Briggs Ranch - Texas - USA

Briggs Ranch Golf Club,
13777 Briggs Ranch,
San Antonio,
Texas 78245,
USA


  • +1 (0) 210 670 9400

The Tom Fazio designed signature course at Briggs Ranch Golf Club is the centrepiece of an exclusive residential estate close to downtown San Antonio.

The $10 million Briggs Ranch Golf Club is the first private course to be built close to San Antonio for more than 20 years and it’s a golf-only facility, which put itself immediately on the map as the first ever golf course to use total Zeon Zoysia turfgrass, except for bentgrass greens.

Sadly, as is the theme for many US courses, only a lucky few will ever be fortunate enough to take divots from the Zeon Zoysia at Briggs Ranch.
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Reviews for Briggs Ranch

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Description: The Tom Fazio designed signature course at Briggs Ranch Golf Club is the centrepiece of an exclusive residential estate close to downtown San Antonio. Rating: 7 out of 10 Reviews: 1
TaylorMade
Mark White

In June 2017 Briggs Ranch was acquired by Hana Golf and added into The Dormie Network. This high-end gated community and club was likely “failing” at the time despite its very good golf course and facilities. Four years later, the growth of greater San Antonio is now west of the city as opposed to north with the area now adding schools, restaurants, and shops to meet the needs of the expanding population. For the few but large homes that sit inside the gates of Briggs Ranch, they have likely now seen a good return on their investment as The Dormie Network continues to build out the club’s cottages and infrastructure while making improvements to the golf course.

The course originally opened in 2001 featuring zeon zoysia fairways that provide a near perfect lie. It sits on 260 acres with 100 acres being sodded to construct the course. The course was designed by Tom Fazio although Beau Welling and Dennis Wise also assisted in the design. Bill Rogers and Buddy Cool, local San Antonio golf leaders also added their ideas. The one mistake I think they made was having bent grass greens which do not hold up year round with heat that can reach well over 100 degrees for weeks at a time. We saw a lot of distress on the greens.

As the course is 20 years old there was also evidence that the several green sizes have been allowed to shrink based on the mowing patterns.

From the tee to green the course is in excellent condition and I am certain The Dormie Network will get the greens to where they should be for the entirety of the year even if they have to change the greens to Bermuda.

The course is wonderfully routed over rolling, sometimes hilly, sometimes level terrain. Despite the suburban sprawl that is occurring near it, the course is quiet and peaceful due to the size of the property with much of the course sitting below the higher surrounding terrain. The landscape has a nice amount of trees and brush to add to the ambience. There is only one pond on the course.

The fairways are usually wide/generous often played to from a slightly elevated tee providing a sight line. As with many courses designed by Tom Fazio, one knows exactly where they should be placing their tee shots.

There is not an over-abundance of bunkers, probably less than 75. These bunkers more often come into play at the green given the width of the fairways. However, there are several dogleg holes both with inner and outer bunkers that influence one’s tee shot. Several of these are multi-fingered and very long. Many of the bunkers are deep whether set on the side of a hill, or carved into a fairway or near an elevated green. I did not find a bunker that was difficult to escape from, but some of the fairway bunkers are deep enough to warrant a layup shot rather than having a chance to go from the green. On a few holes there is a good use of double-bunkers near the green with the lower/first bunker being the more difficult one.

The green surfaces generally are large with a few having a defined spine although never overly high. There are not many swales or mounds within the greens, but more often slopes and plateaus. The thirteenth hole is the only hole that I can recall with a significant second tier, in this case a falloff of nearly six feet.

The green surrounds are more defined by the bunkers that are near the green rather than having any mounding or humps. There are several tall falloffs but none where you feel you might putt off the green.

1. Par 4 - this longer par 4 is one of the better holes on the course. The hole plays as a dogleg left that has two inner corner very large bunkers spaced 20 yards apart and a flat landing area for average length hitters while longer hitters can find the downslope towards the green. The green is guarded by a deep front right bunker with a thin green behind it.

2. Par 4 - while the first fairway is wide the second fairway is narrower due to the trees and flaming bunkers on both sides creating a sense of narrowness. The green is protected by two bunkers on the left side but I found the green to be relatively uninteresting.

3. The first par 3 is medium length playing to an elevated green with a collection of three bunkers on the left side and one on the right set short of the green. The green reminded me of the previous hole.

4. Par 4 - For the linger hitters this is a drivable par 4 but one needs to carry a large bunker on the right side. Most players will lay up short of this bunker and the fairway bunker on the left. There is a single green side bunker on the right that is very much in okay as the green is angled to the right. The green has three relatively small tiers.

5. Par 5. This is a short par 5 playing from an elevated tee. Bigger hitters need to avoid the flaming bunkers but they are not really in play for average length players. The fairway Tito’s to the right. If one’s drive is to the right their second shot could be blocked and they will find themselves aiming toward a bunker on the left farther down. The green sits behind flanking trees acting like goalposts to a raised green with two large irregular shaped bunkers on the front corners. If one can stay out of the bunkers and say in the middle of the fairway, an eagle or birdie is a real possibility.

6. This medium length hole is the only one with water on the course in the form of a long pond down the left side of the fairway continuing to the green. The right side of this fairway features a sizable ridge running the length of the fairway. There is a large bunker built on the higher part of this hill which did not seem to have a purpose. There is a bunker on the left front of the green but the real danger is the water about 8 feet away. The green is angled to the left with subtle movement. It is a hole that I offers nothing unique. The back tee offers a different playing angle between an narrow opening.

