Tangle Ridge Golf Club: Rolling land, rugged views spell municipal favorite

By David R. Holland, Contributor

GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas -- In the distance is Mountain Creek Escarpment, a forested rise of rugged land, and nearby is the huge Joe Pool Lake. The land rolls like the Texas Hill Country with 50-foot elevation changes and panoramas suggest that you are in the country, not within minutes southwest of downtown Dallas.

Tangle Ridge Golf Club is another example of just how good municipal golf is in today's era of modern golf-course architecture. Jeff Brauer of Arlington authored this upscale public offering that measures 6,835 yards at par 72.

Hackberry, pecan, oaks, cedar elm, native mesquite and red cedars dot the 250-acre design which is bisected by a stream that runs from west to east. Construction included incorporating gnarly native vegetation and minimal impacts to the land's natural wetlands.

Brauer created numerous strategic options with wide fairways, diagonal creek crossings, deep flashy bunkers, muscular mounding, berms and caustic doglegs that demand the golfer to stay mentally sharp. The par 5s are memorable and the par 3s are absolute fun.

The feeling of seclusion is paramount. City dwellers can traverse the landscape and see few other golfers. "We wanted golfers to enjoy a peaceful round of golf, free of stress," Brauer said.

Brauer uses several classic design ideas to make Tangle Ridge a distinctive experience. The sixth hole, a 313-yard par 4 was inspired after trips to San Francisco Golf Club and Royal Melbourne. You can drive this one, with a rip over a middle fairway bunker, or play it safe to the left side of the wide fairway. A distinct ridge runs through the middle of the green, but when the pin placement is left, eagles can be made.

You might notice a "Valley of Sin" in Brauer's 16th green, a historic characteristic of the 18th hole at St. Andrews. Should your approach come up short the third shot demands a ingenious chip or putt to clear this daunting depression.

The 575-yard eighth hole, however, is the one that befuddles many hacks. Rated toughest on the layout, it plays into the prevailing wind. Play the tee shot left-center and you will have a good look at the creek which crosses the middle of the fairway diagonally. As the fairway narrows, the second stroke inserts plenty of uncertain swing thoughts that could cause disaster. The front of the green is guarded by a pond below a steep bank. Trees and wiry grasses are right and the putting surfaces is reminiscent of the early American designers with a punch-bowl style. Hit it slightly long and you might get a generous roll back on the green.

The finishing hole is a 521-yard par 5 with an "option fairway." Play it safe by going left, but gamblers will want to challenge the huge pond and small target right. With the wind in your face the gamble is not worth it for the average golfer and only cuts the distance by about 30 yards. The green is protected by two huge bunkers and has two tiers.

Brauer's par 3s can be had, but can also be testy. No. 4 is only 132 yards, but the prevailing wind might knock your tee shot down into a deep sandy box with a tiny island insert. The kidney-shaped green is devilish. The ninth is 152 yards with three tiers and three bunkers. Accuracy is a must. No. 12 is only 168 yards, but the prevailing wind is right to left, making it dangerous. Once on the green, two tiers make it even trickier. Just go for the middle. No. 17 is 189 yards and downwind. The front is open, but the left is trouble. And novices won't like the view. A huge pond fronts the tee boxes.

Tangle Ridge, opened in 1995, joins a host of excellent Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex municipals. Golf Digest has lauded it for its merits. And it is handy, located just 35 minutes from downtown Dallas and 30 minutes from downtown Fort Worth.

The verdict

Tangle Ridge has everything the municipal golfer can handle. Jeff Brauer is climbing the ranks of the best architects in the country and you will leave this layout knowing just why he is winning awards.

Stay and play

1542 N. Hwy. 360
Grand Prairie
(972) 988-6800

Where to dine

After you put in 18 holes, the 19th hole is exceptional for a sandwich and a cool beverage after a sweaty day of Metroplex golf. Encased in glass, the dining room surrounds you with a panoramic view of the course. For more Grand Prairie dining options log on to gptexas.com/restaurants/restaurants.htm.

Off course

Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie is in its seventh successful season and is host to the 2004 Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships set for Oct. 30, 2004. A simulcast pavilion hosts thousands of customers a day as they bet on races throughout the country and live racing attracts more than one million a year. Log on to lonestarpark.com for complete details.

Tourists head for the Palace of Wax, Ripley's Believe It or Not! and Trader's Village, a 106-acre flea market. Log on to gptx.org for more information.

Teri Jackson Tourist Information Center
2170 North Belt Line Road
Grand Prairie, TX 75050

David R. HollandDavid R. Holland, Contributor

David R. Holland is an award-winning former sportswriter for The Dallas Morning News, football magazine publisher, and author of The Colorado Golf Bible. Before launching a career as a travel/golf writer, he achieved the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the Air Force reserve, serving during the Vietnam and Desert Storm eras. Follow Dave on Twitter @David_R_Holland.

Reader Comments / Reviews Leave a comment
  • Tangle Ridge

    Larry Stevenson wrote on: Jun 23, 2004

    This was a great artical about a great golf course. It is every bit as good as the artical states. I have played this course many times, and feel it is one of the best, if not, the best in the Metroplex. I have never met anybody that has played Tangle Ridge that did not rave about how much fun this course played.


  • Hmmm

    Daniel wrote on: Jun 11, 2004