New PGA Tour Venue Trinity Forest

Holy Trinity Dallas.jpg

What do you get if you combine a former rubbish dump just south of downtown Dallas with the architectural talents of Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw? The answer: Trinity Forest, the most exciting new PGA Tour venue in years. 

Trinity Forest only opened at the end of October, but it has already been announced as the host course for the 2018 AT&T Invitational. “It is a fantastic design,” says Dallas resident Jordan Spieth. “It has got a lot of similarities to Pinehurst No.2, like the use of natural grasses and the fact you need to attack the greens from the right angles in order to keep your ball on the putting surfaces.”

If you zoom in on the undulating greens it is easy to see where Spieth’s Pinehurst No.2 comparison comes from, but if you cast your eyes over the entire property you quickly spot one notable difference to the famed US Open venue. Namely: a complete lack of trees. “It is against the law to plant trees in a landfill, because the roots end up breaking the seal,” explains course designer Bill Coore. “This meant that no matter what we did the course was always going to be open and windswept.”

In the world of course design the terms open and windswept are rarely seen as positives. But on this occasion they helped Coore and Crenshaw decide how to proceed. “We always try to listen to what the property is telling us to do with the course,” reveals Coore. “And when we added the inability to plant trees to the site’s rippling contours it reminded us of the land you get by the sea in Scotland.”

Thus, despite the soil not being sandy and the site being about as far removed from the ocean as you can get, the revered design duo set out to build a course where “the ball begged to be played along the ground as much as in the air”. 

It was a bold move, but judging by our pictures, Jordan Spieth’s rave review and the PGA Tour’s seal of approval it has very much paid off. 

“A New Kind of Test”
Bill Coore gives Golf World the inside track on his latest creation. 

How have you been able to construct a links-style course in a Dallas rubbish dump?
In terms of the design, the way the landfill had settled after being covered over provided lots of pre-made humps and hollows. And in terms of the presentation, we have used a new type of zoysia grass that plays extremely fast and firm. 

Jordan Spieth said the course is a “different style”. Is that fair? 
Absolutely. Because it does not dictate how you have to play and results are not guaranteed, it is very, very different to your typical American professional golf tournament venue. This doesn’t mean we’ve created something goofy or unfair, it just means that how the ball reacts when it hits the ground will be a big part of the challenge. This is not a course where you can look at your yardage book and say “that’s my stock 8-iron”. On a lot of occasions you need to land the ball a decent distance away from the pin in order to get it to travel towards the hole. 

Is there a particular hole you’re most proud of?
I don’t think any hole outweighs the others in terms of strategy or aesthetics, but one that
will be a lot of fun is the 14th. Ben and I love short par 4s and this little 300-yarder plays slightly up the hill to a tiny green that dips away to the right, left, front and back. It is one of those greens where you could see all sorts of scores.

Nick Wright