Cover Story – Best of Public Golf 2021

Cover Story – Best of Public Golf 2021

After a turbulent and trying 2020, this year has been better. We saw the COVID-19 pandemic slow, and life is returning to some semblance of normalcy. Ironically, one of the few industries that has seen a significant increase in revenue is the golf industry. Equipment sales boomed and courses have been busy over the last 20 months as people have had some extra time to hit the links while working from home. Income normally reserved for travel or other activities has been utilized to purchase new equipment or a few extra rounds a month. Of course, golf here in the DFW area didn’t go completely unscathed when it comes to adversity. Back in February, we were hit with record breaking cold temperatures which wreaked havoc on our homes, our vegetation and even the energy grid that powers the whole state. Almost every course in the area saw at least some form of damage, whether it be burst pipes which flooded clubhouses, damage to greens or just dead turf in certain spots. Agronomy is already tough enough with the volatile weather here in North Texas, but this outrageous cold really threw grounds crews a curve ball. From what we observed, many of the courses have bounced back nicely and are back to normal (or pretty close), which is a testament to just how talented these crews across the area can be. So, we here at AVIDGOLFER extend our kudos to the agronomy gurus around the area for getting our courses back up to speed in 2021. It was a wonderful year for golf in Dallas/Fort Worth, and here are our rankings and thoughts on the year in Metroplex golf.


For the first time in a long time, there was a major discussion among our staff as to which daily fee course would be ranked No. 1. With some upgrades to courses around the area and some new clubhouses opening this year, there was some serious debate which property would reign supreme in 2021. After much discussion, AG staff has once again chosen Arcis owned Cowboys Golf Club as its top public option for this year. A killer combination of great course conditions, consistent dedication to improvement, customer service, great food and hospitality was enough to keep Cowboys at the top of the mountain. If you have ever been to Cowboys Golf Club, you understand just what a special day on the course it can be. Yes, it’s also the most expensive public course in the area, now running just north of $200 to play, but when you arrive you will understand where that extra money goes. The clubhouse is great, and if you are a football fan, you will appreciate the memorabilia and football theme to the whole interior. The Ring of Honor Kitchen and Bar is always changing and improving its menu to evolve with the times, with selections that include great burgers and sandwiches, to fish tacos or even a bone-in ribeye. It’s worth checking out just for a nice dinner with friends. If you want to have some cocktails, Cowboys also has a great wine and beer selection, and a great patio to enjoy them. On the course, the halfway house between No. 7 and No. 8 is also great, with everything you need to stock up for the remainder of your round. And trust me, try the jalapeno cheddar sausage. The course always wows, with great conditions, smooth running greens and some great elevation changes you don’t often see in DFW. Be on the lookout for all the other Cowboys themed easter eggs around the course as well. From current and former players names on the carts, to stone markers on the course that detail memorable moments from the history of the franchise. Cowboys in the total package and is deserving of your hard-earned money and our No. 1 ranking for 2021. 

Platinum Courses ($100+) 

Old American Golf Club (East)

Texas Rangers Golf Club (West)

The Tribute Golf Links (East)

Sky Creek Ranch Golf Club (West)

Bridlewood Golf Club (West)

Old American Golf Club took some damage from the winter storm back in February, but some hard work has it back to speed and when we visited a few weeks back, it looked phenomenal. It is also one of only two area courses that hosts a professional event daily fee golfers can play. So, if you want to play a course that hosts an LPGA tour stop, you can certainly do so. The tabletop greens and lakeside, windy terrain make this one of the ultimate tests for ball striking anywhere in the Metroplex. 

Since its grand opening, Texas Rangers Golf Club has been one of the best courses in DFW. The layout is fun and scorable with some great water features and cooky green complexes. The host course of the Korn Ferry Tour’s Veritex Bank Championship is the first Major League Baseball themed course in the United States, and much like Cowboys, there are nods to the game of baseball across the course. The fairway yardage markers are in the shape of home plates, and the holes are all named for baseball terms. For example, No. 1 is called “Lead Off” and No. 5 is called “Double Play”. In addition to the great golf course, at long last the clubhouse opened in 2021, and it’s spectacular. The Home Plate restaurant and patio is a sports bar at a golf course. It would be a fantastic place to watch a game even if you aren’t planning on sticking a peg in the ground. The venue also has conference rooms and even boasts a bridal suite if you want to tie the knot on the property. It’s the total package and one of the best you can play in the Metroplex. 

In our opinion, The Tribute Golf Links is one of the most fun courses you can play in the area. It is a tribute (see what they did there) to all the great European holes. You can play No. 1, No. 17 or No 18 at St. Andrews, or the “Postage Stamp” from Royal Troon and enjoy the vibe without all the travel. It’s a cool concept and one that never gets old and with some forgiving fairways, it can be a great bit of fun to spend a day there. 

Sky Creek Ranch Golf Club is another course that has improved its overall experience over the last several years. A course renovation a few years back improved the course conditions, and they now feature some of the best municipal greens you will find anywhere. The clubhouse is nice but could maybe use a touch up here and there, but the food will blow you away. The barbecue is stupendous for a golf course and their selection of craft ice cream treats is unlike anything featured in any clubhouse in the area. Great layout? Check. Great Greens? Check? Great food? Check. Sky Creek Ranch is a great option for your next round of golf. 

Bridlewood Golf Club hosts the Texas Junior Golf Tour on a regular basis. The reason being they always keep the course in great shape and the members of the TJGT love it. The course is always in great shape, the clubhouse has everything you need for your round, and it has a fantastic finishing hole.  

Top Elite Courses ($79 – $100) 

Heritage Ranch Golf and Country Club (East)

Texas Star Golf Club (West)

Wildhorse at Robson Ranch (West)

The Golf Club Fossil Creek (West)

Frisco Lakes Golf Club (East)

Tour 18 Dallas (West)

Heritage Ranch Golf and Country Club has the feel of a private club with public access. Yes, they have a membership, but as a daily fee golfer you can also play this great course. A massive 24,000-sq. ft. clubhouse overlooks the property, which presents a great challenge and fantastic conditions. Gorgeous tree framed holes and gentle, rolling elevation changes really add to the challenge and make this one of the premiere courses in the area. 

If convenience is something you value, then Texas Star Golf Course should be right in your wheelhouse. It is probably about the easiest property to get to no matter where you may live in DFW. If you’re in Fort Worth and your golfing buddy lives in Dallas? Texas Star is a great place to meet in the middle. The course conditions are always great, and they have some of the most on the ball beverage cart staff in the area. It might be time for a little TLC to the clubhouse and restaurant interior, but it’s still worthy, especially at their current rate, which is becoming more and more of a value each year. 

Wildhorse at Robson Ranch was arguably the best conditioned course we saw all of 2020. Conditions were again good this year, even after the winter storm. The 27 holes, nice clubhouse and great conditions make this a no-brainer to play, even though its location makes it a bit of a drive for the majority of the Metroplex. 

If you are looking to play a course designed by “The King” Arnold Palmer, then The Golf Club Fossil Creek is your only option in DFW. The course has everything you will want as a daily fee player. Nice clubhouse, driving range, and above average course conditions. Plus, some fun routing and some smaller greens that will really test your iron game. 

Frisco Lakes Golf Club remains one of the most played courses in DFW for good reason. The area is booming, the course is always rock solid, and it’s genuinely a good test of golf no matter your skill level. In addition, No. 7, No. 8, and No. 18 are all fun golf holes. They do stay busy, so be sure to book early. 

Tour 18 Dallas is another tribute course, this one pays homage to the great American holes in golf. It features No. 18 from the Blue Monster, No. 17 at Sawgrass, the “church pew hole” from Oakmont and even Amen Corner from Augusta National, which plays as the final three hole stretch of this layout. While we all agree here at AG course conditions could be better (although they are really improving), the course is still a real hoot to play. It stays busy for a reason, and that’s because it’s cool to get to play replica holes of ones you have very little chance to ever step foot on in real life. 

Top Luxury Courses ($69-$79)

Indian Creek Golf Club – Creek Course (East)

Tierra Verde Golf Club (West)

The Trails of Frisco Golf Club (East)

Bear Creek Golf Club – West Course (West)

Buffalo Creek Golf Club (East)

Indian Creek Golf Club features a pair of courses, the Lakes and the Creek. The Creek is our personal favorite, with some whimsical design features that really make this a fantastic test for even the best players. The back nine alone has a 260-yard par three and a 601-yard par five. There are also a couple holes that overlook the Elm Fork of the Trinity River. It’s an interesting and fun 18 holes. 

Tierra Verde Golf Club is now more than two decades old and is still holding strong as one of the best public courses in the Metroplex. Tierra is one of the few courses in the area that has holes that stand by themselves. What we mean is there are very few holes where you can see another hole, which is a rarity these days, especially when it comes to daily fee golf. With a ton of money going into Texas Rangers Golf Club over the last half decade, Tierra might be due for a little TLC (some bunker work would be nice), but it’s still one of the best layouts you can play at a price that’s right. 

The Trails of Frisco Golf Club is another course in that area that sees a ton of play. It’s a good value and an overall great property. The conditions are always well above average, and the course routing has some great personality. 

Much like Texas Star, Bear Creek Golf Club is a fantastic spot that is centrally located. Just south of DFW Airport right off 360, this 36-hole facility improves every time we visit. The West Course has a bit more personality that its sister East Course as it has some elevation changes (especially on the front nine) as well as some fun finishing holes. No. 16 and No. 17 on the West side are both super pretty and challenging. We also love the always quirky No. 13, which requires one of the most precise tee shots you will see anywhere. 

Buffalo Creek Golf Club was once on its last legs. It was a course that was almost certain to eventually be the foundation for a new neighborhood in Rockwall. Now, under new management and with some renovations over the last couple years, the course is looking great again. In 2021, an extensive bunker and tee box renovation further enhanced the property. It’s picking up steam and it’s in great shape. Once again, Buffalo Creek is a worthy play if you live in or make it out to the east side. 

Top Premium Courses ($60-$68)

Tangle Ridge Golf Course (East)

Firewheel Golf Park  – Bridges Course (East)

Grapevine Golf Course (West)

The Golf Club at Twin Creeks (East)

Rockwood Park Golf Course (West)

Pecan Hollow Golf Course (East)

Tangle Ridge Golf Course in Grand Prairie is one of the best layouts in DFW. The routing is great, the holes are interesting, and you just don’t see many courses that have elevation changes like Tangle Ridge (at least not in DFW). A nice driving range, putting green and clubhouse enhance the property and there are plenty of great bunkers to challenge your game. No. 6, No. 9, and No. 14 are just a few of the holes that will keep you coming back. It’s also a fantastic value. 

Firewheel Golf Park’s Bridges Course is still an all-star in on the DFW golf landscape. Their 27 holes are a great test for any player, but the Bridges is still one of our favorites. The slick greens and great conditions make this a must play for those over on the east side. 

When we sat down to do our rankings for 2021, there was at least a minute where everyone in the room entertained the notion that Grapevine Golf Course might be the best overall property in the Metroplex. The conditions of the course aren’t the best, but they’re certainly toward the top of the list. Customer service is great. They have 27 holes. They have a new clubhouse and restaurant with awesome food. If you add all this up and divide by the course rate, you have what many consider to be the best overall property in the area. We couldn’t agree more, and that’s why we can’t get enough of Grapevine. 

If you are looking for another course that boasts great value, then look no further than The Golf Club at Twin Creeks. The course has always been solid, and they have a nice clean clubhouse with good food and drinks at their Elkhorn Grill.

Rockwood Park Golf Course in Fort Worth has been home to the First Tee program for years. The First Tee has a great facility there, and now the course next door does too. After the course underwent an extensive (and FANTASTIC) renovation that was completed in 2017, earlier this year, their new clubhouse opened to complete the complete overhaul of this Fort Worth municipal. The course has some great design elements, and the new clubhouse has everything you need, including a nice patio area to enjoy some drinks pre- or post-round. 

Pecan Hollow Golf Course is another premium option if you are looking to tee it up on the east side of the Metroplex. Great conditions on both the 18-hole course and their short course make this a great option. There isn’t a lot of water, so you can play here and not risk breaking the bank losing a bunch of balls. 

Top Mid-Priced Courses ($55-$60)

Sherrill Park Golf Course No. 1 (East)

Thorntree Golf Club (East)

The Courses at Watters Creek (East)

Split Rail Links & Golf Club (West)

Southern Oaks Golf Club (West)

Sugar Tree Golf Club (West)

The No. 1 Course at Sherrill Park is known around DFW for their tremendous customer service. It is truly second to none as their staff makes you feel like a member of a country club when you tee it up there. Course No. 1 is a fantastic test of golf that will keep you wanting to come back again and again.  

On occasion courses that are private will become public properties. That’s exactly what happened at Thorntree Golf Club in 2018. Since then, the course has remained in good shape, and it’s still a really good value if you’re looking for a course that has a nice layout and good conditions. The clubhouse needs an overhaul, but the course is solid. 

The Courses at Watters Creek is a total package for those in the Plano area. With a beautiful 18-hole course, their nine-hole Players Course and their six-hole Futures Course, along with a driving range and short game area, they have absolutely maximized the usage of the property to be everything golf. It’s a great place to work on your game. 

Split Rail Links and Golf Club had a tough year with the winter storm causing some damage to the course. It has rebounded nicely and is still one of the better places to play when it comes to value and overall aesthetic. The clubhouse has a nice dining area, and the layout is good fun to play. We really like the overall product, and the rates are hard to beat. 

Southern Oaks Golf Club keeps on trucking despite seemingly endless ownership changes. The course still boasts some challenging holes, including a tough finishing trio of holes highlighted by the tight par-4 sixteenth and the long par-3 seventeenth. Although they lost some amenities when the pro shop moved to the smaller building that used to be the tennis center, the course is still well worth playing. 

Located right on the scenic Brazos River, Sugar Tree Golf Club has really been improving on what is already a fantastic property. Lots of tree removal, new sod and improved drainage has helped the course stay in great condition. Of course, there is always the threat of flooding (which they seem to deal with almost annually), but the course routing and beauty is worth the 75-minute commute from DFW Airport. 

Top Value Priced Courses (Under $55)

Prairie Lakes Golf Course (East)

Prairie Lakes Golf Course has 27-holes that vary from rudimentary to downright diabolical. The Red Nine is fairly straightforward with some legitimate chances at some birdies. The White Nine has some real teeth, with the “Grand Bermuda Triangle” stretch of No. 5, 6 and 7, and the Blue Nine has some fun holes, including the uphill par-3 sixth and No. 7, which plays as a downhill, drivable par-4. Oh, and don’t forget Eddlemon’s BBQ to round out the day. 

Best Outlying 

Tempest Golf Club ($79)

Pine Dunes Golf Club ($99)

The Links at Land’s End ($89)

Squaw Valley Golf Club ($60)

Located two hours east in Gladewater, Tempest Golf Club is a course that should be on your radar for a great one-day getaway. The course has some great rolling terrain, including the scenic par-3 fourth hole. Earlier this year, they hosted a U.S. Amateur qualifier, so that should give you some indication of how nice the course is. They also boast one of the biggest American flags in the state, measuring 15 feet in length and fluttering atop a pole that is 208 feet tall. 

Pine Dunes Golf Club has seen a significant uptick in play in 2021, as Golf Channel personality Shane Bacon called this East Texas course the “Best hidden gem in America”. We agree that Pine Dunes certainly deserves to be in that conversation, with it’s almost perfect course conditions, majestic tree lines fairways and sand dunes protruding in abundance throughout the round. 

The Links at Land’s End this is a property that we don’t give near enough credit for being amazing. It sits near Lake Fork and has some wonderful golf holes. It’s perfect for a weekend getaway with the boys.  

Squaw Valley Golf Club is a short drive to Glen Rose and has a pair of great courses. The Comanche Lakes side has some fun water features and some tree framed fairways, while the Apache Links side is more forgiving and open. Both are fun to play, and it being so close, you can easily make the drive, play all 36 and still get back to DFW at a reasonable hour. 



  1. Cowboys Golf Club   $209.99                        A few upgrades around the course have it as good as it has ever been
  2. Texas Rangers Golf Club    $119.00             With the clubhouse up and running, Rangers is one of the true must-play courses
  3. Texas Star Golf Course            $79.00           The course is still great, but it’s high time for some upgrades to the clubhouse
  4. Wildhorse at Robson Ranch   $85.00          Year in and year out it’s tough to beat these course conditions
  5. Sky Creek Ranch Golf Club      $105.00        It’s a total package of great conditions, great greens and great food
  6. Grapevine Golf Course           $60.32             The new clubhouse is fantastic and all 27 holes are always in dynamite shape
  7. Bridlewood Golf Club $105.00                       You don’t ever see anyone that is unhappy after teeing it up at Bridlewood
  8. Split Rail Links & Golf Club      $59.00         One of the most fun finishes in the area with a short par 4 and a gettable par 5
  9. Southern Oaks Golf Club        $55.00            Even with  the ownership turmoil over the last few years, the course has stayed rock solid
  10. Tierra Verde Golf Club            $75.00             The layout is one of few in DFW where almost each hole stands alone
  11. Bear Creek Golf Club – West   $69.95             The West side has some great holes and some recent turf work has it looking fantastic
  12. The Golf Club Fossil Creek      $79.95             A clubhouse renovation is in progress and we can’t wait to see the finished product
  13. Sugar Tree Golf Club   $59.00                           A scenic inward nine makes it worth the short trip to Lipan
  14. Rockwood Park Golf Course   $61.00             New clubhouse is a fine addition to one of our favorite municipal layouts in DFW
  15. Tour 18 Dallas $99.00                                          Conditions continue to improve, but a little more attention to detail wouldn’t hurt

Honorable Mention

Bear Creek Golf Club – East     $59.95             East course is a nice compliment to the West and the atmosphere is fantastic
Canyon West Golf Club           $50.00             Great topography make this a fun layout for those out west
Cleburne Golf Links     $46.00                         Course was hit hard by the winter storm, but it is bouncing back nicely
Cross Timbers Golf Course     $47.00             A great piece of property that seems to improve every time we visit
Hawks Creek Golf Club           $60.00             Layout and conditions are top notch, but the clubhouse could use some TLC
Hidden Creek Golf Course      $48.00             Solid municipal with a location that makes it easy to get to
Iron Horse Golf Course           $58.95             The renovation has this NRH staple looking good, and be on the lookout for the cool murals
Lake Arlington Golf Course     $45.00             Arguably the toughest four par 3’s on the same property in the Metroplex
Mansfield National Golf Club $55.95             Manny Nat is fun, playable course to get your game headed in the right direction
Meadowbrook Golf Course    $42.00             The course has great bones, so we’re looking forward to the scheduled 2023 renovation
Oeste Ranch Golf Course        $42.00             A fun course and an inviting atmosphere make this a stress free day on the links
Pecan Valley – Hills Course     $40.00             Solid conditions and forgiving fairways make this a great place for new players
Pecan Valley – River Course    $48.00             Better conditons than its sister course, with some picturesque water features
Riverside Golf Club     $51.75                                Although the putting surfaces are small, they are some of the best we saw in 2021
The Golf Club at Champions Circle     $56.00             The addition of Big Shots makes this a fun property to visit
The Golf Club at the Resort    $55.00                    Course is for sale, so we’re looking forward to what future ownership might do
Waterchase Golf Club $69.99                           A recent sale of the course has us excited for potential upgrades
Whitestone Golf Club $55.00                        The winter storm did some damage to the greens in 2021, but they are back on track



  1. Old American Golf Club          $150.00           They took a hit from the winter storm but now the course is as good as it has ever been
  2. The Tribute Golf Club.           $125.00                With most members playing Old American, it’s easier to find a preferred tee time
  3. Heritage Ranch Golf & Country Club  $85.00             The outward nine is one of the most gorgeous in the Metroplex
  4. Tangle Ridge Golf Course       $68.00             You just don’t see this type of topography on any other municipal course in the area
  5. Firewheel Golf Park – Bridges Course $62.00             Penal rough make this a challenge even for the top of the food chain player
  6. Sherrill Park Golf Course – No. 1         $57.38             Course is a challenge, and the service on this property is unparalled
  7. Thorntree Golf Club    $55.00                                           Course is still solid, but the clubhouse could use a little love
  8. The Courses at Watters Creek            $59.00             The course calls out to you as you speed by on U.S. 75
  9. Indian Creek – Creek Course   $74.00                         This course flies under the radar, but is worth of its ranking near the top
  10. The Trails of Frisco Golf Club  $70.00                        One of Jeff Brauer’s most unique deisgns that features some tough greens
  11. Buffalo Creek Golf Club          $71.00                    Ownership has really been working hard to improve the course and it’s paying off
  12. Frisco Lakes Golf Club $79.00                        If you haven’t played here, add it to your list. It’s one of the most fun layouts in DFW
  13. The Golf Club at Twin Creeks $64.00             Management just bought the property and they have some grand plans
  14. Prairie Lakes Golf Course        $50.00             The “Grand Bermuda Triangle” is a fun, but incredibly demanding trio of holes
  15. Pecan Hollow Golf Course      $61.00             Their 18 hole course and their short course are both great places to develop your game

Honorable Mention

The Bridges Golf Club $79.00             Winter storm damage was abundant, but the course is making progress
Cedar Crest Golf Course         $46.50             Great value course with great routing for those in Dallas
Country View Golf Club          $45.00             Although in DFW, course has a small town, welcoming feel
Firewheel Golf Park – Old/Lakes Course         $49.00             Courses are still fun, but a renovation would really help them along
Grand Oaks Golf Club $50.00             Rolling meadows are abundant and with some good tee shots, birdies can be too
Indian Creeks-Lakes    $49.00             With a recent renovation complete, the Lakes is gaining ground on its sister course
Irving Golf Club           $48.00             This course is really settling in after it’s 2019 renovation
Keeton Park Golf Course        $41.50             Bring along some extra nuggets, as Keeton features plenty of water
Lake Park Golf Course $34.00             The opening nine has some really enjoyable holes
Luna Vista Golf Course           $48.50             Play 18, then go run a few rounds through your heater at the nearby gun range
Mesquite Golf Club     $50.00             Good spot to go walk nine after work
Oak Hollow Golf Course         $49.00             With firm and fast conditions, it can be a little tougher than it looks on paper
Old Brickyard Golf Course      $43.00             A surprisingly fun layout and when conditions are good it’s a hard to beat value
Plantation Golf Club   $58.00             Rumors of a speakeasy with the upcoming clubhouse renovation have us intriqued
Ridgeview Ranch Golf Club     $64.00             This tight layout puts a premium on straight drives
Riverchase Golf Club   $49.00             Course took some flood damage in 2020, but it has rebounded nicely
Rusted Rail Golf Club  $39.00             Snowmageddon wiped out their greens, but they are all back open now
Sherrill Park Golf Course – No. 2         $42.22             This course is fun and scorable. It’s a wonderful compliment to its sister 18
Stevens Park Golf Course       $58.50             Fun, scorable course that provides some great backdrops of Big D.
Stone River Golf Club $41.00             Claim to have the fastest pace of play in DFW, and we plan to put this to the test
Tenison Park – Glen     $29.00             Despite rumors of its demise for years, the Glen is still open, and it’s still a good value
Tenison Park – Highlands        $62.00             Doesn’t get the credit it deserves for its above average conditions and fun routing
The Golf Club of Dallas           $65.00             Course still has some great holes, but the clubhouse desperately needs a facelift
Waterview Golf Club  $49.00             Plenty of water and tree framed fairways make this a delight to play
WestRidge Golf Course           $79.00             If you want to bang a bucket after work, they have a lighted driving range
Woodbridge Golf Club            $55.00             Another course under new ownership and we can’t wait to see what’s in store

*Some course rates may vary due to dynamic pricing