About Brackenridge Park Golf Course
Brackenridge Park Golf Course is the heart of the Alamo City Golf Trail. Located just north of downtown San Antonio, this course is accessible for locals and visitors alike. The 2008 restoration of "Old Brack" re-routed the course to A.W. Tillinghast's (1916) original layout and renewed its conditions to compete with San Antonio's premier golf courses. Anyone playing golf in San Antonio should tee it up at Brackenridge to enjoy its wonderful history and fun city-park layout.
Brackenridge Park Golf Course is also the new site of the Texas Golf Hall of Fame. Come visit the clubhouse to see the "Walk of Fame", the "Wall of Frames", and the Texas Tournament Trophy Room!
DID YOU KNOW?
Brackenridge Park Golf Course is the original home of The First Texas Open! The Valero Texas Open is the 6th oldest professional tournament in golf world-wide, the 3rd oldest on the PGA Tour. From the event's inception until 1940 it was played at Brackenridge Park Golf Course. Even after 1940 it was still played sporadically until 1959. Come play history at Brackenridge and relive the victories of Byron Nelson (1940), Sam Snead (1950), Jack Burke, Jr. (1952), and Mike Souchak (1955). Brackenridge Park was inducted into the Texas Golf Hall of Fame's Texas Registry of Historic Golf Courses category in 1992.
George Washington Brackenridge donated over 100 acres of land to the city to create Brackenridge Park, the park in which the present-day Brackenridge Park Golf Course is located.
Ray Lambert's appointment as City Parks Commissioner in 1915 began a new era for Brackenridge Park. Lambert inherited a parks system that was underfunded and growing quickly. He immediately asked for almost a threefold increase in budget (to $60,000), and earmarked much of this increase for the further development of Brackenridge Park. One of Lambert's major projects was the construction of a public golf course. A public course had been advocated by golf enthusiasts for many years as a tourist attraction for the City. There were three other courses in San Antonio at that time, all private. In October 1915, it was reported that the 18-hole Brackenridge Park golf course was under construction. Noted course designer A.W. Tillinghast was hired to design and build the golf course. A clubhouse was also proposed, as well as a swimming hole "so that after the game the players may enjoy a plunge in the delightful waters of the San Antonio River."
Currently, the historic golf course remains in operation near downtown, and in close proximity to the San Antonio Zoo and Aquarium. San Antonio landmarks, the Witte Museum and San Antonio Japanese Tea Gardens, are also located nearby.
The original clubhouse was a small one-story building that burned down in 1920. In 1922, the City hired Ralph H. Cameron to design and build a new clubhouse for the golf course and the Texas Open. $8,000 was raised by the City for clubhouse construction. Cameron designed other notable San Antonio buildings, including the Scottish Rite Cathedral (1923), the Neo-Gothic Medical Arts Building (1925), the Frost Brothers Store (1930), and the U.S. Post Office and Court House (1937).
An adjacent building to the Brackenridge Park Golf Clubhouse once served as the working studio for artist Gutzon Borglum, the sculptor who created the heads of the U.S. Presidents on Mount Rushmore. The structure was built in 1885 from local limestone and timbers to serve as a water pumping station. In 1905, the pump house became obsolete with the drilling of artisan wells into the Edwards Aquifer. Around the abandoned pump house, the untamed land was sculpted into a golf course. In Reid Meyers' self-published book, "The Ghosts of Old Brack," he spotlights Gutzon Borglum's arrival in San Antonio in 1924 and his rental of the old pump house. Through the windows, he likely would have seen golfers warming up. "That was what made it nice as an artist studio, the setting and light, the large space," says San Antonio historian Maria Watson Pfeiffer.
After Borglum's use of the studio passed, it served as the creative space of other noted regional artists and art students of the Wiite and Fort Sam Houston.
Today, the Borglum Studio looks out on the 17th hole of the golf course.