This has been rumored for awhile here in town. There is a front page article on the development in today's Dallas Morning News. I'll link the story but here are the particulars:
- A non profit that consists of investors, AT&T and SMU, along with the city of Dallas will fund the project pending City Council approval. The course will be in southern Dallas. Land is an old land fill that borders the Great Trinity Forest. The non profit has to put in at least $20M, with the development reaching as much as $50M with further investment and membership dollars included. The city will spend $12M with most of that going to remediate the landfill. It appears that the state had already ordered Dallas to clean up the site, but this will accelerate the process. AT&T is in addition, donating $2.5M to the city to build a hike and bike trail near the course. The city will own the land and lease it to the non profit.
- There will be an 18 hole course that while the article states will be semi-private, the Mayor acknowledges that Dallas citizens will have limited access to. In other words - its private. It will be SMU's home course. There will be a 9 hole course that would be for the use of The First Tee.
Construction will begin this spring with the course opening in 2016.
- An architect hasn't been chosen, but the article states that AT&T (more on that later) has interviewed among others: Coore & Crenshaw, Tripp Davis and Tom Doak. I had heard about the former two being in play, but Renaissance Design is a nice new development.
- They have ambitious plans (don't they all), but this clearly, if it goes through, is the death knell for the Four Seasons continuing to host the Byron Nelson. They key is AT&T being the interviewer of the architects. HP's sponsorship deal for the tournament ends in two years, and the deal with the TPC Four Seasons ends in 2018. Looks like AT&T will take over sponsorship and move the tournament to the course they are going to have a significant stake in. I wonder if the PGA Tour, or the Salesmanship Club have been involved in any way in this. The hopes are for major events beyond the Nelson, and or course for the project to spur development in a pretty dicey part of town.
There aren't many things like this going on in the States. I'm sure that Mr. Doak and others can't share too much at this point, but it sure would be interesting to know a bit more. Particularly how good or indifferent the land is. The article states that the course will be confined just to the landfill and not the Forest (can't have any trees cut down). Can this land produce a top notch course? Are the powers that be more interested in a typical PGA Tour length slog course, or is there something more intriguing possible? Tom? Anyone?http://www.dallasnews.com/sports/golf/headlines/20121129-city-att-smu-plan-championship-golf-complex-in-southern-dallas.ece?action=reregister