Wednesday, October 03, 2007

The Resort Course at La Cantera is Difficult?

I was Googling around looking for some Texas golf news when I found a headline via Google News: "Golf Vacation Insider publishes report on best San Antonio courses." The headline was from, but when I clicked on it the page was dead. It still is today.

But I thought this report on San Antonio courses might have something interesting in it. I'm familiar with Golf Vacation Insider, an Internet publication on golf travel, and wanted to check out what they had to say about San Antonio.

So I went to their site, gave them my email address (which means now I'll be getting regular emails from them), and was emailed the URL where I could download the report on San Antonio golf. Which I did.

Turns out the "special report" was written in 2004. And while it contains some good stuff, it's nothing that you couldn't find in any of the numerous magazine articles about golf in San Antonio that have appeared in recent years.

There was one thing that caught my eye, however. It started with this:

La Cantera has two layouts, both unusually difficult tests for resort courses.

Well, sure, the Palmer Course is an unusually difficult course for a resort. But the Resort Course?

And then the "special report" continued, writing specifically about the Resort Course, where the Texas Open is played:

Many PGA Tour players dislike playing here because it is a difficult course with steep elevation changes that can produce high scores. Amateurs will definitely post some big numbers ...

That's just asinine. Really, to be blunt, one of the dumbest things I've ever read in an article about San Antonio golf.

The Resort Course at La Cantera is one of the easiest courses on the PGA Tour - the all-time lowest score in PGA Tour history was shot there just four years ago! And as I posted over at Waggle Room, if you don't go low at the Resort Course, not only are you not going to win the tournament, you might not even make the cut!

As for amateurs posting high scores, sure, some amateurs are going to shoot 120s there. But if so, they are probably shooting 130s elsewhere. The lowest score I've shot in the past three years was posted at The Resort Course, playing from the tips.

It's an easy course! There's no way around it.


  1. Dumb? Dumb is missing the forest for the trees.

    If you would have examined your media guide more closely, you'd see that La Cantera's Resort Course was rated as the 20th (out of 55) most difficult course played on the PGA Tour in 2006. And, of the 19 courses ranked ahead of it, about half have hosted, or will host, golf's major tournaments or the Ryder Cup. Seems like pretty good company to us.

    Oh yeah, you do realize that the Resort Course is a par 70, don't you? It doesn't take too much smarts to figure out that this can contribute to lower scores relative to other venues on tour.

  2. Yes, and it doesn't take much smarts to figure out that par 70 is easier than par 71 or par 72. Your defense to the "it's not hard, it's easy" argument is, "well, hey, that's only because it's easy?" Not much of a defense.

    You need to go back and update your report (which otherwise has some good stuff in it). People who actually play the course know it's an easy track.

  3. No, that's not my argument at all. Let me try to explain this in a way that even you can understand.

    The difficulty of a golf course played on the PGA Tour is not determined by what par is. It's determined by what players score RELATIVE to par.

    And, at least last year, there were only 19 courses on the PGA Tour more difficult than La Cantera's -- including Nos. 1 and 2, Winged Foot GC and TPC Southwind, both played at par 70.

    As for "people who actually play the course," we did. Found it to be tough to gauge distances given all the elevation changes, something that becomes increasingly difficult when the wind is up (which it often is).

    In fact, we think the weather probably affect scores at La Cantera more than at some other tour venues. (Guys have already started to go low in the tournament this year as the weather has been balmy.)

    So, we'll concede that the course can be easy (or easier) when the conditions are calm and the greens are receptive. And we'll be sure to tell those PGA Tour players who dislike the course that they don't know what they're talking about.

    By the way, if you'd like to critique any more of our FREE special reports, we have about 40 more at:

  4. Yeah, the difficulty is not determined by what par is, NOR is it determined by scores relative to par. It's determined by strokes. 67 is lower than 70, 260 is lower than 270. When you consistently shoot lower scores at Course A than at Course B, A is the easier course - no matter what the scores in relation to par are.

    And the Tour players do hate the course - not because it's difficult to play, but because it's difficult to walk. But mostly because it's boring for them -- hitting 9-iron or less into every green gets repetitive after a while.

    It's an easy course - one of the easiest in town.

    And by the way, one of the things I agreed with and was happy to see in your report was your praise for the Hyatt course, which is vastly underrated locally.

    Or at least was. Unfortunately, the nine holes Arthur Hills added are nondescript and were integrated into the original 18, creating three new nines. There is no longer any combination you can play that isn't inferior to the original 18.

  5. My friend, I think you're confusing "shorter" with "easier."

    Is a par-3 always going to be easier than a par-5? Of course not.

    If most people take 4 strokes on the par-3 and 5 strokes on the par-5, the par-3 is clearly the harder hole.

    So, as you can see, strokes or par or length by themselves (for an individual hole or an entire golf course) are not enough to indicate ease or difficulty. It is what people score RELATIVE to par.

    Enjoyed the back-and-forth. See you around the blogosphere!

  6. Anonymous9:32 AM

    Wow! What a gripping intellectual exchange between the both of you (or should I say "boat chas").

    I will say that I was very disappointed that the report that made The Wire was 3 years old! I had hoped to give an updated and fresh post on my site, but immediately yanked it because of the outdated information.

    I have a good friend who is a member of the PGA TOUR (and some PGA TOUR officials as well), and yes, they think the course is too easy to play, and hell to walk. Especially where it is in the schedule, after all the weeks playing - and not so well, that's why their there (to keep the card). It would be great to have the Resort Course fall in the "meat" of the season before the event moves to the TPC San Antonio (yes, it will move). In the one and only time Tiger Woods played the Texas Open, he did pretty well, though "losing" to David Ogrin (which he has beat into the ground). If you have a PGA TOUR event with all the top Tour pros playing, you'd see some amazing scores - If TA III can set the PGA TOUR scoring record, you get the point.

    San Antonio is the #1 golf travel destination in Texas. That's not an accident!


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