Friday, September 26, 2008

Fees Going Up at Revamped Brackenridge

For decades, historic Brackenridge Park Golf Course in San Antonio has been a favorite of the city's senior golfers, junior golfers and beginning golfers. It's a short course, easy to walk, without much trouble. And best of all, cheap.

The clientele at Brackenridge, however, will likely soon undergo a dramatic shift. And those golfers - especially seniors - will probably wind up finding new places to play.

That's because Brack - which has been closed this year undergoing extensive renovations - will have much higher greens fees when it reopens later this year, Richard Oliver reports in the San Antonio Express-News.

Standard fees will more than double, from approximately $32 and $35 dollars (carts included) on weekdays and weekends, respectively, to $75 and $85.

That much for a muni? Those fees will place Brackenridge among the more expensive courses in San Antonio. And although discounts will be available for seniors and juniors, and a "players card" option will offer another way to reduce fees, the new rates will surely drive many golfers to other area courses.

But the Municipal Golf Association-San Antonio, the organiztion now running San Antonio's municipal golf courses, seems to be OK with that. Because when Brackenridge reopens on Dec. 1, it will reopen as a sparkling new course restored to its former glory as an A.W. Tillinghast design.

And the MGA-SA's goal is to have Brackenridge serve as the centerpiece of the city's efforts to sell itself as a golf destination.

Brackenridge, in other words, will become a golf course targeted as tourists, not at locals. Which isn't necessarily a good or a bad thing, just something different.

The revamping of Brackenridge (and of its marketing) is certainly a bold move by the MGA-SA. But it's not quite as bold as the vision that Ben Crenshaw had for the course when he and San Antonio developer Buddy Cook were mulling an effort to take over management of the course about six years ago. Crenshaw envisioned extending the River Walk to Brackenridge, and being able to ferry tourists staying at Downtown River Walk hotels to and from the golf course on river barges.


  1. Anonymous2:15 PM

    It is beginning to become very apparent that the city has once again lost its mind... The increase in fees for Brack is simply insane and plain stupidity. Why in the world would anyone want to pay that kind of price, just to say they played it and then never play it again because it is overpriced.
    Sorry MGS-SA, but I really doubt you will be able to provide the services that come with a $75 dollar fee. The SA area already has those types of courses and the services to boot.
    Thanks, but no thanks... I'll become a tourist in the surrounding small towns.

  2. Anonymous10:35 AM

    Yes, this is another blatent attempt to get rid of those "pesky golf associations and groups" that want to play for next to nothing.

    Just as with other "high priced" courses, service is what sets things apart (besides the course itself). Having discounts for seniors, juniors, a resident card, etc. are fine and dandy, but Brackenridge Golf Course is what it is -- but not worth quite that much money.

    I thought by now though that someone would have mentioned the fact that with Brack (and other city facilities) raising prices, the others WILL follow suit. Besides, when TPC San Antonio opens, Brack will now seem like a bargain! (yikes).

    Oh, and how come many of the area courses around here aren't on any national membership discount program (ie., Player's Pass, Golf Card, etc.)? That certainly would seem like additional incentive to visit. I've used both programs around the country and it is GREAT! Plus, the course is generally giving me the same sort of discount they already have in place. In some areas, the CVB partners with these companies which drives even more business to the area. Something to think about ...

  3. John Dewey2:15 AM

    Why would a municipal golf course intentionally become unfriendly to junior golfers and to those on limited budgets? Why would a municipal golf course intentionally try to drive away its core customers?

    Grapevine Golf Course, a city-owned course just north of DFW airport, has asked the Grapevine City Council for permission to ban walking on weekends. Never mind that the course has consistently been ranked among the best golf values in the state of Texas. Or that local high school golfers are among the most loyal of its customers on weekends.

    Why do municipal golf pros always want their courses to be something they were not designed to be? And why do municipal governments let them get away with it?

    If texasgolf believes that municipal golf courses should allow golfers to walk 7 days a week, please consider signing our online petition

    Thank you.


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