Initial ThoughtsI was in Dallas last weekend for my brother-in-law's 30th birthday bash and we tried to fit in a few rounds of golf before he became old and decrepit overnight (Happy Birthday Matt!). To celebrate the big 3-0, our event planner (my sister) arranged for us to play a new-to-us public course in the area — Stevens Park. I'd heard great things about the course, mainly from our event planner, about the course so I was excited to play it (who doesn't like to play new courses in general?).
A view of the 18th hole from the tee box.
I did a little research about the course before last Saturday. The course, which was originally built in 1922 by Jack Burke, Sr., recently underwent a complete redesign. Texas-based architects John Colligan and Trey Burke led the renovation and it was completed in 2011.
Highlights of the project include the complete renovation of all 18 holes with new tee boxes, fairways, greens, and 38 new sand bunkers. The new design features Mini Verde putting surfaces, Premier Tif fairways, Tifton 10 rough grass and an expanded short-game practice area. Over 900 new trees were added throughout the golf course along with 2,000 knockout rosebushes to enhance the beauty of the course and compliment the surrounding Kessler Park neighborhood. The finished redesign also features 5 sets of tees: Juniors, Ladies, Seniors, Men and Championship play.
Date PlayedSaturday, April 27th, 2013
Value - 9.0I paid $50 for 18 holes including a cart, which I thought was competitively priced. I've only played two different public courses in Dallas so I'm not sure how the price compares, however, I'd pay $50 again in a heart beat.
Pace of Play - 10.0I was thoroughly impressed with the pace of play at Stevens Park — we played 18 holes in four hours. One of the biggest complaints, if not THE biggest complaint, about public golf courses is the dreadfully slow pace of play. You can already expect a weekend round to take longer than a weekday round because the course is more crowded, however, nobody wants to be on the course for six hours. The reason the pace at Stevens Park was so quick is because they managed group sizes. There were not six-somes and conversely there were no two-somes. I played another public course in the area and they allowed six-somes and two-somes, so needless to say the pace was all out of sorts.
Course/Maintenance - 8.0If someone asked me to describe public golf courses in general I'd say "firm and fast" and Stevens Park was no different. The fairways were better than the majority of public courses I've played, however, I expected them to be lusher than they were. The courses here in Mississippi are about as lush as they'll be all season because we get a lot of rain this time of year and the summer heat isn't here yet. Once June arrives with the summer heat and humidity, a lot of the courses turn to dirt. That said, you can tell the course superintendent and his staff were on top of the maintenance. There were no dead spots on the fairway or random patches of grass growing. And I suspect the course will continue to improve until the summer heat sets in.
Here is a view of the driveable par-4 11th.
The fun, yet challenging feature of Stevens Park was the changes in elevation (the majority of courses I play are relatively flat). Very rarely did I have flat lie where I was also hitting into a flat lie. The green on hole one was well below the tee box and the fairway slanted right to left — my approach shot was on a downhill lie. The green on hole 3 (90° dogleg left to right) was a solid 30 feet above the landing area in the fairway and the green on the short par-3 4th was a good 30 feet below the tee box — you get the idea.
As a result of the significant elevation changes, there were several fantastic views. The best view was on the tee box of hole 15. We were near the highest point on the course and we got a beautiful view of the skyline of Dallas. As usual, the picture doesn't do the view justice. I would love to play Stevens Park around sunset as I imagine the view is even prettier!
A view of the Dallas skyline from the 15th tee box.
Another view of the Dallas skyline from the 16th green.
One of the more interesting features about the course was a few of the holes had rectangle greens. Apparently this was how greens were designed back in the day because it was easier to maintain, but it was a new feature to me.
Hospitality - 8.0Stevens Park apparently prides itself on customer service. The staff made it a point to call everyone in our group by their name. It's a small gesture, but carries a big impact. A representative from the City of Dallas Parks and Recreation Department passed out a survey on the 18th hole and one of the questions was "Did the staff call you by name?" I didn't have a lot of interaction with the staff, but the ones I did were courteous.
Scenery - 8.0According to the website, Stevens Park is referred to as the "Little Augusta" of North Texas. It's an effective comparison because anytime a golfer hears the name "Augusta" to describe a golf course, his or her interest is immediately piqued, but it's a double-edge sword because trying to live up to the beauty is a tall task. In terms of elevation changes, I'd say the comparison to Augusta works, however, it terms of overall beauty I'd say they still have some work to do. Other than green, there weren't many colors on the golf course that I can actively remember.
A view from the 8th tee box.
Overall - 9.0 (not an average)If I lived in Dallas, and couldn't afford to be a junior member of a public golf club, I'd make Stevens Park my "home" course. It's affordable, it's challenging, it offers beautiful views and it's centrally located — the fact I shot a 76 (+6) on my first go-round didn't hurt overall impression. If you're headed to Dallas and you you're looking for a course to play, check out Stevens Park. You'd be hard pressed to find a better public course in the area.
[ comments ]
Alas the final paragraph reveals the real reason behind this whole post. Nice score, Nate.
Torleif Sorenson says:
I guess I'll be putting Stevens Park on my list, too. Thanks, Nathan!
Beef: I was planning to write the review ahead of time, the 76 was just lagniappe - as we say down here.
Lagniappe - wow, getting a language lesson from the Mustang. And I will echo the Beef's comment about a nice score. Looks like that "77" in October was no fluke.
Yes, many rectangular or square greens in Scotland, so why not Texas? Plus, tee boxes are frequently rectangular (anywhere) - why not greens?
Old and decrepit? at 30? Puuuleeeease. (Nice score, at any age, though.)
Looks like a fun course. Thanks for sharing.
The idea is actually the same!
I was so surprised!
In fact, I have long thought, but did not say it!
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10.0 - 9.5 World Class
9.4 - 8.5 Awesome
8.4 - 7.5 Very good
7.4 - 6.5 Above Average
6.4 - 4.5 Solid
4.4 - 3.5 Below Average
3.4 - 2.5 Save Your Money
2.4 - 0.0 Pay NOT to go