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Brackenridge Park Golf Course facts for kids

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Brackenridge Park Golf Course
Brackenridge Park Golf Course Club House.jpg
Brackenridge Park Club House
Club information
Location San Antonio, Texas
Established 1916
Owned by City of San Antonio
Operated by Alamo City Golf Trail
Total holes 18
Tournaments hosted Texas Open (1922-1926, 1929-1932, 1934, 1939-1940, 1950-1955, 1957-1959)
Website alamocitygolftrail.com
Brackenridge Park Golf Course
Designed by A.W. Tillinghast
Par 71
Length 6,243 yards (5,709 m)
Course rating 70.3
Slope rating 126

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. Brackenridge Park was the original site of the Texas Open which held the tournament for most years between 1922-1959. 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.

History

Location

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.

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."

Currently the historic golf course remains in operation near downtown, and in 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 Clubhouse

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).

Borglum Studio

Borglum Studio (Oct 2012) in San Antonio, Texas
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.

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

The Schrievers

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.

Notable records

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

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

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 Open

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.

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
1958 Bill Johnston  United States 274 -10 2,000 15,000
1957 Jay Hebert  United States 271 -13 2,800 20,000
1955 Mike Souchak  United States 257 -27 2,200 12,500
1954 Chandler Harper  United States 259 -25 2,200 12,500
1953 Tony Holguin  United States 264 -20 2,000 10,000
1952 Jack Burke, Jr.  United States 260 -24 2,000 10,000
1951 Dutch Harrison  United States 265* -19 2,000 10,000
1950 Sam Snead  United States 265 -19 2,000 10,000
1940 Byron Nelson  United States 271* -13 1,500 5,000
1939 Dutch Harrison  United States 271 -13 1,250 5,000
1935–38 No tournament
1934 Wiffy Cox  United States 283 -5 750 2,500
1932 Clarence Clark  United States 287 +3 600 2,500
1931 Abe Espinosa  United States 281 -3 1,500 6,000
1930 Denny Shute  United States 277 -7 1,500 7,500
1929 Bill Mehlhorn  United States 277 -7 1,500 6,500
1926 Macdonald Smith  Scotland 288 +4 1,500 8,000
1925 Joe Turnesa  United States 284 E 1,500 6,000
1924 Joe Kirkwood, Sr.  Australia 279 1,500 6,000
1923 Walter Hagen  United States 279* 1,500 6,000
1922 Robert MacDonald 281 1,500 5,000

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

Texas Golf Hall of Fame

Texas Golf Walk of Fame
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 1990s. 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.

Course Design and Features

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

Course Information

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 Restoration

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.

2008

The golf course experienced a revival in 2008 after a $4.5 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.

Recognitions

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

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