Brownfield to golf course in Dallas
By Torleif Sorenson on 12/4/12
This week, we'll be telling you about a couple of landfill/"brownfield" sites that are being considered for redevelopment as golf courses.

Today's news comes from Dallas, where the PGA Tour announced on Monday that AT&T will take over sponsorship of the annual Byron Nelson tournament. Today, AT&T, the City of Dallas, and Southern Methodist University announced that they will jointly develop a 400-acre landfill just south of Dallas into a championship-caliber golf facility. The site appears to be located just north of the intersection of Interstates 20 and 45. Trinity Forest Golf Course is being advertised as a semi-private facility with large portions of the over $20 million necessary coming from major corporate donors as well as Dallas taxpayers.

But here's the problem: If it is "semi-private," then the amount and flavor of public access becomes extremely nebulous. Blogger Eric Nicholson of the Dallas Observer agrees:
"Mayor Mike Rawlings and city officials have made it clear that the course will be membership-based, but the implication all along has been that it will be semi-private. In golfing parlance, that typically means that non-members can call and set up a tee time. But then Rawlings told the Morning News that public access to the course will be "limited," which implies that may not be the case."
One public relations staffer insists that ...
"...not less than 25 percent of annual rounds of golf will be available to charitable tournaments and events, educational and youth programming, and/or coordinated public play."
Coordinated public play? Really?

This does not sound promising. Granted, it is nice to know that The First Tee will have access to the facility, as will SMU's golf teams. And it would be nice if the historically black Paul Quinn College decides to create men's and women's golf teams that could be based at the nearby Trinity Forest course.

But in recent years, we've seen too many instances where politicians over-promise and under-deliver. Given the enormous amount of money required for the project, this writer remains skeptical.

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[ comments ]
bkuehn1952 says:
Sounds like the developers are reaching into the taxpayers pocket. I hope this gets the proper scrutiny it deserves.
joe jones says:
When politicians get involved in any sport development it is wise to put your hand over your wallet.Political pick pockets have a way of grabbing everything in sight. When private investors get involved they normally create bare bones facilities but charge high prices. When taxpayers pay the bill the developers include every bell and whistle possible and charge even more. Simple rule of thumb. If any public access is denied don't build it with tax payer money.
sjduffers says:
The same thing happened in California at the site of the Fry's Open (Cordevalle in San Martin). It was initially public land, turned over to be developed as a golf course and resort with the condition that it would be open to the public. And it isn't, unless you stay at the resort. The initial agreement called for 60% of the rounds to be set aside for the public, and they counted all the guests invited by members and guests staying at the resort as such, and finally under pressure added a youth program, except the kids actually play elsewhere... And that is without mentioning all of the environmental conditions that this place is also avoiding (chemical use, etc...).

It is downright shameful! I for one will never go to the PGA tournament held there (we also have the ATT at Pebble Beach locally if one needs to go to a PGA event and I have been there), or stay at this resort.
Matt McGee says:
What, exactly, is "coordinated" public play? The "and/or" in the same sentence sort of stands out, as well.
Another reason I'm glad I don't live in Dallas.
bkuehn1952 says:
@Matt McGee - "coordinated" probably means charity or civic tournaments held on Mondays when the course is closed to the membership for maintenance. Joe Duffer is never going to be able to call the club and get a tee time for his foursome, that is certain.
larrynjr says:
Seems to me that if public land and public funds are involved. The public should have full access to the course. If they deny the public, then a lawsuit is in order. Getting this fixed before they even open would be the best way to go. I'm sure there are plenty of hungry lawyers who would love to start a class action suit to that effect.
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