Alongside the road leading into the entrance to Trinity Forest Golf Course and this year’s Byron Nelson golf tournament, an African-American man held up a sign, “Byron Nelson would be sad, this course sucks.” The sign marked the arrival of the strange intersection of gentrification and leisure, a truly Dallas problem.
The is the first year for the new Trinity Forest course to host the tournament, which relocated from Las Colinas, where it had taken place since the '80s Las Colinas is an Irving development devoid of culture. It’s a mashing of highways, restaurant chains and the color beige. It’s bland excess. It always served as a boring, white counterpoint to the rich Asian and Latino communities of South Irving.
The 3-year-old Trinity Forest in southern Dallas is tough to get to. It’s a confusing, roundabout stretch of road in the middle of nowhere. There isn’t a McDonalds for miles, much less decent brunch options. Communities that surround the course couldn't care less about birdies and eagles. Many neighbors slept on their porches or worked in their yards as Lexuses and Mercedes careened through their neighborhood in search of prime parking lots.
In Las Colinas, the Byron Nelson was one of the prime people watching events of the year, a Stepford Wives casting call. Crowds were thin this weekend. Those who were there were drenched in sweat.
One of the biggest complaints was a lack of seating outside the corporate pavilion, but corporate access isn’t part of the average fan's experience. Walking the dusty, rough and uneven dirt paths led to an endless maze of confusion.
Signage was another problem. Where the hell are the bathrooms? If you didn't have a map you were SOL. You shouldn’t need a map to know where a bathroom is. Or where the third hole is. Signs are an easy way to navigate a course.
The move of the Byron to southern Dallas is part of Mayor Mike Rawlings' vision of revitalizing the area. His Grow South initiative could use the potential economic boom of the tournament and course. What could have been a great opportunity for community engagement and youth participation in the tournament ended in a flop. It would have been great to have a free day for youths with IDs featuring nearby ZIP codes.
The crowds held few minority faces. At the corporate pavilions there were plenty of preppy pink shorts and boat shoes, though, and Michelob Ultra flowed like water. The brand's tent served variations on bloody marys and Moscow mules with Michelob Ultra taking place of liquor. If you were lucky enough to make it into one of the pavilions you were set. Many a bro tried to get in by asking guards if they knew who their dads were, or what their job titles were. Some of the best entertainment came from watching these guys blade attempt after attempt of privilege pitch shots.
There were positives. The bathrooms were plentiful, if you could find them. Kid-friendly games and play areas taught the game in a fun way. The course was in pretty good condition. A little browning on some fairways and greens didn’t take away from an overall gorgeous course.
Trinity Forest is a links-style course, a treeless, wide-open layout in the middle of a dilapidated portion of southern Dallas, built on a former illegal landfill. Moving from Las Colinas to southern Dallas is an exercise in anthropology for anyone wanting to study this much wealth and privilege in a forgotten neighborhood at one time. People were hot and miserable, which lead to plenty of pissy/pithy comments. Below is a collection of quotes overheard from the fairway, port-a-potty to the pavilion. These are the best unironic zingers inspired by the endless flowing of Michelob Ultra.
“Dave, look at that beard, you look like a homeless person."
“I didn’t know urinals came in slim fit.”
“You know what really pisses me off? People who either can’t see their dick or are too drunk and piss all over the seat."
“I got one of those big sombreros that I mow in.”
“My mom doesn’t sweat at all.”
“I sweat in one shirt when it’s 50 degrees.”
“Any job outside is a hard mimosa pass.”
“This is quote unquote Jordan Speith’s home course.”
“Here the only landmark you can only see is Bank of America.”
“Are there elevated port-a-potties over there?”
“You have two options: hold my beer or catch my fall.”
“Polite clapping is so passive aggressive.”
“He’s a good person.”
“You’re the second Kobe I’ve known. The first was the soccer — I mean basketball dude.”
“Hey, I’ve never been to a black tie wedding, so propose to me soon, please.”
“If you’re in high school and you’re 4-11 you can score 30 or 40 a game.”
“This was an illegal landfill and where the media parklot is was an illegal slaughterhouse. They sued the city and it took a while to figure it out. I guess they just forget about this part of town.”
“The best way to settle an argument is to decide who is the ugliest and that person wins.”
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“People would come up to Byron Nelson and say, ‘You don't remember me, do you?" I met you 50 years ago." And he would say, ‘No I don't remember you.’"
“It's raining, but the PGA with its infinite wisdom will figure it out.”
“On Saturday 50 percent of the players like this course. The other 50 percent missed the cut.”
“Don’t forget we are legends in our own minds.”