The Trails of Frisco Golf Course: Promising Brauer design north of Dallas has plenty of potential
FRISCO, Texas -- Anyone familiar with golf and civilization in the 21st century has seen the way small communities turn into boom towns seemingly overnight.
First comes the homes and the roads, then the strips centers, mega malls, dozens of mind-numbing restaurant choices and finally the new golf courses start to make the scene complete.
For better or worse, that's been the pattern in Frisco, Texas. For years, this tiny Collin County farm town sat unnoticed as a back route to DFW-Airport or a small spot on the road to somewhere else.
But in the last couple of years, the growth has been constant and explosive, as Frisco, home of the Frisco Coons high school athletic teams, has turned into one of the fastest-growing towns in North Texas.
Along with the consistent road construction headaches, ongoing traffic hassles and the like, there have been some advantages of progress.
One of the foremost is The Trails of Frisco Golf Course, which opened in North Frisco in the fall of 2000, as another fine work of underrated Texas golf architect Jeffrey Brauer.
Brauer has crafted such noted north Texas golf courses as TangleRidge, south of Dallas on the Grand Prairie-Cedar Hill line, Texas Star in North Richland Hills and Sky Creek Ranch in Keller, between Fort Worth and Lewisville, along with the soon-to-open Dallas Cowboys Golf Club near the DFW-Airport.
He has since branched out to locations in Arizona and Minnesota, but it's clear the Trails is another excellent design from a young architect who may not be recognized nationwide, but continues to turn out solid work.
"I really think this is one of Jeff's best design works," said Rob Shields, the course's general manager. "He really crafted a nice layout out of the land he had to work with here."
Brauer produced another solid par-71 layout, 6,959 yards from the back tees, that could have just as easily been titled The Creeks, The Lakes or The Waters of Frisco, as water comes into play on 17 of the 18 holes, missing only the relatively mild par-4 eighth hole layout. Some of the water is hidden off the tee so always consult your scorecard or helpful hints tip sheet.
A prime case in point comes on the par-4 second hole when a golfer, whose name mere modesty prohibits me from revealing, absolutely nails his drive down the fairway, watching it split the grasses and disappear over a mound. When the golfer, again mere golfing modesty prohibits me from mentioning myself, journeys down the fairway to see what kind of short iron shot he will have to the green, he discovers his ball has found a creek, which cuts across the fairway 100 yards from the green.
A promising par-par start turns into a disappointing double bogey and a lesson learned to be wary of the hidden Trails water.
In fact, the water was not hidden enough during the extensive rains the course received this winter and the excess water caused some damage to several of the fairways.
"The course was in perfect shape when we opened in the fall, then we got the rains which nobody can really control," Shields said. "All the green and tees are situated out off the 100-year flood plain, so hopefully we won't have the problems we've had this year."
Other than some new sod on several of the fairways and some trenching work to divert the water, the Trails should be back to top condition by the summer. "We added a couple of wetlands on the course, but the creeks have been here for years and years," Shields added.
Just saying to avoid the water doesn't give the golfer much help, since it's so omni-present on so many of the holes.
But among the best examples is the par-4 fifth hole, 453 yards from the back markers, where the water starts off going down the right side then splits midway down the fairway and goes down both sides of the green leaving you a chance to get wet on either side of the green with a wayward approach shot.
On the par-4 ninth, 420 yards from the back tees, the creeks almost totally encircle the green leaving you with danger on every side.
The Trails of Frisco Golf Club's par-3 11th hole is another short, but very dangerous challenge. The hole measures just 157 yards from the furthest tee markers, but water comes into play all along the right and in front of the green. This is basically an all or nothing tee shot with a little bail out room on the left side. The par-3 14th is a full 231 yards from the back tees with water crossing the fairway twice before you reach the large and undulated greens.
The long par-5 18th has water all along the left side, trees to the right, and a very large and fast green.