North Texas swing brings travel spotlight to Big D's courses
Special to PGATOUR.COM
Time was, Dallas hung its spurs on being one of the top business destinations in the world. “Big D” hasn’t relinquished this crown. However, the Metroplex has also emerged as a bona fide golf destination over the past decade with the addition of a fistful of top-notch resorts and daily-fee courses.
And as any hardened business pro will attest, getting into and out of Dallas is the traveling equivalent of a tap-in. Dallas Love Field (home of Southwest Airlines) and Dallas/Fort Worth International (American Airlines primary hub) offer hundreds of direct flights daily, with sub-four hour travel times to both the East and West Coasts.
Where to Play
TPC Four Seasons Las Colinas
The home of the HP Byron Nelson Championship since 1983 is located just a few minutes from Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, making it an ideal arrival-day destination. The par-70, 7,166-yard TPC course was originally designed by Flower Mound-based Jay Morrish, and later renovated by D.A. Wiebring. Rolling, narrow fairways, fast greens and numerous bunkers build to a crescendo on a finishing stretch that is typically one of the toughest on the PGA TOUR.
Golfers get a taste of the TPC’s chops right from the start with the 528-yard, par-4 third hole. Water lines almost the entire right side, and bunkers left of the fairway create a demanding tee shot. Mix in the strong prevailing wind out of the north during the spring and summer and the old saying “hard par, easy bogey” holds true on No. 3.
For those without the giddy-up to go any further after a long day, staying-and-playing doesn’t get much easier with the world-class Four Seasons onsite hotel.
Old American Golf Club
In just over three years, Old American has emerged as one of the top tracks in a state full of great golf courses. A strategically demanding layout tipping out at over 7,000 yards from the tournament tees, the Tripp Davis/Justin Leonard design has become a haven for local PGA TOUR players such as Nathan Green, K.J. Choi, Y.E. Yang, Rod Pampling, John Senden, Steven Bowditch, and Paul Stankowski.
The battle for the course record has even fostered a little local pro gamesmanship. Originally set at 68 by Leonard and tied by Choi, Green (winner of the 2009 RBC Canadian Open) fired a 4-under 67 in February of 2012 that was recently eclipsed by Pampling’s sizzling 66. Old American is set to host the prestigious Texas Women’s Open June 19-20, so who knows – the record could fall again.
To gather design concepts for Old American, Davis and Leonard toured and played many of the great “Golden Age” golf courses, including Shinnecock Hills, National Golf Links, Prairie Dunes and Crystal Downs. The synthesis of their sojourn is a playing surface brimming with classic contouring, hazard styles and greens shapes that emphasize precision over power.
Tour 18 Dallas
Dallas takes convenience to a new level with Tour 18. Why travel the U.S. over playing the country’s best courses when they’ll bring the courses to you? Or in this case, a sampling of the best holes that Cherry Hills, Baltrusol, Winged Foot, Oakmont, Riviera, TPC Sawgrass, Augusta National and other storied venues have to offer.
As far as Augusta National, golfers get more than just one hole, as the final three holes are replicas of 11, 12 and 13, also known as “Amen Corner.” As anyone familiar with Dallas will tell you, “Dallas” is a geographical term thrown around loosely. Tour 18 is actually located about 35 miles north of the city in the rolling hills of Denton County.
Situated next to Old American in The Tribute Resort Community, The Tribute Golf Links is as close to a true links golf experience as America’s heartland can produce. The course was also designed by Tripp Davis, with holes inspired by the most famous and challenging holes from renowned Scottish courses such as St. Andrews, Troon and Prestwick. A quaint guest floor above the golf shop with seven suites is perfect for traveling golfers.
Cowboys Golf Club
In Dallas, the Cowboys are king. So it makes sense the city is home to the world’s only NFL-themed golf club. Cowboys Golf Club truncates the history of arguably American’s most successful sports franchise into 18 championship holes. The Jeff Brauer-designed par 72 is Dallas Cowboys head to toe. From the star-shaped putting green, to the stone markers highlighting America’s Team’s success, Cowboys Golf Club is Jerry World, golf-style.
Bear Creek Golf Club
True to Texas’ bigger-is-better bravado, Bear Creek Golf Club boasts 36 holes of North Texas’ finest golf. Two distinct layouts – the East and West Courses – pack a one-two punch that has earned it a place among Golf Digest’s “Top 50 Resort Courses in America” and The Wall Street Journal’s “10 Great Places to Golf.” Bear Creek has played host to PGA TOUR qualifiers and the Texas State Open. While the golf may be bigger, the prices are not.
Where to Stay
This chic boutique hotel developed by South Side steward Matthews Southwest opened in 2012 amid palpable buzz. The 102-year-old building in the trendy neighborhood is an architectural all-star in Dallas’ lodging lineup. Walls are adorned with works from local artists, and the rooftop Soda Bar with its infinity pool and casual grill and has become one of the most popular hangs in the city. The hotel’s 76 guest rooms feature original concrete floors and exposed ceilings.