I’m back in Texas for the second time this year – this time playing in Dallas at Dallas National Golf Club. This is another one of Fazio’s designs on the Top 100 list. I did a little research on the web about this club and my expectations were high based on what I read on the club’s site. Fazio himself said “If Dallas National were the only course I ever designed, I feel I would have had a great career.”
My research indicated that the unique quality of this course is the terrain. Texas is mostly flat and Texas golf courses are usually victims of this topography. DNGC is situated on high ground and the routing wanders through valleys, up hills and across ravines. It looks feels and plays more like a East Coast parkland course than a Texas course.
My friend’s wife who helped me play at Colonial had arranged the game at Dallas National for me as well. I think I’ve spent any ‘best man at the wedding five years ago capital’ that I may have had . . . and then some. My host very generously picked me up at my friends’ house and gave me a lift to the club. One the way in he drove me past the new entrance that was being built and then around to the existing entrance. Once you pass through the gates there is nothing but golf. Dallas National is one of the few modern golf clubs that is not surrounded by residential real estate. This was clearly done by design, as the property is so incredible it would have been criminal to colonize it with housing.
As we pulled up to the valet, Dallas National had already made my superlatives list . . . Club with the nicest cars in the parking lot. There was one Ferrari, two Bentleys and an armada of Porsches. Dallas certainly has a luxury car friendly climate they were out in force here!
We had a quick bite in the grill and banged a few balls around on the practice tee and then hit the course. The saying goes that everything is big in Texas and the ‘Texas’ tees were no exception at 7,372 yards. Clearly championship level golf was in mind when the course was built. We opted for the slightly more comfortable tees at 6,862 yards.
The course starts out with a par 4, par 5 and then a par 3 . . a fairly well rounded and nice warm up for what is to come. The photo below is of the par 3 170 yard 3rd hole.
The 5th hole is a 207 yard par 3 over a ravine. It was playing long on this day and I had to hit a 3 wood. It was a good club choice because my ball came to a stop hole high and about 10 feet to the to the left. I determined I was happy no matter what happened from here. Its an intimidating hole so I was proud of the shot. The photo below is taken from the tee box.
The photo below is of the 9th hole which is a 407 yard par 4. The tee shot is over the ravine and then the hole doglegs to the left where the green sits on a plateau. You can see the bridge in the below photo. These great wooden bridges were all over the course and really added to the aesthetics of Fazio’s design.
The tee shot for the 10th hole is yet another dramatic visual from high atop a hill. Tee shots seem like the float forever as the drop down the hill. This one played 578 yards from the tees we played.
Dallas National has some pretty tricky par 3s and the 13th hole is one of them. It only played 141 yards but the shot had better be accurate. As you can see in the photo below, anything off the right makes for a really tough par. This green was particularly tough to putt as well.
I love the 15th hole which is pictured below. We played it from 431 yards. It was a driver then 4 iron for me to hit the green. Because they are so difficult for me, there is little that I find more satisfying in golf that hitting a green with a long iron shot.
The 17th hole is the final of the par 3s and another long one – 225 yards. Its pretty straight forward, but again there is little room for error especially considering that you are hitting a long iron or utility club off the tee.
Dallas National is a great golf club and a quintessential Tom Fazio design. I would have to agree that the terrain at this course is absolutely nothing like I would have expected in Texas. The dramatic elevation changes are clearly the signature of this course. Fazio was right to say that his career could have been defined by this course alone!!
What I liked the best about Dallas National was the experience I had there that day. My host made a couple of amazing birdie putts – including 60 footer that rolled up a hill and then trickled over a hump and right down the hill into the cup! The weather was perfect, the course was vacant and the play was fun. I couldn’t have asked for a better way to wrap up the season.