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Tierra Verde Golf Club Audubon Beauty Requires Finding The Fairways

By David R. Holland

Spray a shot wide right on Tierra Verde Golf Club’s No. 1 hole and the “Plum Thicket” on this 355-yard par-4 opener will claim another victim.

You have just received a “Welcome to Audubon Signature” golf and Tierra Verde is the first golf course in Texas and the first municipal course in the world to be so honored.

A roadrunner graces the flag stick and wouldn’t you know it as I was driving in to the parking lot a roadrunner ran by.

Throughout this stellar David Graham and Gary Panks 6,975-yard, par-72 layout you will face the “red stakes”, indicating wayward shots are not OB, but lost in a protected environment. Thou shall not enter the hazard, which on many courses is just wooded rough. Take the penalty and a drop where the ball entered the “red zone”.

You won’t mind because Tierra Verde is one of the best examples anywhere of the golf course boom of the ‘90s in the United States that now includes upscale municipal courses. In California this layout would be $100-plus. Here its most expensive golf and cart come on weekends for about $75. Weekday twilight fees are $28.50.

“When we decided to build another golf course in Arlington we wanted to go to a new level of excellence,” said Greg Durante, Arlington’s Parks and Recreation’s golf course general manager. “We already had two fine 18-hole layouts and one nine-hole golf course that were getting extensive play, but we wanted a real quality facility that could compete for tournament play.

“Many golfers are telling us that this golf course looks like it has been here for many years. It is a unique layout with rolling fairways, mature trees, great bunkering and challenging greens, but each hole was designed for playability. You will find long holes and short ones. I think each hole is memorable,” Durante said.

Another thing you will discover is how secluded the area is. Arlington is a booming metropolitan area between Dallas and Fort Worth, but Tierra Verde, in the southwest part of the city, seems far away from the traffic jams.

Tierra Verde has three challenging practice holes and a lighted driving range. Arlington is also home to Texas Rangers Golf Club, Lake Arlington Golf Course and Meadowbrook Park Golf Course.

The 250-acre facility opened in November 1998 and has five tee locations per hole with Tiff 419 in the fairways. The Audubon International Signature Certification means the course was designed, constructed and maintained using wildlife conservation and habitat enhancement, water quality management and water conservation.

Many golf courses irrigate 120 to 130 acres of turf, but Tierra Verde, like the new courses in Arizona, has only 90 acres of irrigated grass.

The Clubhouse at Tierra Verde, just opened in April 2001, has an ambiance reminiscent of Mediterranean architecture.

Course management is the name of the game at Tierra Verde. Keep it in the fairway and you have a chance for some birdies. No. 4, Tucked In, is a 366-yard par-4 that is guarded by cross bunkers. Hit it down the left side and you will have an open approach shot, which has a creek bed just short of the green with stacked rock. The green is tucked in and surrounded by thick trees.

Gambler’s Mood, No. 8, a par 5 at 518 yards, is a dramatic dogleg left. If you have an effective draw and boom it, you can get home in two. The green is multi-tiered and tricky.

The back nine starts with a narrow, scenic short par 4 at 354 yards. You must clear water on your tee shot and the fairway narrows significantly midway down the distance. But this is another birdie chance. The green has a false, narrow front and widens in the back.

The facility features a state-of-the-art golf learning center, a lighted driving range, three-hole practice course and large chipping and putting green complex. Also offered are lessons and clinics taught by PGA/LPGA professionals and apprentices, an outdoor pavilion and full-service restaurant, Ventana Grille, that complement every event from small corporate outings to large fundraising tournaments.

Tierra Verde is award-winning golf.  It is the result of a unique partnership between the City of Arlington, renowned designers Graham & Panks International and Audubon International. Their goal was to create a spectacular championship golf facility with a design sensitive to the environment. Recognized as the 2004 Golf Digest Environmental Leaders in Golf Award, Tierra Verde is the first golf course in Texas and the first municipal course in the world to be certified as an Audubon Signature Sanctuary.

This designation is awarded to developments designed and built using Audubon’s sustainable resource management principles. These principles include wildlife conservation and habitat enhancement, water quality management and conservation, energy efficiency, waste reduction and integrated pest management.

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