7. Par 5. This longer par 5 plays from an elevated tee with the two staggered bunkers on the right in play for the average length player. There are long and irregular shaped bunkers on opposite sides so the key is to stay in the middle of the fairway. The green side bunkers are not much of an issue for this raised greens with undramatic tiering. I did like the hole.

8. Par 3. This is the shortest par 3 with a small green guarded by a front central bunker. I did not find it to be visually appealing.

9. Par 4.This is one of the best green complexes at Briggs Ranch. The tee shot must find the center as the fairway is lined with trees on both sides as well a a large bunker on the left side. The green is raised and bumped in the middle leading to substantial falloffs on all sides. There is a large bunker on the front right center and another right middle. This green complex features a lot of land movement surrounding the green. One wonders why there is not more of this on the golf course. This is another hole where the back tee offers a different angle to the fairway.

10. Par 4. This hole is downhill and a dogleg left. There are large bunkers on the inner and outer corners with the right one placed too far up the fairway. As you reach your ball the green complex is revealed with three fronting bunkers. One cannot really see the depth of the green. If one misses the green to the right then one could be on a hill behind a tree. There is a steep,falloff behind the green.

11. Par 5. At 595 yards from the back tee one might think it’s the longest hole on the course but it not. Again, the back tee offers an entirely different angle playing out more to the right than the shorter tees which have a straight tee shot. There are three long serpentine bunkers as you make your way to the green, with the left one being 100 yards in length. The green is slightly raised with five deep bunkers fronting the green. This is a fine par 5.

12. Par 4. After a long par 5 comes the longest par 4 on the course. There is an area of tall grasses down the left side more in play from the back tee. The hole plays relatively straight with no fairway bunkers. The green is raised, long and angled to the left protected by two deep bunkers. I liked the green with a bank right to left and a second tier.

13. Par 5. I found the longest hole at 605 yards to be the best hole on the course. The hole plays as a dogleg right with a large set of bunkers down the right inner corner. One should play as left as possible because it takes a 400 yard tee shot to clear it. The green is very wide with a substantial drop-off to the right side. The left side has a second short grass are on higher ground beginning about 80 yards from the left side of the green. The right side of the green is protected by deep bu Jersey with a narrow gap between them. If the hole location is on the right, one simply must come in from the right center of the fairway with a high lofted shot to hold the thin green. If one goes long on the right side there will end up well below the green in high grass where there is also a tree. This hole really offers everything.

14. Par 4. This is another drivable short par 4 but as the green is placed well left it is somewhat hidden from the tee. The fairway has two long deep “sahara” bunkers down the left side as well as large trees on the left. One can hit a shorter shot down the right but if they go too far they will be blocked by a tree requiring a low shot to run onto the green. The green is somewhat flat. It is a fun hole.

15. Par 3. This longer par 3 reminded me of the two previous par 3’s as you play across a valley. The green has a substantial fall-off down the right side and short of the green. The right side bunker might be as deep as twelve feet. The green is somewhat flat. This is another hole where the back tee is set far to the right side requiring a shaped shot to the green.

16. Par 4. This is a sharp dogleg right with two right side bunkers. If one goes too far right they will blocked by trees to the green. The green is elevated with deep bunkers on the front left and right side. The left side has a substantial falloff. It is another fun hole.

17. Par 3. I liked this par 3 the most playing slightly uphill. The green is much larger

than it appears with a larger left side and is protected by three bunkers.

18. Par 4. The back tee is 100 yards longer than the member tee but the dogleg right plays downhill then uphill to a two tired green with a third small hump at the very back. The tee shot has an inner corner long bunker. From the member tees this is a weak finishing hole.

Briggs Ranch is a fun and enjoyable golf course. It will likely never crack the top ten courses in Texas but it is a positive addition to their portfolio of courses in The Dormie Network.

October 28, 2021
7 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

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Ryan Book
October 28, 2021

If you don't mind Mark, could you expand a bit on the idea of one knowing "exactly where they should be placing their tee shots" as it relates to Fazio, and how this differentiates from, say, Ross? Is this a suggestion that there's only one true route at Fazio courses, versus multiple at a Ross?

I only ask because, at least in my corners of the internet, Fazio is often the punching bag of armchair architecture enthusiasts...and sometimes I worry they don't actually know why they're beating up poor Tom. This is a chance to perhaps put some meat on that bone...or defend his honor, if your statement was a positive one!

Mark White
October 28, 2021

Ryan,

In my opinion, the best courses designed by Tom Fazio are routed and designed where one stands on the tee and pauses to consider multiple landing zones, whether they are a longer, average length or shorter hitter. At Briggs Ranch and several of his above average courses, when I stood on the tee for the first time I immediately knew the landing zone. There is not much mystery. On my second round the same day, I did not change my decision on a single tee shot.

At Briggs Ranch, my comment is a result of the use of elevated tees where one can see clearly what is laid out. The placement of the bunkers, particularly when the bunkers are large, whether wide or long also leads to an obvious decision to avoid them. Mr. Fazio also places a lot of bunkers on the outer corners of doglegs, again limiting the options. Finally, many of his courses do not play firm and fast so one also does not have to worry too much about the rollout of a ball once it lands.

I do think Briggs Ranch is an above-average design by Mr. Fazio.

Unlike one golf magazine and website in particular, I believe Mr. Fazio is too heavily criticized, but on the other hand I also believe he has too many courses represented in the top 200 in the USA, even if I am slightly biased towards classic design and links-like courses.