Irving Golf Club in Dallas, Texas, will open this month following a comprehensive renovation of the former Twin Wells golf course by Colligan Golf Design.
Twin Wells opened over 30 years ago and was built on landfill, flanked on the south and east sides by the Trinity River and by a highway on the west. The north boundary runs alongside a four-lane road and the course is crisscrossed by several high-power electric lines. “Not exactly what you might consider your ideal golf course site,” said John Colligan.
“My associate and I are not as fortunate as many of the big-name architects who get to design their award-winning courses next to the ocean, in the sandhills, or in the mountains; not to mention the 20-plus million-dollar budgets they have to work with.
“Several of our best projects had sites of 125 acres or less with budgets under two million dollars. This is when real creativity comes into play; not only in design but with a tight budget and timeframe.”
The renovation has included the rerouting of eight holes and installing a new irrigation system.
TifEagle greens and surrounds have been reshaped and built to USGA specifications; the 419 bermurda tees were reconstructed and levelled; and the 419 bermuda fairways have been recontoured to drain better, increase strategic interest and to be more user friendly.
“In order to reinforce the links appearance over 20 acres of blackland prairie, native blend was planted,” said Colligan. “These grasses will help to provide definition and beauty to the course while reducing the amount of acreage to be maintained.
“The end result is a course which is unlike any other in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, incorporating an appearance, style and play values reminiscent of many of the great links courses in Scotland, England, Wales and Ireland.
“Incorporating wide user-friendly fairways, greens that beg for an approach shot played on the ground and flat bottom bunkers with steep grass faces, the only things missing are a few sheep.”
Colligan has aimed to improve the course’s strategy definition and beauty by incorporating 27 bunkers.
Read more: our coverage from the construction phase includes more about the changes at Irving Golf Club.
“The property was flat, so we turned that into a positive by creating a links style course,” said Colligan. “We moved a minimum amount of soil so that the result did not look contrived and this helped to keep the budget down.
“There are no courses with this look and playing characteristics in the market and very few golfers get to experience the true links courses over the pond. Irving Golf Club will give them a taste of what people enjoy in the UK and the Republic of Ireland without the cost of a plane ticket.”