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Brackenridge Park Golf Course is a historic golf course in San Antonio, Texas and the oldest 18-hole public golf course in Texas. It opened for play in 1916 and was the first inductee into the Texas Golf Hall of Fame.[1] Brackenridge Park was the original site of the Texas Open which held the tournament for most years between 1922-1959.[2] Located in historic Brackenridge Park, the course is one of six municipal golf courses managed by the non-profit management group, the Alamo City Golf Trail. The Alamo City Golf Trail consists of Brackenridge Park Golf Course, Cedar Creek Golf Course, Mission del Lago Golf Course, Olmos Basin Golf Course, Riverside Golf Course, San Pedro Driving Range and Par 3, and Willow Springs Golf Course.

Brackenridge Park Golf Course
Brackenridge Park Golf Course Club House.jpg
Brackenridge Park Club House
Club information
LocationSan Antonio, Texas
Established1916
Owned byCity of San Antonio
Operated byAlamo City Golf Trail
Total holes18
Tournaments hostedTexas Open (1922-1926, 1929-1932, 1934, 1939-1940, 1950-1955, 1957-1959)
Websitealamocitygolftrail.com
Brackenridge Park Golf Course
Designed byA.W. Tillinghast
Par71
Length6,243 yards (5,709 m)
Course rating70.3
Slope rating126

HistoryEdit

LocationEdit

George Washington Brackenridge donated 100-plus acres of land to the city to create Brackenridge Park, the park in which the present day Brackenridge Park Golf Course is located.[3]

Ray Lambert's appointment as City Parks Commissioner in 1915 began a new era for Brackenridge Park. Lambert inherited a parks system that was underfunded and growing quickly. He immediately asked for almost a threefold increase in budget (to $60,000), and earmarked much of this increase for the further development of Brackenridge Park. One of Lambert's major projects was the construction of a public golf course. A public course had been advocated by golf enthusiasts for many years as a tourist attraction for the City. There were three other courses in San Antonio at that time, all private. In October 1915, it was reported that the 18-hole Brackenridge Park golf course was under construction. Noted course designer A.W. Tillinghast was hired to design and build the golf course. A clubhouse was also proposed, as well as a swimming hole "so that after the game the players may enjoy a plunge in the delightful waters of the San Antonio River."[4]

Currently the historic golf course remains in operation near downtown, and within close proximity to the San Antonio Zoo and Aquarium. San Antonio landmarks, the Witte Museum and San Antonio Japanese Tea Gardens, are also located nearby.

The ClubhouseEdit

The original clubhouse was a small one-story building that burned down in 1920. In 1922, the City hired Ralph H. Cameron to design and build a new clubhouse for the golf course and the Texas Open. $8,000 was raised by the City for clubhouse construction. Cameron designed other notable San Antonio buildings, including the Scottish Rite Cathedral (1923), Neo-Gothic Medical Arts Building (1925), the Frost Brothers Store (1930), and the U.S. Post Office and Court House (1937).[5]

Borglum StudioEdit

 
The Borglum Studio (Oct. 2012)

An adjacent building to the Brackenridge Park Golf Clubhouse once served as the working studio for artist Gutzon Borglum, the sculptor who created the heads of the U.S. Presidents on Mount Rushmore. The structure was built in 1885 from local limestone and timbers to serve as a water pumping station. In 1905, the pump house became obsolete with the drilling of artisan wells into the Edwards Aquifer. Around the abandoned pump house, the untamed land was sculpted into a golf course. In Reid Meyers' self-published book, "The Ghosts of Old Brack," he spotlights Gutzon Borglum's arrival in San Antonio in 1924 and his rental of the old pump house. Through the windows, he likely would have seen golfers warming up. "That was what made it nice as an artist studio, the setting and light, the large space," says San Antonio historian Maria Watson Pfeiffer.

After Borglum's use of the studio passed, it served as the creative space of other noted regional artists, and art students of the Wiite and Fort Sam Houston.[6]

Today, the Borglum Studio looks out on the 17th hole of the golf course.

