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2023 Valero Texas Open Course Preview

2023 Valero Texas Open Course Preview

2023 VALERO TEXAS OPEN COURSE PREVIEW – The PGA TOUR makes the trip from Austin to San Antonio this week to host the 101st Valero Texas Open. This is the longest running tournament in Texas on the PGA TOUR and San Antonio has hosted the event since 1922.

The Valero comes off the heels of an exciting end to the WGC Dell Match Play in which Sam Burns out-dueled both Cam Young and close friend, Scottie Scheffeler, to take home a tournament win. Burns had played well the week before the Valspar Championship (a tournament he’d won twice before) and put together an impressive back nine during match play last Sunday to beat the best golfer in the world.

The Valero always features a unique field. Many of the world’s top golfers skip this tournament in order to tune-up for the Masters Championship at August National, which will take place next week, April 6th – 9th.

The placement of this tournament also means that players seeking an exemption, like Rickie Fowler, will have to get a win at the Valero in order to qualify for the Masters.

While our resident golf guru, Nate Perry, will hand out his picks from the field tomorrow, I’m here to give you a course preview and tournament history to prime the pump for your gambling glory. Let’s get to the course.

AT&T Oaks Course at TPC San Antonio

The AT&T Oaks course at TPC San Antonio plays host to the Valero for the 13th time since 2010 (skipping the 2020 pandemic year).

Greg Norman designed TPC San Antonio, with help from Sergio Garcia, who Norman brought in as a consultant. The course plays a par-72 at 7,438 yards. It features a standard hole breakdown with ten par-4s, four par-5s, and four par-3s.

The Grass

The course is overseeded with Champion Fine: 80% Perennial Ryegrass and 20% Chewing Fescue in November in preparation of the tournament. The greens are treated with Poa Trivialis. However, Bermuda was specially selected for this course and we could see Bermuda on the fairways, rough, and green with native Texas grasses on some of the outlying areas.

The Oak Trees

One of the most challenging aspects of this course is the narrow fairways with oak trees lining both sides. An errant tee shot can land a strong golfer in the rough and demand he take more risks than usual to get himself out of the trees.

This requires that golfers be strong off of the tee. They don’t necessarily have to drive the ball the furthest, but they need to be accurate so they aren’t constantly going to war with a bevy of oak trees on either side of the fairway.


While it’s certainly important to be accurate with the driver, most golfers who are successful at TPC San Antonio do so because of ball striking and approach. The course ranks in the top ten in longest courses off the tee, but it’s also one of the least-penal courses on the TOUR.

This means that the course is forgiving and allows golfers with a strong irons game and good approach numbers to play well here.

TPC San Antonio relies on weather conditions to add to the difficulty of the course. The Texas wind can really rip through the trees this time of year and, depending on the rain, the greens can play either fast or slow.

Many experts believe that the greens will play fast due to the unseasonably hot March in San Antonio that has led to dry conditions. Look for good ball strikers to keep themselves in contention with strong approach shots, bogey avoidance, and fairways gained.

Are There Any Interesting Holes?

Not really. The TOUR touts the 16th, 17th, and 18th holes as some of the most unique in golf, but they aren’t particularly difficult. The par-3 16th features a bunker in the middle of the green, which is more annoying than interesting. There’s nothing cool about sand in the of a green.

The par-4 17th contains a drivable green and the par-5 18th is one of only two holes with water. The water hazard is a small creek that runs in front of the green. It can be easily avoided and does not manufacture much drama on Sundays.

Past Winners

Due to the position of the tournament in the TOUR schedule, past winners run the gamut from unknowns to superstars. Most of the past winners tend to be accurate off the tee, strong with their irons, and familiar with the Texas winds. The weather can play such a factor here that not every golfer fits the SG: APP mold.

Here are your past winners:

2023 Valero Texas Open Course Preview
Past Winners of the Valero include great ball strikers.

What to Look For

Stay tuned for Nate’s full preview on the field tomorrow. Look for golfers who do the following well:

  • Ball Striking
  • SG: APP
  • Bogey Avoidance
  • Fairways Gained

Also consider golfers who are hungry for a win. Many of these guys are playing this week in order to receive a special exemption to compete at the Masters. Never underestimate a golfer’s will to play at August National.



  • Jack Fredericks, Editor

    Jack Fredericks is the editor of Godzilla Wins. He has a M.A. Literature and the Environment and a M.A. in Teaching. He covers the NFL, college football, and the NBA. He combines his unique perspective with advanced metrics to provide robust analysis for your enjoyment. Twitter: @JohnMattFred

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