is probably the exception rather than the rule with upscale golf resorts.
But as I wrote last week, what gets me is not that a chi chi resort is going to be essentially a private golf club, but that TPC San Antonio has chosen this path after all the support San Antonio golfers have given the project, and all the financial incentives the city of San Antonio and Bexar County (and even the Texas Legislature) have given the project.
TPC San Antonio's response to all that support, the tax breaks, the financial incentives? "Thanks. And, oh, by the way - you can't play here."