La Cantera Resort_Golf_Palmer Clubhouse #18

How to Play the Palmer: The Front 9

Insider Tips from La Cantera Resort's Golf Pros

La Cantera Hill Country Resort is home to two incredible championship golf courses, both offering our guests an opportunity to test their skills, soak in beautiful views and enjoy all that a great course has to offer. Over the next several weeks, our Golf Pros will be sharing their secrets of each hole, so you can play your best round ever.


 First up, the front nine on the legendary Palmer Course with tips from Head Golf Professional, Judd Campbell.  

 Hole #1 PAR 4

 A drive short of the rock cropping that runs across the center of the fairway will leave you a short iron into the green.  The green has a deceivingly severe left to right slope that will funnel golf shots towards the lower portion of the green.   Ideally, your approach shot should end up to the right of the flag stick to leave you with an uphill put.

Hole #2 PAR 4

 It is important to select the right club off of the tee here.  Hole #2 has a dry creek bed that runs across the fairway about 120 yards from the green.   Hitting driver off of the tee will leave longer hitters in the hazard, a 3 wood or hybrid is ideal to leave yourself a mid-iron onto the green.  The green is separated into an upper tier on the left and lower tier on the right.  It is important to place your second shot on the appropriate tier, depending on the hole placement, to avoid a difficult putt. 

Hole #3 PAR 5

 This par 5 is a three shot hole for all but the longest of hitters.  It bends slightly to the right with dense vegetation lining both sides of the fairway.  There is a small bunker along the left side of the fairway that provides a good aiming point for your tee shot.  There is a large bunker that protects the left side of the green for those that try to “get home” in two.  Beware of the spine that runs through the middle of the green.  It is hardly noticeable, but will affect putts that roll across it.

Hole #4 PAR 3

 This beautiful Par 3 is a tribute to Arnold Palmer’s late wife, Winnie.  The green is situated in a grove of trees across a pond that covers the distance between players and the hole.  Needless to say, it is better to be a little long than a little short on this hole. If you are between clubs, take the extra club and give it a ride.  As you walk to the green, take a moment to read Winnie’s memorial plaque and take in the stunning bridge that leads you to the green.  At first glance the bridge appears to be made of wood, but a closer look reveals that it is actually concrete.  It was hand carved by a local artist to give the appearance a log bridge. 

Hole #5 PAR 4

Listed as the number one handicap, this Par 4 is a true test.  There is a ravine that runs down the right and covers the length of the landing area for tee shots. Aim left off the tee, there is more room than appears.  The fairway slopes from left to right leaving shots hit down the right side of the landing area in the ravine.  The green is guarded by a small bunker in the front, a larger bunker on the back side, and severe slopes on the right that funnel balls away from the putting surface.  The green slopes back to front, so shots into the green will stop if they hit the surface. 

Hole #6 PAR 4

This downhill Par 4 has a bunker on the right side of the fairway that is reachable for longer hitters.  This hole may seem straight forward, but beware of the heavily guarded green, with bunkers on the right and backside and a small pond situated to catch any balls that fall short and left of the green. 

Hole #7 PAR 3

 The 7th is a deceptively tricky, short Par 3.  Bunkers guard the front, right, and left side of the green, while the putting surface itself slopes from front to back and forces shots that are a little long to roll out.  The center of the green is the ideal position here.

Hole #8 PAR 4

 The first of four blind tee shots throughout the course, golfers will want to aim at the black and white barber pole in the center of the fairway.  This is a short Par 4 that does not require a driver for most players.  There is a severe slope on the right side of the fairway that will funnel errant tee shots into the South Texas thicket.  The approach shot on this hole is downhill and that should be taken into account.  Be careful not to miss the green short or right, there are two deep bunkers that protect those sides of the green.

Hole #9 PAR 4

 The 9th hole is one of the most challenging holes on the Palmer Course.  It is a dogleg right, Par 4 with water hazards that run along the right side of the fairway and in front of the green.  It is important to hit a good tee shot here if you want to reach the green in two.  A good line for golfers that play a fade (left to right ball flight) is the right side of the fairway bunker.  For longer hitters, the bunker that is visible from the tee box is reachable.  Don’t be afraid to lay-up if you don’t think you can reach the green on your second shot, there is a generous landing area short of the hazard.  This hole plays more like a Par 4.5, four is a good score on the 9th.

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