Hills are a rarity in Dallas, so you might believe you are in North Carolina as you look out over this 159-acre Jeffery Brauer course, which incorporates the unusual hilly topography and surrounding woodlands. I was amazed by the dramatic elevation changes and views of the reservoir dam at various points during play. An added bonus: The course is only about 15 minutes from Dallas/ Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), so you can land and play!
Cowboy Golf Club is the only NFL-themed resort in the world, and I respect the owners for not taking the theme over the top. The clubhouse is a relaxing retreat for lunch and drinks. The lobby displays replica Dallas Cowboys trophies and other memorabilia, but it is obvious that the owners know they are entertaining golfers.
The course, opened in 2001, is in impeccable shape. If you are an aviation enthusiast, you will enjoy its location right in DFW’s landing and take-off path. Scores of American Airlines aircraft, joined by Singapore Airlines, US Airways and British Airways planes, were visible as we made our rounds. Like Doral in Miami (GTee, July 2007), Cowboys entertains you between shots with a steady fleet of aircraft flying overhead.
Hole 1 (533 yards, par 5)
Listed as the No. 5 handicapped hole, this is a starting layout that can tackle anyone’s game. The dogleg left has terrific elevation to the fairway and green beyond. I drove my ball perfectly, but not long enough, to the landing area. Charley decided to show off and slammed his tee shot, clearing the bunkers on the left. From this position, he had about 170 yards to the green. Gerry found one of the six fairway traps on the left.
After a less-than-dramatic second shot, my approach to the green was about 150 yards. A deep and large bunker guards the front, and I shot my ball slightly over and chipped on the green, carding a bogie. Charley made his putt for birdie.
Hole 3 (176 yards, par 3)
This little hole gave us all a run for our money. From the tee box, it is best to use a little more club, as all of our shots came up short. One of us (who shall remain nameless) found the water that fronts the green and the entire left side. The back of the green has a large trap for shots over the green. The green slopes from back to front. One shot hit the green and rolled back off and into the rough. All in all, par is something to be proud of here.
Hole 4 (366 yards, par 4)
Wow, are you sure this is Dallas? The elevation of this hole is spectacular. Right smack in the center of the fairway is the Dallas Cowboys Star. Aim for it and you will be pleased; miss it and you will be cursing Jerry Jones. You must avoid the fairway bunkers on the right side; if you do, you should be left with a reasonable iron shot to the green.
Hole 5 (479 yards, par 4)
This is the No. 1 handicapped hole due to its length and the native wetlands on either side of the fairway. The prevailing wind at your back can help launch your drive to a reasonable distance in the fairway, but the small green makes your approach more difficult. Designer Jeff Brauer worked with the Army Corp of Engineers to preserve the natural beauty of the course; this hole is an excellent example of that effort.
Hole 13 (594 yards, par 5)
This is another difficult hole, surrounded by trees and native wetlands. The prevailing wind tends to be at your back, so you can let your drive have it, if you can control the direction. This is the No. 2 handicapped hole due to the length, the relatively narrow fairway and small green. The water and marshy wetlands cutting across can also add to your score. I was a little intimidated by the water after seeing a fellow player hit the bridge to the green and drop into the drink. I overshot the green but was able to redeem myself with a very close chip; I tapped in for par.
Hole 16 (455 yards, par 4)
This is about as long as a hole can get and still qualify as a par 4. The key is to drive your ball from the tee box squarely about 170 yards so you have a chance of making the green in 2. Most — like Gerry and me — play to get on the green in 3 and walk away satisfied with a 5. Charley, on the other hand, had to show off again and landed on the green for a 2, putt 4. To make matters worse, the hole plays against the prevailing wind, and a large lake on the left of the fairway halfway to the green adds to the fun!
Hole 17 (194 yards, par 3)
The green on this hole slopes from back to front, adding to the difficulty of clearing the ravine in front. The hole is surrounded by trees and bunkers and is a bit intimidating from the tee box. Course management says, “This is probably the best uphill par 3 you will ever play.”
Hole 18 (519 yards, par 5)
This is a great finish to the course. From the tee box you have to avoid the bunkers on the right and left as you drive your ball into the prevailing wind, which makes this hole even longer. There are also several moguls on either side that offer players a challenging lie. Your second shot should attempt to land about 120 yards from the green. Big hitters, take note of the series of bunkers guarding the front left to the center of the green. There are also two bunkers on either side of the green, which makes accuracy key. Having flubbed my drive, I hit a well-placed ball about 220 yards from the green and hit another fairway wood on the apron, putting in for par. An attendant was waiting for us, ready to clean the clubs — typical Cowboys fashion!
Cowboys Golf Club
1600 Fairway Drive
Grapevine TX 76051
tel 817 481 7277
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