who's your caddy
Four Dallas-area golf courses score slots on a new 2023 guide of the best municipal golf courses in Texas by Texas Monthly magazine.
"You don’t need to belong to a country club, or even have especially deep pockets, to enjoy high-quality golf," the guide promises.
The Lone Star state Texas ranks fifth in the U.S. (behind California, Florida, Michigan, and New York) for number of public courses, with about 600 facilities.
The magazine sent out seven staffers and freelancers to come up with list of the 18 greatest public golf courses in Texas. Criteria included uniqueness, reasonable price, and accessibility to a wide range of skill levels.
These four made the cut:
Stevens Park Golf Course is a 6,285-yard course in Kessler Park that shares trails with locals while offering tricky, unique challenges and stunning views from the 15th fairway. Enthusiast golfers can enjoy a day out at Stevens Park, while more expert players can push themselves to improve.
"What makes [Stevens Park] fun is deciding just how much risk to take in pursuit of a birdie," contributor Shawn Shinneman says. "Take the par-4 number three, which has a fairway that twists right 90 degrees around a clump of trees. If you try to cut the corner with a towering drive but cut too deep, you’ll find bark; fail to cut at all and you’ll barrel into a bunker."
"Strategic bunkering and tree placements keep you thinking and engaged, plus five sets of tees guarantee that anyone can enjoy the challenge," says Shinneman. "Most fun of all, though, are Pecan’s MiniVerde greens, which are big, sloped, and filled with nuance — and they’re quick... But you’ll be left wanting to come back again and again to figure them out, and the affordable rates won’t stop you from doing so."
Grapevine Golf Course is a 27-hole course designed by the legendary Byron Nelson in 1979 and rejuvenated by Irving-based design firm Golf Resources two decades later. The Monthly calls it "a gentle test" of a golfer's skills without being overly easy.
"Take the par-4 fifth hole on the Pecan nine: 405 yards from an elevated tee, moving right to left toward a vaguely reverse-redan green," wrote contributor Kevin Robbins. "It’s scenic, strategic, and, if you fancy, heroic. And, as on a handful of other holes on the Pecan and Mockingbird nines, both of which underwent renovations in the early aughts, you feel that you’re all alone with an allée of oaks."
Rockwood Park in Fort Worth is an 18-hole course designed in 1938 by John Bredemus, a former math teacher turned golf course architect.
Since Rockwood's revivification and reopening in 2017, the course has held on to some of its more distinctive features while enticing golfers with modern design elements. And no one can forget those gorgeous views.
"The tee of the lovely, 142-yard par-3 eighth hole takes you to one of the highest points on the property," said Robbins. "From there, you see downtown Fort Worth — and a massive green in the shape of an amorphous arrowhead, with a spacious false front just beyond a bunker that looks a lot closer to the green than it really is."
Robbins further ponders if Rockwood Park has visitors wondering whether it's a course in a city, or a course that rescues them from it.
The remaining 14 courses in Texas Monthly's "A Guide to Texas' Best Public Golf Courses" can be found on texasmonthly.com.