The Club at Sonterra - North Course
The North Course is one of two courses offered at the Club at Sonterra. It was the club's only golf course before they also acquired the Canyon Creek Course across from it on Loop 1604. Unlike most other courses in the area, there are very few trees on the North Course. The abundance of fairway bunkers makes up for that though. There are several notably difficult holes including the 571-yard opener, which is a monster dogleg right that features an elevated green guarded by bunkers. The sixth is the most scenic hole and it is also a tricky one. It plays over a waterfall and lake to a small green.
|Green (W)||72||5435 yards||72.0||127|
|Red (W)||72||4897 yards||68.9||121|
|Black M: 74.5/138||571||467||169||410||532||165||433||422||426||3595||173||414||391||513||192||577||372||427||416||3475||7070|
|Black/Blue M: 73.2/135||543||450||169||410||532||165||389||390||404||3452||173||396||360||513||179||553||372||389||388||3323||6775|
|Blue M: 72.4/134||543||450||152||377||498||132||389||390||404||3335||148||396||360||496||179||553||357||389||388||3266||6601|
|Blue/White M: 70.9/133||517||400||152||377||498||132||350||363||383||3172||148||371||360||485||141||525||357||345||378||3110||6282|
|White M: 70.3/132 W: 76.0/135||517||400||140||343||481||120||350||363||383||3097||120||371||360||485||141||525||334||345||378||3059||6156|
|White/Green M: 67.8/122 W: 72.9/129||478||328||140||343||481||120||324||261||325||2800||120||371||360||485||141||453||334||319||325||2908||5708|
|Green M: 67.2/119 W: 72.0/127||478||328||120||315||445||120||324||261||325||2716||112||330||306||479||123||453||272||319||325||2719||5435|
|Red M: 64.7/114 W: 68.9/121||387||328||107||315||388||82||290||261||295||2453||94||290||306||397||105||453||243||258||298||2444||4897|
Available FacilitiesClubhouse, Banquet Facilities, Locker Rooms
Available ActivitiesSwimming, Billiards
Available SportsFitness, Tennis
Basic and natural course lacking personality. (sigh)
I'll start by stating that no one in my 4-some is a member of this private club; we acquired a certificate to play. We asked to play the North Course but were instead put on the South Course due to tee time limitations. Had I known that was going to happen, we would've postponed our visit (driving down from Austin) until another day. Anyway, we ended up playing on Wednesday afternoon; the day before Thanksgiving. Upon arrival, we parked and walked our bags down to the check-in 'cabana' area. Being a private club, I thought there might be guys running carts out to newly arrived players. There weren't ... but that's okay. Some clubs provide such services whether you want them or not. And some clubs don't. There were a few groups going off to play one course or the other, but the majority of players appeared to just be on the range hitting balls because they didn't have to be at work. The putting greens (one was in use, another was not) looked large and in great shape. I just didn't have time to test them out.
While the clubhouse et al is on the north side of Loop 1604, the South Course (aka Canyon Creek Course) is ... (wait for it) ... on the south side of the highway. That means the first tee box is about 0.7 miles from the clubhouse (as the crow flies). Wow! And when you tee off from #1, you're a mere 240 feet from the access road ... or 385 feet from the center of the freeway. Thanks Google Maps. A decent drive then puts you next to a drive-thru car wash (among other businesses). I might expect this from a different kind of club. I was just surprised that a private course would be among such daily life in the fast lane (pun intended). I know it's a huge urban area and land is oh-so expensive. I just wasn't expecting it to this level.
The EZ-GO TXT carts were the older electric variety with small cup holders and small glove box areas. And at least on my cart, the brake was extremely sensitive ... had to push ever so gently to get it to engage. The carts did have USB ports but I didn't need to test them out. There were two coolers on the cart -- one had ice and the other contained sand and a scoop. That may be the second time I've seen sand in a cooler. It works. I'd prefer sand in bottles for various reasons. I'd also prefer this cooler spot to instead have a ball and club cleaner. But with these carts having rain hoods (more common at private clubs), I guess that took away the option for sand bottle carriers. Note, I never saw a club nor ball cleaner on the course either. And finally, the towels provided with the cart were, well, overdue for being replaced. I assume they were clean/washed but they were significantly stained to the point that I would never provide them to players on a muny much less a private course. Am I asking for too much? Maybe, maybe not. But I just kept thinking that I expect a lot more from a private club.
You'll find the only bathroom at an intersection of #5 and #14 tee boxes. So at least you have two opportunities as needed. What I found interesting was the beverage cart was parked here under a carport like area. The young lady working the cart had a banquet table set up against the wall with a nicely displayed assortment of items. I'm sure that's helpful in letting folks know what's available and even 'suggestive selling' a particular item or two. That's all fine. However, she didn't move. She didn't drive the course. She just sat there (on her phone) waiting for you to come by twice in your round. Interesting. I've never seen it done that way. I'm sure it has its pros and cons. And remember, there's no clubhouse at the turn on the South Course ... you're on your own.
