City Hall

Plans for the Trinity Forest Golf Course Are Finally Taking Shape

When the city, AT&T and golfing legend Lee Trevino gathered at City Hall last November to announce plans for a PGA-caliber golf course in southern Dallas, they were long on such adjectives as "game changer" and "world-class" but short on details, like where the tens of millions of dollars to build the course was going to come from and what exactly they meant by "semi-private."

Those specifics have largely been hammered out, according to a briefing scheduled to be delivered to the City Council on Wednesday. We now know that the course will be run by a nonprofit called The Company of Trinity Forest Golfers, a recently registered organization that shares an address with a financial services firm on McKinney Avenue.

Here are the other things we now know:

Cost: Phase I of the project will cost $33 million. The city's share of that is capped at $12 million. Most of that will cover remediation of the landfill that occupies a portion of the site, though the city will also pick up the tab for some street and lighting improvements and the installation of an irrigation system that will serve the golf course and the Audubon Center.

Funding: Course organizers have made considerable progress selling the $150,000ish memberships, which suggests they'll have little trouble coming up with the $20 million in private cash the city will require before moving forward on its end. And so, the City Council will vote on May 15 to officially lease the land to CTFG, which the Morning News notes is a bit earlier than expected.

SMU: One of the course's big talking points was the inclusion of a golfing charity, the First Tee of Greater Dallas, and SMU, whose golf team would practice and host tournaments there. An agreement with the First Tee is in the bag, but it looks like negotiations with SMU will extend beyond a May 15 target. The hard deadline is August 31, still four months away.

Public Play: Officials have been very fuzzy on this point, but the briefing offers specifics. A full 25 percent of rounds have to be played by non-members. Rounds played by the First Tee and SMU golf team won't count, but corporate events and charity tournaments will. A minimum of 300 rounds per year will be played by Dallas residents.

Nondiscrimination: The city has added an anti-discrimination requirement to the agreement. In other words, women and minorities who can cough up the six-figure membership fee are more than welcome to do so.

The AT&T Trail: That will be the official name. The telecommunications giant has made good on its pledge to donate $2.5 million to build a 4.25-mile stretch of trail that will skirt the golf course and snake through the Trinity River Audubon Center. In return, the company gets to name the pathway and plaster its logo on various signage. Thus, Dallas has its first trail named for an corporation.

Construction is set to start on October 31, assuming CTFG comes up with the cash and SMU officially gets on board, both of which seem imminent. This thing's looking more and more like a certainty.

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Eric Nicholson
Contact: Eric Nicholson