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Head for the Hills

The JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country is home to a number of outdoor activities, including a pair of courses at the newest TPC facility

By: Hunki Yun

Appeared in Spring 2010 LINKS

Dating to 1922 and boasting an impressive roster of homegrown winners Byron Nelson, Ben Hogan, Lee Trevino, Ben Crenshaw and Justin Leonard, the Valero Texas Open has a long, distinguished history.

This year, the tournament will begin a new chapter when it moves to its new home, the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa. The resort, which opened in January, is destined to be one of the state’s leading destinations, whether guests are PGA Tour pros or beginners.

In addition to two TPC San Antonio courses designed by Pete Dye and Greg Norman, the 1,002-room property features a number of other outdoor amenities, including a bird sanctuary, miles of trails for hiking or bicycling, 30,000-square-foot lawn for events, and a six-acre water park highlighted by a 1,000-foot river ride.

The emphasis on the environment also extends indoors, where the property has several features that promote sustainability. The hotel was constructed with recycled material, and the resort will receive 70 percent of it power from wind sources, making it the largest user of “Windtricity” in San Antonio. In addition, the rooms have a smart climate-control system; for example, it will recognize when the balcony doors are open and will shut down in order to conserve energy.

But it will be a different type of green that will bring plenty of people to the resort. From May 13–16, the eyes of Texas—and the rest of the golf world—will be on Norman’s course as it hosts the first of three consecutive events in the Lone Star State.

The surroundings make for a scenic layout, but what will grab players’ attention are the demands of the 7,522-yard layout. Although it is not a backbreaker, it won’t give up the same types of scores as its predecessor, La Cantera, on which Tommy Armour III shot a PGA Tour record of 254 during the 2003 Valero Texas Open.

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