View large image | More photos
|The Dallas Cowboys star in the fairway at Cowboys Golf Club's No. 4 will get your golf group talking. (Chris Baldwin/GolfPublisher.com)|
DALLAS - Alex Tis knows that Cowboys Golf Club is like Walt Disney World for Dallas Cowboys fans. There's so much blue-star merchandise and memorabilia at this golf course, you half expect Jerry Jones to sidle up to you at the first tee. (He does own the course, after all.)
Tis doesn't care about any of that. His only interest is whether a club can deliver the experience his business associates expect.
He helps book big-group golf trips in his industry - more than 100 duffers at a time. The replica Super Bowl trophies can gleam like the sun; it's more important to him that the beverage carts make timely rounds.
And gimmicks and all, Cowboys makes the grade.
"The service is definitely above par," Tis said, relaxing in the clubhouse bar after his group's event. "I do different outings around the country and this is some of the better service we've had."
Cowboys caters to large groups in an area that sees a lot of them. The Dallas area is not just the cradle of business in Texas; it's long been one of the top 10 U.S. convention cities. And who goes to a convention without hoping to escape to greener fairways?
As escapes go, Cowboys is better than a Dwight Clark leap in the back of the end zone (sorry, Dallas fans). Groups get food and nonalcoholic beverages with their green fee. No one has to dig into his or her pocket to get a hot dog or a Coke.
"Little things like that make a difference," Cincinnati golfer Scott Enright said. "Things like if everyone's name is on a cart already when you get there."
At Cowboys, the names will be on the carts. And the near-army of beer-cart girls dressed in Dallas Cowboys jerseys shows the club takes its responsibility to large groups seriously.
The course itself will please any group. With a sophisticated design by the relatively unknown Jeff Brauer, this is arguably the best golf course in Dallas, a fun play full of go-for-it par 4s, elevated tees and turf conditions Terrell Owens would recognize.
Even in the Dallas winter, Cowboys' fairways are green, and the putting surfaces are fast enough to send approach shots screaming off. What's better in business-group play than seeing your co-worker's shot go bouncing into the woods?
The very uncharacteristic hills will also feature in future water-cooler conversations. Cowboys Golf Club offers more elevation changes in one round than you'll see in a good two weeks playing the rest of Dallas. They make for some dramatic par 3s, especially the forced-gorge-clear 17th.
Still, no hole here outshines No. 4, a drivable par 4 with the highest tees on the course, and one of the best views. Of course, all anybody remembers of it is the big blue Dallas Cowboys star painted smack dab in the middle of the fairway.
Cheesy? Sure. But it's also a heck of a fun target to aim at.
And in the end, that's really all business-group golf planners like Tis care about - that their charges have fun and walk away happy. With Cowboys Golf Club that's a safer bet than Wade Phillips getting his boys back to the Super Bowl.
April 12, 2007
Chris Baldwin keeps one eye on the PGA Tour and another watching golf vacation hotspots and letting travelers in on the best place to vacation.
Any opinions expressed above are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of the management.
There are many stay-and-play options in the Baltimore/Washington, D.C region, but none can match the combination of upscale amenities at a reasonable price, the private-course conditions, the diversity of courses and the Interstate convenience of Turf Valley in Ellicott City, Md.
... full article »