SAN ANTONIO – Let me say this right away: what I know about golf could be written on one of those little tees. So what possessed me to go on a family golfing vacation?
I blame my links-loving husband, who convinced me that the future success of our two teenage sons’ careers hinged on their ability to schmooze on a golf course.
He also suggested that I “remember the Alamo.” Not because I’d be making a personal sacrifice for the greater good, but because we’d be golfing in San Antonio, home to that famous landmark. Every day—after our golf lessons, of course—we’d venture off to see the region’s historical sites.
In the end, I agreed – as long as we stayed someplace really nice. That turned out to be the Westin La Cantera Resort. Ranked No. 2 in the “Top 30 Resorts in North America” by Condé Nast Traveler, it sits on the outskirts of San Antonio, on the edge of Hill Country, one of Texas’ prettiest regions thanks to rolling hills, lazy rivers and stands of oak and cedar trees.
The resort – a mix of white stucco walls, red tiles, heavy wooden doors and intricate wrought iron – is meant to be reminiscent of the region’s 18th-century Spanish missions and ranches. It came with tennis courts and six swimming pools, but more importantly for our purposes, both the Palmer Course and the Resort Course, home to the PGA Tour’s Valero Texas Open, were a chip shot away. So was the golf school.
It’s here we met Mike Lamanna, a PGA professional and, at the time of our visit, head of La Cantera Golf Academy. In our three mornings with Lamanna we made more golf progress than I thought possible.
My sons learned that a golf swing is like a baseball swing, just bent over. I worked to master the proper grip, placing the club more in my fingers than in my palms and moving my left thumb toward the backside of the shaft. We all practised hitting the golf ball’s equator, rather than its south pole. My husband worked on breaking a lifetime of bad habits including trying to crush the ball with every mighty swing. Not that a mere three days was nearly enough time to come away feeling like I’d mastered the game. When I despaired that I’d never get my swing right, Lamanna assured me that, “The first 100 years of playing golf are the hardest.”
But it was family time to the max. We drove, chipped and putted together and watched each other get video-analyzed. We all applauded when Lamanna balanced one ball on top of another, then hit them both so one went in the hole and the other flew up and into the hat he whipped off his head. Surely that was proof of a life well-lived?
After our final lesson, I admitted to Lamanna that I might be hooked. Who knew that golf could be so addictive? Well, Lamanna, for one. “Yup,” he said with a smile, and “I’m the dealer.”
For more information on the Westin La Cantera Resort and La Cantera Golf Academy visit www.lacanteragolfclub.com.
For more information on San Antonio go to the San Antonio Convention & Visitors Bureau website at www.visitsanantonio.com.