New Trinity Forest set to host 2018 AT&T Byron Nelson

Trinity Forest, the new host of Dallas' AT&T Byron Nelson, is unlike anything on the PGA Tour

DALLAS — While the TPC Four Seasons at Las Colinas has received mixed reviews over the years (the tournament also utilized the other course at the Four Seasons, Cottonwood Valley, for many years), the ever-evolving design, from architects Robert Trent Jones Jr., Jay Morrish, D.A. Weibring, Ben Crenshaw, Tom Watson and Lord Byron himself, was certainly traditional golf. It has a similar look to many venues on the PGA Tour.

But the new home of the Nelson starting in 2018, Trinity Forest, couldn't be more different. Not only is it totally unlike the TPC Four Seasons, it's unlike anything on tour. Not since the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay in 2015 have we seen anything that resembles this sort of a landscape in a PGA Tour event in the United States. But unlike Chambers Bay, the new Trinity Forest, carved out the environmentally sensitive Trinity Forest, is getting rave early reviews.

The par-3 11th hole.

Links-like is certainly an appropriate description

First off, forget a dozen water hazards, target greens and trees to negotiate. Without being a "true links" course, this is about as close as you can get. The design by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw with input from former PGA Tour player Harrison Frazar is certainly minimalist. Once they stripped off the vegetation that covered this former landfill, what remained was 400 acres of undulating terrain, 170 of which was used for this all-walking golf course.

"Basically, the property that we began with, the biggest attraction was that rumpled, uneven ground," Coore told the Dallas Morning News. "It looked like ground that needed to be ironed -- uneven, broken ground that anyone in our profession associates with the most classic courses in the world. Using the uneven ground, the greens look like parts of the fairways; the grass just swells up out of the ground. There is almost no rough."

In other words, the characteristics that most golfers would associate with links golf. Here, you hit and hit it again. There are some hazards to be sure, but for the most part, it's all about the angles, where the flagsticks are located on these large, sloping greens and how you want to get there. Every green gives you opportunities to putt, and in many cases, it's certainly the best option.

But what will be most interesting is seeing how the pros attack these greens, in the air or on the ground. It'll be a combination of both for most of them certainly, both in the short game and on approaches. In some cases, bouncing a long approach onto the green will certainly be useful since the zoysia fairways and surrounds are firm and fast.

Trinity Forest is about its character around the greens

As for the course, it isn't overly long – around 7,300 yards with a par of 71 (three par 5s instead of four), although it's certainly conceivable that the course could be lengthened. The longest hole is the par-5 14th at 592 yards; the shortest is the 138-yard par 3 eighth. Four holes play over gorges and there is very little tree trouble on the course.

The most interesting aspect of playing this golf course, though, is certainly the greens with tightly cropped surrounds. In many cases, you're better off missing a green than you are negotiating a long putt that might have three, four or five breaks in it. The chip or putt off the green can be simpler. Playing this course for the first time certainly puts a golfer at a disadvantage. Practice rounds before next year's Nelson will be paramount.

Of course, being new, the greens are firm (and will probably be prepped to remain that way), so even tour players will be thinking about where to land the ball to get it to release to the hole or use a backboard behind it or to the side of it. Again, this isn't cookie-cutter American golf; it requires imagination.

This is where Dallas-based PGA Tour players Jordan Spieth and Hunter Mahan are spending much of their practice time. In fact, Trinity Forest hired Spieth's swing coach, Cameron McCormick, as its director of instruction. And the club, which has an initiation fee reportedly at $150,000, isn't just interested in the PGA Tour event, but would like to play host to a USGA championship as well.

The course was open for preview play in late 2016 and continued to mature nicely through a mild winter and spring. A new clubhouse has been under construction and should be ready to go by this fall. In addition to the golf course, the property also has a world-class practice facility and academy, a planned short course and is home to the golf team from Southern Methodist University.

Perfect weather and these greens...#perfectweekend #trinityforestgc #coorecrenshaw

A post shared by @trinityforestgc on

Mike Bailey is a senior staff writer based in Houston. Focusing primarily on golf in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean and Latin America with an occasional trip to Europe and beyond, he contributes course reviews, travel stories and features as well as the occasional equipment review. An award-winning writer and past president of Texas Golf Writers Association, he has more than 25 years in the golf industry. Before accepting his current position in 2008, he was on staff at PGA Magazine, The Golfweek Group and AvidGolfer Magazine. Follow Mike on Twitter at @MikeBaileyGA and Instagram at @MikeStefanBailey.

Related Links

What's new in 2017? New resort courses, family-friendly courses, municipal rebuilds and plenty of Rees Jones.
11 Min Read
The Dallas-Fort Worth area has a wealth of good to really good public golf courses. But what may surprise you is that it has one of the best collections of municipals courses in the country. Both Dallas and Fort Worth proper have some pretty good munis, but even better are that many of the suburbs have some outstanding municipal layouts by some pretty good designers. Best of all, they're all very affordable. Here's a rundown of some my favorites.
3 Min Read
Thanks to its abundance, accessibility and long summer season, Dallas/Fort Worth is one of America's great golf metroplexes. It's also one with a storied history, thanks to courses such as Colonial and legends such as Byron Nelson and Ben Hogan having resided there. For the public golfer, many of the municipalities in the metroplex have great municipal courses, and the boom of golf and residential communities in the 1990s and 2000s created many more options, both private and public.
15 Images
Brandon Tucker visited four of the most prestigious golf clubs in Texas this spring. See how Trinity Forest, Austin Country Club, Bluejack National and Escondido stack up.
6 Min Read
More from the author
6 Min Read
May 28, 2019
PORT ARANSAS, Texas — Golf is being redefined at Palmilla Beach Resort and Golf Community on the Texas coast.
9 Min Read
May 24, 2019
University programs, both large and small, continue to invest in their golf facilities
5 Min Read
May 21, 2019
New owner Escalante Golf has made considerable investment since 2017.
8 Min Read
May 20, 2019
Not all Texas country clubs have had the steadfast history of Fort Worth's Colonial. But while some of these sites have been lost, others are now public and affordable.
5 Min Read
May 3, 2019
Debate rages on whether a golf course property be based on current or highest use
7 Min Read
April 25, 2019
How four facilities got their stride back, and what struggling courses can learn from it
15 Images
July 13, 2022
Golfers love showing off their pics from the Swilcan Bridge and other landmarks at the Home of Golf.
25 Images
July 27, 2022
Time off from school and work means more time on the greens!
5 Min Read
July 25, 2022
Dundonald's new luxury accommodations and clubhouse complement a Kyle Phillips-designed links that has hosted men's and women's Scottish Opens.
3 Min Read
July 13, 2022
Scottish tour operator Bonnie Wee Golf has put together a collection of some of the oldest and most memorable links courses in the world.
Load More
Now Reading
Trinity Forest, the new host of Dallas' AT&T Byron Nelson, is unlike anything on the PGA Tour