Review: La Cantera Palmer Course

The King’s test in San Antonio
I’ve played a number of Arnold Palmer courses before and I think that his course at La Cantera is a real test of your golf skills.  The course is carved into, over and through the Hill Country of San Antonio, about 20 minutes from the airport and only 5 minutes from 6-Flags over TX.  Just a note, make sure you get direction to go to the right place, or you will end up like I did at the resort course and not the Palmer course.  It is kind of detour to get from one to the other, even though they are virtually right next to each other.
The day I had arranged to play at the Palmer La Cantera course they had me start on the 10th tee.  I suggest starting on hole 1 if at all possible.  The back 9 has significant elevation change and a number of blind shots.  I did have the benefit of playing with the Resort course pro, so he pointed me in the right direction on each hole, but committing to the line was sometime tough.  The 10th is a tough par 4 since it is an uphill blind tee shot that kicks everything right, so if you slice the ball, go way left, it is a much better option.  As you meander up and down over the hills, there are great vistas and some wonderful holes.  The par 3s are really solid on the back 9.  With elevated tees the 2 par 5s are also good tests.  Both can be reached in 2 with solid shots.  The finish hole, 18 is really impressive.  You tee off high and then work your way down the tiered hill to a well-guarded green, both sand and water are in play, all of this right in front of the stunning clubhouse.

The front 9 is actually much tamer.  It does change some elevation, but a number of holes are played in a valley.  The 4th hole is a solid par 3 over water with very little room to bail, short, long or wide.  The 6th hole is a solid par 4 that has a pond fronting the left side of the green that can easily gobble your ball.  The short par 4 8th hole is a really cool sweeping dogleg right that goes up the hill and then flattens toward the green.  The finishing par 5 9th is a brute.  You start by teeing off very high on the hill and then work your way down through the valley and then rise up to the green guards by much of the same sand and water of 18 again right out in front of the clubhouse.

The conditions were excellent here.  Everything was firm, fast and bouncy.  I learned a great deal about grain on the greens that day as how much of an impact it had on speed and break.  If you want to play the best in San Antonio, then the Palmer Course at La Cantera should be on your list.  The king certainly put together a good test of your golf skills.

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Quick Hits
+Scenic Hill Country
+Excellent conditions
+Tough test
+Great variety

–Too tough for many golfers