The Texas Rangers Golf Club opened last week in Arlington without a ticker tape parade, but those willing to brave the chill were welcomed with a double lineup of snazzy golf carts.
The first tee time at the newly renovated course dodged a frost delay to open as scheduled at 8 a.m. last Monday, but in 30-something-degree weather, says Arlington Parks and Recreation marketing manager Phillip Rogers.
Course architect John Colligan, along with his assistant, Trey Kemp, and a few of their guests, played the first round.
“Today was our soft opening,” Rogers says, adding that the formal, grand-opening hoopla will be May 2.
The North Arlington layout, formerly known as Chester W. Ditto Golf Course, has undergone a $24 million upgrade, and Rogers says the early opening will help iron out any unanticipated wrinkles. A 13-acre, double-ended driving range will allow golfers to practice in unison, and the course can also accommodate a tournament, as well as a junior clinic or private lessons simultaneously.
“The other thing a double range does is allow you to hit in different wind directions,” Rogers says while seated at a table near the snack bar and golf shop in the temporary clubhouse. The permanent clubhouse, which opens in 2020, will contain a pro shop, a full-service restaurant and bar, and a banquet operation.
Rogers says the basement of the one-level clubhouse will also house the rows of posh golf carts, which feature GPS systems and cellphone charging portals.
The public will not need a tee time to enjoy the food and view from the restaurant when it opens, Rogers says. He expects the course’s former players won’t recognize its current layout with improved grasses and expanded bunkering.
But rather than leave it on their bucket list, some players have already tested the turf at the new course.
“Really enjoyed the course,” Gilbert Rangel posted on Facebook. "What a big difference from what it used to be.”
Still, some residents aren’t happy about the $18 greens fee increase. One man even showed up at Arlington’s City Council meeting this week asking the mayor and council to “do something about it.”
Others have questioned an exchange of golf rounds and baseball games.
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Rogers explained that a deal with the Texas Rangers provides 150 complimentary rounds of golf to the Texas Rangers organization annually “to use as they see fit.” In return, Arlington’s parks department will get the equivalent in Rangers game tickets to use for various occasions.
The Rangers have “lent their trademark to us at no cost,” Rogers says, adding that Arlington will continue to own and operate the course.
“First and foremost, it’s a public golf course, so anybody’s welcome,” he says. “Second, you don’t have to be playing golf to have a burger at lunch or a glass of wine at happy hour.
“Outside of Christmas Day, if the weather’s playable, we’ll be open.”