One of the world’s best places to stay

A group of Texas Golf Writers got a repay at the Westin La Cantera Resort in San Antonio recently after being rained out last July during their summer convention. On Cond’ Nast Traveler’s Gold List of the world’s best places to stay, the hotel, golf courses and golf academy are located only minutes from historic downtown San Antonio. It’s located just behind Fiesta Texas off Interstate 10 North. In fact, it’s only two hours from Brady. Two championship golf courses, the Resort Course (where the PGA Tour plays every September) and the newly-completed Palmer Course, are the ultimate attractions for the golf enthusiast. The hotel is set atop one of San Antonio’s highest points, nestled in the heart of the beautiful Texas Hill Country. The Westin La Cantera Resort provides 508 guest rooms, including 38 luxurious rooms in a secluded Casita Village. A large meeting space is also available for companies and corporations. The resort offers five restaurants, six pools, three hot tubs, the Enchanted Rock for kids and a 7,600 square foot Enchanted Rock Health Club and Spa. The Resort Course at La Cantera (which means limestone quarry in Spanish) was designed by Jay Morrish and Tom Weiskopf and hosts the PGA Valero Texas Open in the fall. It’s a par-72 that winds through hills and valleys. The course is ranked one of the country’s top courses by Golf Digest and Golf Magazine. This impressive 7,001-yard par 71 layout winds its way through towering oaks and meandering streams. Known for its breathtaking views, the most famous being the sheer, 80-foot drop from the 7th tee to the fairway, the course offers a spectacular view of Six Flags Theme Park and downtown San Antonio. Newly-finished in 2001, the Palmer Course at La Cantera is a 6,998-yard par 71 course which is situated over 250 acres near the Resort Course. It’s carefully crafted into the natural landscape which is enhanced by flawless rock outcroppings, rolling hills, majestic views and native vegetation and wildlife. The course’s No. 4 hole, a 188-yard par 3 from the back tees, requires a long carry over a lake with dramatic waterfalls on the right and entire front of the green. The course is golf legend Arnold Palmer’s first in South Texas and his fifth in the state. The clubhouse on The Palmer Course is a piece of art. The aim of its designer, William Zmistowski was “to create an unparalleled historic experience, using 18th century Texas Missionstyle.” “It’s simply a gorgeous place to relax and enjoy a sandwich and a cold beverage after a round of golf on the majestic course,” one TGWA member said. Almost between both golf courses is The Academy at La Cantera, led by director of instruction Michael Lamanna. It features a custom-designed learning center complete with indoor hitting bay, covered tee areas and a spacious grass hitting area for both long and short game work. The teaching bay houses a state-of-the-art video system with multiple camera angles used to analyze your swing and explain principles that help you become a better golfer. The Academy offers a variety of instruction programs, schools and corporate programs. According to La Cantera’s promotion department, the Westin’s group saw that the site came directly from the history, culture and the land of Texas. Both the architecture and decor mirror the state’s European influences in everything from castlelike towers to heavy wooden doors recalling the old Spanish missions. The site’s own history of a limestone quarry shows up as magnificent stone work laid throughout a courtyard designed to mimic rain-fed pools at an excavated quarry. Known as the Lost Quarry Pools, the courtyard embraces five swimming pools, two hot tubs, waterfalls and a poolside bar. Information on the facilities: ‘Location: 12 miles from San Antonio International Airport in northwest San Antonio. ‘Property: 300 acres. ‘Accommodations: 508 rooms and suites. ‘Meeting Space: 39,000 sq. ft. ‘Recreation: 36 holes of championship golf, six pools, three hot tubs, two tennis courts, fitness center with spa services, children’s activities center with Westin Kids Club, and the Six Flags Fiesta Texas theme park next door. ‘Range of Rates: $179-$384. ‘Reservations: 210/558-6500. ‘Mailing Address: 16641 La Cantera Parkway, San Antonio, Tex., 78256. ‘Web Site: www.westinlacantera. com or www.westin.com. ‘General Manager: Anthony M. Cherone.

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