The SchrieversEdit

U.S. Air Force General Bernard Adolph Schriever grew up in a small house near the 12th green of the historic layout of Brackenridge Park. He and his younger brother, Gerhardt, were best friends with Tod Menefee and the Schriever's mother (Elizabeth) operated a small but popular sandwich stand for the golfers in the back yard. Bernard won the State Junior and the San Antonio City Golf Championship twice. He captained the Texas A&M golf team for two years before entering the army. He is mostly known for his role in the air force's space and missile program, and managing the nuclear arsenal during the Cold War. In 2011, Bernard was inducted into the Texas Golf Hall of Fame posthumously (died in 2005). His 97-year-old brother Gerhardt Schriever was there to accept the honor.[7]

Notable recordsEdit

In 1939, Harold "Jug" McSpaden posted the course record of 59 during an exhibition match played with Byron Nelson, Ben Hogan, and Paul Runyan.[8]

Mike Souchak set a PGA Tour 72-hole record of 257 at the 1955 Texas Open. The record held until 2001.[8]

Three of the first six 60s shot in PGA Tour history came at Brackenridge Park. Al Brosch was the first to do it, with an 11-under during the third round of the 1951 Texas Open. In 1954, Ted Kroll matched Brosch, with a 60 of his own, also during the third round of the Texas Open. The following year, Souchak opened the Texas Open with a 60 (27-33) on his way to the 257 that gave him the title that season.

Texas OpenEdit

The Texas Open was held at Brackenridge Park in: 1922-1926, 1929-1932, 1934, 1939-1940, 1950-1955, and 1957-1959. No tournament was played in 1933 and 1935-1938. The Texas Open was the first professional golf tournament in Texas and one of the first events to be played during the winter. The first Open held in 1922 had a $5,000 purse, the largest purse of any golf tournament at the time. In 1960, the San Antonio Golf Association moved the Texas Open to Oak Hills Country Club, another Tillinghast designed course.[9]

Texas Open winners at Brackenridge Park Golf Course

Year Player Country Score To par 1st Prize ($) Purse ($) Ref
1959 Wes Ellis   United States 276 -8 2,800 20,000 [10]
1958 Bill Johnston   United States 274 -10 2,000 15,000 [11]
1957 Jay Hebert   United States 271 -13 2,800 20,000 [12]
1955 Mike Souchak   United States 257 -27 2,200 12,500 [13]
1954 Chandler Harper   United States 259 -25 2,200 12,500 [14]
1953 Tony Holguin   United States 264 -20 2,000 10,000 [15]
1952 Jack Burke, Jr.   United States 260 -24 2,000 10,000 [16][17]
1951 Dutch Harrison   United States 265* -19 2,000 10,000 [18][19]
1950 Sam Snead   United States 265 -19 2,000 10,000 [20]
1940 Byron Nelson   United States 271* -13 1,500 5,000 [21][22][23]
1939 Dutch Harrison   United States 271 -13 1,250 5,000 [24][25]
1935–38 No tournament
1934 Wiffy Cox   United States 283 -5 750 2,500 [26][27]
1932 Clarence Clark   United States 287 +3 600 2,500 [28][29]
1931 Abe Espinosa   United States 281 -3 1,500 6,000 [30][31]
1930 Denny Shute   United States 277 -7 1,500 7,500 [32][33]
1929 Bill Mehlhorn   United States 277 -7 1,500 6,500 [34][35]
1926 Macdonald Smith   Scotland 288 +4 1,500 8,000 [36][37][38]
1925 Joe Turnesa   United States 284 E 1,500 6,000 [39]
1924 Joe Kirkwood, Sr.   Australia 279 1,500 6,000 [40]
1923 Walter Hagen   United States 279* 1,500 6,000 [41][42]
1922 Robert MacDonald 281 1,500 5,000 [43]

* Indicates a win in a playoff
^ Indicates weather-shortened to 54 holes
Note: Green highlight indicates scoring records.
Main sources[44][45][46]

