Saturday, January 14, 2012
Brackenridge Park, San Antonio
6243 Yds, Par 71, Slope 126, by A.W.Tillinghast, re-fit by John Colligan,
"Brackenridge Park Golf Course, which is the oldest public golf course in Texas, was the first ever host to the Texas Open Golf Tournament in 1922. This historic golf course has the honor of being the first inductee into the Texas Golf Hall of Fame."
It's hard for me to say how the original Tillinghast design has been changed . . . and whether it could be considered an improvement, except in this way: I have also played Memorial Park in Houston, a contemporaneous effort by Braedemus, and Gus Wortham in Houston, the Blackhawk CC in Madison, WI, and "The Horrible Horseshoe" hole at Tour 18, from Colonial CC, another Tillinghast design. From those courses I have inferred certain design principles that I see are kept or not kept in the modern redesign by Colligan:
he has dropped / added holes . . . a former par 3 was pointed out to me . . . it looked like a really interesting hole, all carry and trouble all around that looked like a net loss to me, in that the terrain is sorta flat as a whole, and any trouble is an adornment
he has artificially elevated some greens, this is a net gain, imvho, much more challenging and interesting, shot-value-wise and visually.
he has left well enough alone (imvho) in many cases, so that the original routings, layouts, green complexes, bunker shaping, remains. There are some straightline fairway edges and squarish greens that look old fashioned to me, but not necessarily in the Tillinghast mold, so I don't know whether Brackinridge got an "economy" job way-back-when, or if it was done for modern greenskeeping reasons.
an entirely competent, desirable, effective re-fitting.
the course condition was forgiveable: playable, but damaged, from winter conditions and The Drought.
c.f. Top 10 Tillinghast courses: