Course Review – The Trails of Frisco

Course Review – The Trails of Frisco

No. This isn’t an article about a course that’s closing shop. In fact, it’s about a course that thrives in a now DFW golf hotbed. As the Metroplex continues to expand at a breakneck pace, those up north of Dallas are becoming more and more blessed with great golf properties. Of course, the City of Frisco features the brand-new Omni Fields Ranch courses, which have been met with wonderful reviews. But those courses come with a pretty steep price-tag, so for those looking for golf up in that direction, The Trails of Frisco comes equipped with a fun layout, challenging design elements, and a more budget-friendly rate. 

The Trails of Frisco, a Jeff Brauer design, opened in 2001. It measures nearly 7,000 yards from the Championship tees and comes complete with plenty of risk-reward holes and strategic hazards that will test not only every club in your bag, but your course management acumen, as well. 

The opening hole presents an immediate challenge with an opening par 5. Playing at 562 yards from the tips, this hole has a generous fairway with a bunker on the right. Find it and it becomes a three-shot hole, but in dormant winter conditions like we saw, the additional roll will allow longer players the chance to get home in two. More bunkers surround the putting surface, so even though the yardage to might seem like a green-light, laying up to a solid wedge number might be the simplest path to an opening birdie. 

After a chance to score at the first, The Trails of Frisco shows some teeth at the par-4 second hole. This tight fairway, with a meandering creek running through the middle, is your first look at a recurring theme of tight, target golf that you will experience while on property. A long iron or hybrid is the play here, but that can leave a near 200-yard approach. It’s the No. 1 handicap on the course for a reason. Get through No. 2 with a par or better, and you will likely pick up a shot or two on your competitors. 

After a par 3 and a pair of par 4s, you reach the second par 5 of the day at No. 7. This dogleg left offers another chance to gain a stroke. For my money, this is one of the most interesting holes on property. The dogleg left features rugged mounding, allowing players to take a more conservative line off the tee or challenge the left side and find some extra roll. Take the route to the left and pull it off, and you will be rewarded with a shorter, more manageable approach. 

No. 9 is another tough customer as you end the outward half of the course. Playing at 420 from the tips, this tee shot requires precision and distance to assure you won’t be attacking this green from too far back. The putting surface is protected by a serpentine creek that weaves in front of this natural amphitheater. Miss the fairway on either side, and your second shot will likely be chipping back into position rather than taking on the green. It’s a whimsical finishing hole to the front. 

Of the two nines at Trails, I would have to say I prefer the inward nine, as it has a little more personality. The stretch of 10-13 are all fun and scorable with some unique architectural elements. No. 10 is the third of the par 5s on this layout, and again this one features a winding fairway that snakes right, then back left and right again as you reach the narrow landing area. A creek down the left can collect wayward shots, adding a stroke to your card. 

No. 11 begins an interesting and water-prominent stretch that offers beauty and challenge. This par 3 plays just under 160 from the tips but is all carry over water. Anything that comes up short will be a reload, and anything long of the green will find a large sand trap that leaves players with a delicate shot from the bunker with water behind. Playing to the middle of the green here is a smart play. 

No. 12 is another hole that features water both off the tee and near the green. Finding the fairway can be tough on this hole, but the real conundrum is choosing the correct club to hit the elevated green. Anything short on the approach will roll all the way back down the hill, leaving a brutal up-and-down attempt. Missing the green right is also a no-no, as water will swallow up any shots in that direction. 

After a short par 4 at No 13, which is close to drivable for the bombers, come two par 3s in three holes. No. 14 is a great little par 3 that is a forced carry over wetland marsh to a green protected on the right by a large bunker. A good miss here is just a little short, as anything long will catch a downslope and slingshot into the trees or a small tributary winding behind the green. 

You will see a similar par 3 just a couple holes later at No. 16. More wetland grasses between the tee and green make this feel almost coastal, as if you were suddenly transported to the South Carolina Lowcountry. The hole plays just under 170 from the back tees, but the swirling winds and large bunker left of the green make it anything but easy. 

The penultimate hole at Trails is a tough par 4 that offers players a distinct decision to make. On the day we visited Trails, the south wind was screaming, making hitting three-metal off this tee a no-brainer to end up short of a creek that crosses the fairway at about 235 yards. However, with a opposite wind direction or no wind, players can try to reach a secondary fairway across the creek, making for a much simpler second shot. 

The final hole of the day is also the last par 5 on this par-72 layout. This one also gets a little bit of a quartered-in predominant south wind, so it can play longer than the 575 read on the card. This is a true three-shot hole for most, although there is a speed-slot toward the right side of the fairway which can add some distance as the ball trundles downhill. Even with the extra distance, it will still be a long iron at best over another creek that will catch anything that comes up short. The creek also bends from short left of the green to the back right, so anyone who plays a cut beware that balls fading to the right of the green are likely toast. Left of the green is a good miss should you try to reach the green, but laying up to a nice wedge number is probably the safer and more logical play. 

The agronomy staff at Trails deserves lots of credit for keeping the greens in immaculate shape even during the dormant winter months. I think most weekend warriors are happy to pay close to $100 if the greens are in solid shape, and that’s precisely what you see at Trails of Frisco. The fairways were firm and fast while we were on property in early December, but the greens were as good as any we have seen in 2023, even for this time of year. 

Trails also features a solid driving range and putting green, if you don’t have time for a full round or just want to get in a little short-game practice during your lunch break. 

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention The Trails Bar & Grill, which is a great spot for some grub pre- or post-round. Tu Bones Barbecue is a solid recent addition to the menu, with items like a brisket breakfast sandwich, their pulled pork in a cup or a brisket quesadilla. Also, don’t sleep on the jalapeño cheddar dog or the smashburger either. Any of them are perfect to fuel up before you hit the links, or to pair with a cold beverage as you settle up bets from your day on the course. 

While The Trails of Frisco won’t likely be the easiest course you will ever play, it is a fun and fair test of golf. It challenges every club in your bag, from long irons necessary to hit tight fairways, to driver and wedges. Strategically placed bunkers, water features and marsh grasses must be navigated to score, but should you be up to the challenge, The Trails of Frisco is perfect for any avid golfer.