Leave the Driver in the Bag, Buddy

Precision is the key at demanding SilverHorn Golf Club, one of San Antonio’s best tracks.

Sometimes it’s hard for a golfer to rein in his game and to enact a little course management when the challenges in his face seem to call for a lot of length and power. That’s the real genus of SilverHorn Golf Club, a demanding and oft-daunting track hard by the San Antonio International Airport that calls for precision and thought as opposed to a bomb and gauge attack.

SilverHorn Golf Club

Fashioned to augment the rolling and distinct Hill Country character of 262-acres of tree-lined property that he used as his palate, renowned golf course architect Randy Heckenkemper has hit a home run at SilverHorn. PGA Tour pros Willie Wood and Scott Verplank were consultants on the project.

Heckenkemper, who has also designed the sublimely good Territory Golf Course in Duncan, Oklahoma, Pinnacle County Club in Rogers, Arkansas and the fabulous TPC Champions course in Scottsdale, Arizona, routed SilverHorn with tree-lined fairways, strategic use of sand and water and beautifully framed contoured greens.

Those tests – and a remarkable set of memorable holes – combine to make SilverHorn joy to play and daunting if you are not on your best game. “We took a piece of property that was in a flood plain near the airport and accentuated all its best features,” Heckenkemper said. “We made sure that SilverHorn is both challenging and fun, and we kept in mind pace-of-play issues and the hope that a lot of people can be put out on the course at the same time.”

Opened for play in 1996 and managed by Palmer Golf, SilverHorn is carded at 6,922 yards from the tips and the constant wind makes it play even more than the stated yardage. The course is rated at 73.4 and sloped at 138 from its back set of six tees, which include black and silver sets for both men and ladies. Water comes into play on 13 holes and there are 32 sand traps scattered strategically around the track. The terrain is fairly flat, but some of the tees and greens are elevated.

Even with the water and the sand, the dominant feature at SilverHorn are its narrow fairways, some of which are defined by rock-bed creeks (generally dry) that cross in spots in front of the greens.

The real test at SilverHorn begins after the turn and hits you right in the face on the 10th hole, a narrow 547-yard par-5 with danger on both sides of the fairway. Any shot that is not struck perfectly off the tee will move hard to the left toward a dry creek bed, and the putting surface is hidden and guarded securely by a stand of unforgiving oak trees on the left and a small bunker on the right.

SilverHorn Golf Club has been ranked among “The Top 25 Courses in Texas” by The Dallas Morning News. Golf Digest magazine listed the course in its “Places to Play” guide for 2001. If you’ve got an A game you’d best bring it to SilverHorn, whose tree-lined fairways and insidious creeks demand precise shot selection and execution.


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