Texas Golf Hall of FameEdit

 
The Texas Golf Walk of Fame

The Texas Golf Hall of Fame is now headquartered at Brackenridge Park Golf Course after closing in The Woodlands, Texas in the late 1990's.[47] Several upgrades have been added to the golf course to accommodate The Texas Golf Hall of Fame including a new pavilion to host events and The Texas Golf Walk of Fame. The Texas Golf Walk of Fame connects the Brackenridge Clubhouse and Borglum Studio together with exhibit monuments dedicated to Hall of Fame members. The Cavenders, best known for their sprawling auto sales business, offered $50,000 to underwrite the cost of the Walk of Fame. The Walk of Fame is designed as a garden area that connects the clubhouse to the studio near the 17th green. The family's donation was in honor of their grandfather, legendary longtime San Antonio Country Club head pro Tod Menefee. Their mother, Betty Cavender, also partnered in the grant.[48]

Course Design and FeaturesEdit

Brackenridge Park Golf Course was originally designed by A.W. Tillinghast and opened in 1916.

Course InformationEdit

Brackenridge Park Golf Course - Score Card
Tee Rating/Slope 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Out 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 In Total
Blue 73.9 / 146 394 507 160 359 446 360 407 195 546 3374 388 519 332 156 436 416 486 128 426 3287 6661
White 70.9 / 137 360 469 134 324 422 333 382 168 522 3114 351 469 313 141 377 366 470 115 387 2989 6103
Red 72.3 / 143 394 507 160 359 422 360 382 168 522 3274 388 469 332 156 377 366 486 128 426 3128 6402
Par 4 5 3 4 4 4 4 3 5 36 4 5 4 3 4 4 5 3 4 36 72
Handicap Men's 11 15 17 9 3 13 1 7 5 12 8 16 18 4 6 10 14 2
Handicap Women's 11 1 17 5 7 13 9 15 3 10 2 14 18 12 8 4 16 6

Fairways Grass: TifSport Bermuda.

Greens: Miniverde Ultradwarf Bermuda

Water hazards: Moderate

Sand Bunkers: Heavy

Renovation and RestorationEdit

1968

Brackenridge was completely renovated and remodeled in 1968 due to the construction project on 281 and I-35. The controversial decision to construct U.S. 281 right through the back nine caused the course to lose 10 acres, and a few of the long par 4s on the back nine were shortened. The architecture firm Johnson and Dempsey and Associates, along with George A. Hoffman and Murray Brooks, redesigned the back nine holes to fit on smaller property. Ponds were added to the course but the river was filled in throughout certain parts of the golf course.[49]

2008

The golf course experienced a revival in 2008 after a $7.5 million renovation. Architect John Colligan restored fifteen of the original 18 holes; the course now measures 6,243 yards from the back tees (par-71) and occupies only 113 acres of urban green space.[50]

RecognitionsEdit

In 2012, Brackenridge Park Golf Course was ranked the 29th Best Municipal Golf Course in the United States by Golf Week.[51] The course was also ranked the 16th Best Course in Texas.[52]

External linksEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Meyers, Reid E. (2010). The Ghosts of Old Brack: A Pictorial History of the Brackenridge Park Golf Course. Reid E. Meyers. p. 25. ISBN 978-0-615-35619-8.
  2. ^ Meyers, p.38
  3. ^ Handbook of Texas. "Brackenridge, George Washington". Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved 1 October 2012.
  4. ^ Pfeiffer, Maria. "Brackenridge Park History". City of San Antonio. Retrieved 1 October 2012.
  5. ^ Meyers, pp.26–7
  6. ^ Jaffee, Michelle Koidin. "<< Return to Historic Conservation in San Antonio The Borglum Studio: Mount Rushmore Takes Shape in San Antonio Michelle Koidin Jaffee - Texas Public Radio News". Texas Public Radio. Retrieved 1 October 2012.
  7. ^ Oliver, Richard. "S.A.'s Schriever among inductees to Texas Golf Hall". MySanAntonio.com. Retrieved 2 October 2012.
  8. ^ a b Meyers, p.77
  9. ^ Meyers, p.32
  10. ^ "Ellis Wins Texas Open Tourney on Final Hole". Rome News-Tribune. Rome, Georgia. United Press International. February 23, 1959. p. 3. Retrieved May 10, 2010.
  11. ^ "Donora Native Wins Texas Open". The Pittsburgh Press. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. United Press. February 16, 1958. p. 21. Retrieved May 10, 2010.
  12. ^ "Jay Hebert Wins Texas Open Golf". The Tuscaloosa News. Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Associated Press. February 16, 1957. p. 8. Retrieved May 10, 2010.
  13. ^ "Souchak Wins Texas Open, Breaks Hogan's Records". Ludington Daily News. Ludington, Michigan. Associated Press. February 21, 1955. p. 5. Retrieved May 10, 2010.
  14. ^ "Record Golf By Harper Wins Top San Antonio Prize". The Times-News. Hendersonville, North Carolina. February 23, 1954. p. 10. Retrieved May 10, 2010.
  15. ^ "Holguin Triumphs In Texas Open With 72-Hole 264". Spartanburg Herald. Spartanburg, South Carolina. Associated Press. February 16, 1953. p. 7. Retrieved May 10, 2010.
  16. ^ "Burke Posts Record 260". Reading Eagle. Reading, Pennsylvania. Associated Press. February 18, 1952. p. 12. Retrieved May 10, 2010.
  17. ^ "Worsham Leads The Texas Open Golf Tourney". The Free Lance-Star. Fredericksburg, Virginia. Associated Press. February 15, 1952. p. 8. Archived from the original on 2012-06-04. Retrieved May 10, 2010. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  18. ^ "Harrison Wins Golf Playoff". The Pittsburgh Press. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. United Press. February 13, 1951. p. 29. Retrieved May 10, 2010.
  19. ^ "Harrison, Ford Go Into Open Playoff". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Sarasota, Florida. Associated Press. February 12, 1951. p. 10. Retrieved May 10, 2010.
  20. ^ "Sam Snead Far Ahead In Earnings". The Evening Independent. St. Petersburg, Florida. Associated Press. February 13, 1950. p. 18. Retrieved May 11, 2010.
  21. ^ "Byron Nelson Wins Playoff". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Associated Press. February 13, 1940. p. 16. Retrieved May 11, 2010.
  22. ^ "Pros Start Play For Texas Title". The Evening Independent. St. Petersburg, Florida. Associated Press. February 12, 1940. p. 19. Retrieved May 11, 2010.
  23. ^ "Nelson Hits Golf Stride". Reading Eagle. Reading, Pennsylvania. Associated Press. February 11, 1940. p. 11. Retrieved May 11, 2010.
  24. ^ "Harrison TopsMoney Winners On Golf Circuit". San Jose News. San Jose, California. United Press. February 13, 1939. p. 6. Retrieved May 11, 2010.
  25. ^ "Harrison Gets 66; Tied for 1st in Texas Open". Chicago Daily Tribune. Chicago, Illinois. February 12, 1939. p. A1. Retrieved May 11, 2010.
  26. ^ "Cox Wins In Texas Open Golf Tourney". Berkeley Daily Gazette. Berkeley, California. United Press. February 12, 1934. p. 10. Retrieved May 11, 2010.