Regarding the physical condition of the course, it was alright. The tee boxes were a little beat up in spots but otherwise flat (not rounded). The tee markers on each hole seemed close together though so there may not be a lot of difference in overall distance. Essentially (from what I remember), there's really just a single tee box area per hole. Some courses have it this way and others have them spread out to give actual (significant) distance options for various levels of golfers. Moving onto the fairways, we found them in good shape and certainly consistent from hole to hole. But I guess they expect players to all have GPS via phone apps etc? Here's a tip -- we don't. Out of my group, two of us used apps and/or a ($$) rangefinder and the other two just kept asking us "how far do I have?" I didn't see a single distance marker on the course -- no paint on the cart path, no 150yd poles, and no sprinkler head yardage. Maybe this is a trend (?) with some of the newer courses only decades old, but this course has been here since 1954. We've only had these fancy smartphone apps and/or other yardage gadgets for the last 10 years or so, right!? So what have players been using? Continuing on, the cart paths were fine but I noticed a significant number of cracks throughout the course ... again, just not something I'm used to seeing at a 'club.' One thing I didn't see was a single cooler of water, ice, nor cups anywhere on the course. Is this a carryover from the first 6-12 months of COVID-19? Or is this the norm for this course? The rough was typical for the hill country area. The grass will often eat your ball wherein you have to be within just a couple of feet to see it. So make sure you (and your other players) are watching your respective shots. Outside of that (literally), you'll find tons of oak and elm trees, hard dirt, and various small rocks and roots. Bunkers abound because they're easy enough to maintain and add a bit of challenge (or just plain punishment) to the course. They all appeared to be in good shape with clean, soft sand. Most holes had two bunkers around the green, several had three, and I think only one had just one. But I think I only saw one possible fairway bunker so it's limited to the greens. As for water hazards ... what water hazards? Maybe (barely) you can say there's one on #12 but I just don't consider this retention pond to be enough in play; it's certainly not designed as much of a forced carry. Speaking of forced carries ... nope, don't recall anything significant. Now the greens were the best part of the round. They were all in really nice shape and fast. They also had a good amount of break for most putts; challenge accepted.
I normally try to take relevant pictures during my rounds. But I didn't take any 'pretty' pictures that day because I just didn't see anything worth shooting. Maybe the overcast skies made things look dull. But still, there just wasn't anything special about any particular hole, layout, landscape, etc. In the end, it's a very basic and natural course where they cut holes into the landscape and didn't add anything in particular. So there's not anything outwardly aesthetically pleasing about the overall course. I guess it kind of lacks personality -- lacks anything special, unique, and/or memorable. And my assumption is that they have the basic grounds crew out mowing etc as needed but they're not making any efforts to clean up the edges and make it nicer than just average. It could be mistaken for just about any course in the Texas hill country regardless of price.
Obviously, these reviews are about the course played -- the actual holes etc. But being a private club, there's more to talk about than a simple pro shop. The clubhouse was nice from what I saw. Because of the terrain, the pro shop and 19th Hole are on the 2nd floor when you enter from the side or back of the building. The pro shop was probably 2-3 times the size of a normal shop. It was well organized and had plenty of everything you might need. But if you want to get to the 19th Hole where they have bathrooms, lockers, etc., then you have to go back outside and work your way over. It's not as odd as it sounds, but I still questioned the overall layout. What architect would do that? The 19th Hole bar/grill looked nice as well. I saw a few tables seated with a waiter taking their order. There was also a card room for poker and such. The locker room had bathrooms, showers, whirlpool, and steam room. Do folks actually still use those? It all felt very old school ... but not necessarily in a bad way; just maybe a little dated.
Now, I still 'recommend' this course simply because it's not unplayable. It takes a lot for me to not recommend a course. But I wouldn't spend a lot of money on it and I certainly wouldn't be a club member unless I'm always playing the North Course (and that assumes it's in superb condition all around).
Sonterra South Course
Our group played this Course this morning. I have been playing golf for 50 years and the greens on the South Course are the worst that I have ever played. The ball bounces all over with the weeds on the green. There are lots of patches without any grass at all. Horrible for one of the highest priced venues in San Antonio.
I just became a member out at sonterra a few days ago and this was my first time playing it. I really liked the course and was honestly surprised by how nice it is. The layout is unique for every hole on the North Course. There are elevated greens with a lot of slope and they run quick. The bunkers are definitely taken care of. If your looking a club in northern San Antonio definitely check sonterra out.