Dallas' high-dollar golf course discourse



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Posted on December 5, 2012 at 11:00 PM

Updated Thursday, Dec 6 at 12:06 AM

Proposed Trinity Forest Golf Course

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DALLAS — A multi-million dollar world class golf course proposed in southern Dallas has the real possibility of luring the PGA's Byron Nelson Championship to Big D, along with some of the finest golfers in the world.

But that leads to important questions: Who else would be able to play at the new facility? And who might not be able to?

Southern Dallas community activist Ben Brown thinks a PGA-standard golf course would be a vast improvement to the proposed plot south of downtown that is currently distinguished by overgrown brush and the city dump. "I am very excited about that," he said.

But Brown believes the planned links go badly off-course when he hears the discussion from City Hall about how much a membership at the planned Trinity Forest club might cost.

“Between 100 and 150 thousand dollars,” Dallas City Council member Scott Griggs estimated at the body’s Wednesday meeting.

"That's a lot more than people are paying for their houses," Brown said.

Councilman Griggs touched on that at City Hall. “This is going to be a golf course out of reach for everyone in the City of Dallas," he said.

Everyone in Dallas would have to chip in to build the course, since up to $12 million in tax money has been committed to the project. But those behind the plan insist this isn’t a public subsidy to build a playground for the wealthy.

“This will be a game-changer in southern Dallas,” Mayor Mike Rawlings gushed at a news conference last month. He predicted that such an extensive and high-profile starter development will lead to many millions of dollars worth of future improvements in southern Dallas that will eventually make the grass greener on the other side of the Trinity, even for those who don’t golf or who don’t have the reserves to afford a membership.

This may allay some concerns: The city says since public money is being used, one-fourth of the time on the greens would be reserved for non-members.

Many details still need to be worked out, and millions of private investment dollars still need to be raised. Development is slated to begin in the spring, with a target opening date three years after that.

E-mail jwheeler@wfaa.com