Course Review: Quail Run Golf Course by Tony Vaught

In today’s golf environment of high-priced greens fees, GPS and music piped onto the practice range there are still places where the game exists as it was in the early days of the sport.

Quail Run is that type of place. A true links-style course located deep in the heart of Texas in the rolling terrain of a former ranch only about 20 miles east of San Antonio in La Vernia. Built in 1997 by local architect Bert Buehler, the course was designed with minimal trees, rolling fairways, undulating greens and coastal rough, all combining with the persistent Texas wind to present a new challenge on every hole. For example, from 168-yards on the par-3 third, I crushed a 2-iron and was still short of the green while Golfer’s Guide regional publisher Mike Ratchman had to tag a 3-wood (yes, 3-wood) to get it pin high. In contrast, from 170-yards on the par-3 seventh, a short-iron or wedge was all we needed. Be sure to bring your big sticks, even on a calm day as Quail Run runs out to just over 7,000 yards from the
back tees.

The greens - many of which are small and interestingly shaped - remain a strong point of the course. Long waste bunkers alongside fairways, regular bunkers around greens and coastal rough 4-6 inches (and maybe strokes) deep are all abundant here. I’d suggest you bring your “A” game, but that doesn’t do Quail Run justice. Another plus is that after a long, heavy rain in the area, Quail Run is one of the few courses that is playable almost immediately. It’s signature hole, the 322-yard par-4 seventh, formerly the 16th, demands a tee shot in the fairway between that coastal rough on either side to set up the approach to another of those multi-level greens.

New owners Rick and Ken Bierschwale (father and son) and Ken’s uncle Chuck Dosser bought the course in mid-2003 and realize there’s much work to be done. Yet it is quite evident that a true love of the game drove these three, who have other full-time jobs in addition to running this course. Other family members are involved in the operation and son Ken says “we like to showcase that sort of atmosphere.” Father Rick is quick to remind us that “everything we make at the golf course goes right back into the golf course. We’re not working for free, but for the long term.” And that’s exactly the feeling you get when you walk inside the pro shop. There’s no high pressure to get you to the tee on time and no “give me the money and go away” attitude. To get a feeling of playing the Old Course at St. Andrews or even Royal Troon without leaving Central Texas, Quail Run just may be your best bet, at a great value.


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