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La Cantera Resort_Golf_Palmer Clubhouse #18

How to Play the Palmer: the Back 9

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.

Next up, the back nine on the legendary Palmer Course with tips from Head Golf Professional, Judd Campbell.  To get tips for the front nine at the Palmer, click here!

Hole #10 PAR 4

 Making the turn at the Palmer starts your journey through the hills of the inward 9, a blind tee shot leads off the challenging 10th hole. There is a barber pole in the center of the fairway that indicates a good line for your tee shot. The fairway slopes severely from left to right, forcing shots hit down the right side to funnel off of a large cliff.  Your approach shot is to a well-guarded green with bunkers on the back right and left side of the green.   A deep ravine spans that length of the green on the right side; shorter tee shots will force you to carry the ravine on your approach. 

Hole #11 PAR 4

 The 11th hole is the shortest Par 4 at the Palmer Course,  playing less than 300 yards from all but the championship tees.  This hole leaves long hitter with a decision to make.  The safe play is a shot that leaves you in the fairway, even with the bunker on the left.  For most players this will mean leaving the driver in the bag.  Longer hitters who are willing to take the risk can reach the green with a well-placed drive, but beware, the green is guarded on the left and right by bunkers. 

Hole #12 PAR 4

 This uphill Par 4 leads you to one of the highest points in Bexar county.  The hole bends slightly to the left, and has a series of mounds that run down the right side of the fairway.  Due to the severe uphill slope of this hole, drives do not travel as far as they normally would.  Make sure to leave your tee shot left of the mounds. Shots that hit the top or right side of the mounds will be funneled into the South Texas thicket.   Most players will want to consider taking an extra club on the uphill approach shot.  Beware of the deep bunkers that sit on the left side of the green.  

*NOTE- The highest mound on the right side of the fairway is the 2nd highest land elevation in Bexar County a 1,358 feet above sea level!

Hole #13 PAR 3

 My personal favorite, the 13th is a dramatic Par 3 that drops almost 80ft from tee to green.  The wind that swirls through the surrounding hills, coupled with the elevation change, makes this one of the most difficult club selections on the course.  The green is divided by a large ridge that runs through the center and drops off to the lower right portion.  You will want to note which area the flag is in, and try to place your tee shot on the appropriate portion.

Hole #14 PAR 5

 One of the most challenging Par 5’s in South Texas is right here at the Palmer.  The 14th is a long Par 5 that opens up with an uphill, blind tee shot.  Aim for the barber pole in the center of the fairway and let it rip.  If you did not select the appropriate tees for the day on the first hole, you will regret it at the 14th.  Tee shots that do not fly to the top of the hill will leave you with a blind second shot.  This is a three shot hole for 99% of players, only the longest of hitters should even consider going for this green in two.  Beware of the bunker on the left side of the landing area for your approach shot.  Your third shot is in to a heavily bunkered green, with sand traps on all sides that leave little room for error.  The green is fairly large; players should note which side the flag is on and try to avoid a long putt.

Hole #15 PAR 4

 This long Par 4 presents players with one of the most challenging tee shots at the Palmer.  Although the fairway is wide, it bends slightly to the right leading shots hit too far left to run out of room.  The right side of the fairway is bordered by a severe drop off that leads into thick brush.  The approach shot is downhill and players should take this into consideration…it usually plays about one club less than what you would normally hit.  There is a very deep bunker that guards the front-left side of the green, if you miss your approach shot, try and miss right.

Hole #16 PAR 5

 This beautiful hole snakes across two dry creek beds and is reachable in two for longer hitters.  The tee box is elevated, so driver may not be the ideal play for everyone.  You will want to aim for the last mound at the edge of the fairway (before the ravine) and hit something that will leave you short of the drop off.  For players that decide to lay-up on their second shot, you will want to aim at the right edge of the fairway bunker that sits across the ravine.  A shot left short of the bunker will leave you between 100 and 150 yards in to a green that slopes severely from left to right and back to front.  Be sure to stay below the flag with your approach shot, you DO NOT want a downhill putt on this green.

Hole #17 PAR 3

 This is a straight forward Par 3 with bunkers on the front, left, and right sides of the green.  It is the shortest of the Par 3’s at Palmer, and has by far been the sight of the most hole-in-ones.  This is a “green light” so pick your club and “take dead aim.”

Hole #18 PAR 4

 The most majestic finishing hole in Texas.  The 18th hole at Palmer is not only a great golf hole, but it is also a great photo opportunity.  The tee sheet is the last of the four blind shots; an ideal line is at the bell tower of the club house.  If you can keep your tee shot down the left side of the fairway you will hit what I call “the power slot.”  This area of the fairway slopes down and to the right, funneling shots to the bottom tier and leaving you a short iron in.  Make sure to take in the view from the top of the fairway, where you can see the Palmer Clubhouse in the foreground, La Cantera Resort in the back drop, and all of downtown San Antonio beyond that.     

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