In a metropolitan area that is peppered with hundreds of golf courses like Dallas-Fort Worth, it can be easy to find a tee time but a little bit harder to find a course that’s the complete package. Many of our favorites have the pristine fairways and greens we all admire, or the tricky hazards to zig-zag around. Some courses force you to pull some irons out on the tee box, and some have the rolling hills of a lush paradise. What if we had the place you could go for all of the above? Grab your bag and head over to The Trails of Frisco Golf Club.
There’s not one main contributing factor that makes this track delightfully challenging; it’s a blend of strategically placed tee boxes, lush wetlands, the constant presence of water and small wrinkles in the topography that offer up harsh penalties for the wildly wayward shot. But when that pure shot comes, Trails delivers the rewards in spades.
The Trails of Frisco, a Jeff Brauer design, opened in 2001. It measures nearly 7,000 yards from the Championship tees and contains all the amenities and features of a true quality course. More importantly, this track was masterfully designed to create a more cerebral experience for the player, instead of a “grip it and rip it” scenario.
Starting on the tee, players from the back are presented the opportunity to ditch the driver on a handful of holes in order to weave around the ever-present water features and wetlands or to thread the narrow gaps created by thick groves of trees. If you aren’t playing from the tips, using hybrids and fairway woods will still help keep tee shots from spraying left or right or entering many mid-fairway hazard areas. A common theme for all players at this course is to focus on keeping the ball in play and in front of you.
All but possibly four fairways (Nos. 1, 7, 8 and 9) were designed without much, if any, room for errant shots. The tight fairways encourage a safer, smarter game plan instead of capitalizing on a risk-reward approach. For example, hole No. 4 is a 378-yard par 4 that lies inside thick borders of trees and a stream running parallel on the right before it crosses over the fairway in front of the green. The green, slightly tucked away on the right side, is easily reachable in regulation with a well-struck tee shot.
However, the slightest draw or fade sends your ball swimming or lost in the brush. If you’re 100 percent certain that you can hit a drive straighter than string, then by all means, go for it. For those of us who aren’t as confident, grabbing a lesser club is in our best interest to avoid a penalty stroke.
The wetland and brush hazards, while a main focus on almost every hole, are representative of the great course conditions at Trails of Frisco. They’re abundant enough to make you think before each shot, but they aren’t in any way unruly, unkempt or overtly bothersome. In some cases, they add a lot of depth and intrigue to the course’s visual aspect. On hole No. 13 (a 351-yard par 4), players hitting from the back tees have a dense patch of shrubbery and grasses directly in front of them that slightly obscures the view of the fairway. It not only adds some difficulty to the tee shot but provides an interesting visual appeal as well.
A similar scenario continues onto the next hole, the 231-yard par 3 14th. Here, the wetland hazard areas create a semi-island green. Players from all tee boxes face a wide valley-like area of nothing but brush and water before the landing area and green. It’s not a hard hole for scoring, but it is visually unique and fun to play.
Our kudos goes to the staff and grounds crew at Trails of Frisco for creating some incredible course conditions. The fairways were verdant and void of any rough patches, and the greens were equally as manicured. They lacked any nicks and rolled quite nicely – even a bit quicker than we first expected, which is always a nice surprise. The slight undulation across each putting surface gave each hole a different finish without being too diabolical.
The crew also manages to create a nice secluded feeling while you’re on the course, despite being nestled directly in the center of the Frisco suburbs. Large tree lines that border the holes – especially on the back nine – provide a buffer for some solitude from the kids playing in backyards or weekend pool parties. It’s a great opportunity for a quick Saturday afternoon escape without having to venture too far out of the way.
If you can’t fit in a full round, The Trails of Frisco’s driving range and practice area is a wonderful way to work on your game. Both are centrally located near the clubhouse with plenty of room for a busy weekend crowd.
While this track is definitely not an easy one, The Trails of Frisco is quite the thrill to play. It’s a true test of all aspects of your game; from hitting multiple clubs off the tee to working on precise shots throughout the fairway and around the greens. The challenging course layout makes scoring well much more gratifying and exciting than on its simpler counterparts. There’s really no doubt in our mind that The Trails of Frisco is a must-play for any avid golfer.
Trails of Frisco Golf Club
Address: 10411 Teel Parkway,
Frisco, TX 75034
Phone Number: 972-668-4653
Designer: Jeff Brauer
Year Opened: 2001
Par/Yardage: 71/6,959 yards (Championship tees); 6,317 yards (Back); 5,777 yards (Middle); 5,104 yards (Forward)
Greens: Champion Bermuda
Rates: Mon-Thurs $45, Fri $50, Sat-Sun $60. Rates are for peak hours and include cart.
Toughest Hole: No. 2, 468-yard par 4. From the looks of the scorecard diagram, the second hole shows you a slight dogleg to the right that has water running down the left side that eventually cuts the fairway in two. Doesn’t sound too terribly hard, right? Well once you step onto the tee box (especially from the Championship tees) you can see that the trees that line each side of the hole reach in to create a near-impossible gap to the fairway. This hole, aptly designated the No. 1 handicap hole on the course, forces you to choose between hitting a driver and praying it doesn’t stray far from your intended line or hitting an iron or hybrid to thread it through the gap. The second shot tends to be a little easier as the only greenside hazard is a creek that runs parallel on the right hand side- no sand on this hole. No. 2 seems to epitomize the theme at this course: keep the ball in front of you.
Favorite Hole: No. 14, 167-yard par 3. Nothing is like the pressure of an island green to get the competitive juices going, and that’s what is (kind of) happening on this fun par 3. The 167-yard hole faces a valley of wetlands in front of the tee area and a creek, trees and a bunker encircling the green. It’s not a long hole, nor is it particularly hidden by the hazards, but it’s visually stunning from the tee box and a way to finish strong toward the end of your round.
Most Intriguing Hole: No. 17, 468-yard par 4. This hole is a fun one because, if you know what’s ahead of you, it’s a chance to strategize your shots like putting together pieces of a puzzle. If you’re a first-timer out there, it can be a quick way to lose a few balls in the brush or in the winding creek that splits the fairway into thirds. The hole has the slightest dogleg to the left layout that might tempt shorter hitters to lay up to get a better angle from the right. What first-time players don’t know is that while the larger part of the creek greets you and your tee shot, it actually winds around to create another hazard about 50 yards away and then runs parallel up the left side. Aim too far left? You’re in the creek. Lay up a little short? You’re in the creek. If you find that sweet spot and go for it, it’s one of the most gratifying shots all round.