  27. ^ "Young Texas Pro Leads Open Field With 136". The Hartford Courant. Hartford, Connecticut. February 11, 1934. p. C2. Retrieved May 11, 2010.
  28. ^ "Clark Captures Texas Tourney From Bif Field". San Jose News. San Jose, California. Associated Press. February 1, 1932. p. 8. Retrieved May 11, 2010.
  29. ^ "Two Tie for Lead in Texas Open with 143". Chicago Daily Tribune. Chicago, Illinois. January 31, 1932. p. A2. Retrieved May 11, 2010.
  30. ^ "Espinosa Cracks Par To Win Texas Crown". The Palm Beach Post. West Palm Beach, Florida. Associated Press. February 2, 1931. p. 3. Retrieved May 11, 2010.
  31. ^ "Abe Espinosa Wins $6000 Texas Open". Berkeley Daily Gazette. Berkeley, California. United Press. February 2, 1931. p. 6. Retrieved May 11, 2010.
  32. ^ "Shute Getse Big Prize In Texas Open Tourney". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Sarasota, Florida. Associated Press. February 3, 1930. p. 8. Retrieved May 11, 2010.
  33. ^ "Shute Wins Texas Open". The Pittsburgh Press. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. United Press. February 3, 1930. p. 11. Retrieved May 11, 2010.
  34. ^ "Melhorn (sic) Is Winner In Texas Open". The Pittsburgh Press. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. United Press. January 28, 1929. p. 27. Retrieved May 11, 2010.
  35. ^ "More Records Drop As Mehlhorn Wins Texas Open Golf Tournament". Reading Eagle. Reading, Pennsylvania. Associated Press. January 28, 1929. p. 16. Retrieved May 11, 2010.
  36. ^ "Melhorn (sic) 'Razzed' Cruickshank Causing Latter To Miss Ten Inch Putt For Texas Crown". Palm Beach Daily News. Palm Beach, Florida. United Press. January 19, 1926. pp. 2–1. Retrieved May 11, 2010.
  37. ^ "Golfers Gather For Texas Open". The Evening Independent. St. Petersburg, Florida. Associated Press. January 14, 1926. p. 6A. Retrieved May 11, 2010.
  38. ^ "Mac Smith With Two 69s Leads Field For Title". San Antonio Express. San Antonio, Texas. Associated Press. January 16, 1926. p. 10.
  39. ^ "Turnesa Awarded $1,500 As Texas Open Champion". San Antonio Express. San Antonio, Texas. Associated Press. February 25, 1925. p. 27.
  40. ^ "Kirkwood Wins Texas Open Golf Tournament". San Antonio Express. San Antonio, Texas. Associated Press. February 17, 1924. p. 27.
  41. ^ "Hagen Nabs Open Title". Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles, California. January 29, 1923. pp. 3–1. Retrieved May 11, 2010.
  42. ^ "Large Field Enters Texas Golf Tourney". The Christian Science Monitor. Boston, Massachusetts. January 26, 1923. p. 12. Retrieved May 11, 2010.
  43. ^ "The 19th Hole". The Evening Independent. St. Petersburg, Florida. February 8, 1922. p. 10. Retrieved May 11, 2010.
  44. ^ Valero Texas Open – Winners Archived 2012-10-13 at the Wayback Machine – at www.pgatour.com
  45. ^ Valero Texas Open – Winners Archived 2014-05-23 at the Wayback Machine – at golfobserver.com (1970–2009)
  46. ^ Sal Johnson and Dave Seanor, ed. (2009). The USA Today Golfers Encyclopedia. New York, New York: Skyhorse Publishing. ISBN 978-1-60239-302-8.
  47. ^ Bailey, Mike. "Texas Golf Hall of Fame is back in business at Brackenridge Park in San Antonio". The Golf Channel. Retrieved 2 October 2012.
  48. ^ Oliver, Richard. "Texas Golf Hall of Fame getting its dream home". MySanAntonio.com. Retrieved 2 October 2012.
  49. ^ Meyers, pp.82–3
  50. ^ GolfNow.com. "Old Brackenridge Park Golf Course is better than ever in San Antonio". GolfNow.com. Retrieved 3 October 2012.
  51. ^ Golf Week Staff. "Golfweek's Best: Municipal Courses (2011-12)". GolfWeek.com. Retrieved 1 October 2012.
  52. ^ Golf Week Staff. "2012 Golfweek's Best Courses: State by State". GolfWeek.com. Retrieved 1 October 2012.