PGA Tour Golf Courses

How to Play the Private Course at This Week’s PGA Tour Venue


Dallas golf vacations

Savvy golfers can often play the private, Cottonwood Valley course on their Dallas golf vacations (photo courtesy Four Seasons Resort Dallas at Las Colinas.)

If you follow the coverage of this week’s PGA Tour event in Dallas, Texas (The HP Byron Nelson Championship), you’re obviously going to see and hear a lot about the host course: the TPC Las Colinas, part of the Four Seasons Resort Dallas at Las Colinas.

What you probably won’t hear much, if anything, about is the Cottonwood Valley Golf Course located just across the street.

You won’t hear about this Jay Morrish design (which was part of the Nelson Tournament mix until 2008) because it’s private, but if you find yourself traveling to, or through, the “Big D,” and want to play this very good course, here’s how to do it.

First, if you were to simply look on the Four Seasons Resort Dallas’ website or take the word of its reservationists, you’d think there’s no way to play Cottonwood Valley without being, or knowing a member.

However, if you stay more than one night at the resort and make a request directly through the pro shop, you will likely be able to secure a tee time on Cottonwood Valley.

Many members actually prefer it to the newly toughened TPC Las Colinas, also designed by Morrish (and redesigned in 2007 by D.A. Weibring).

For one thing, Cottonwood Valley plays several shots easier than the TPC course, mainly because there’s plenty of room to hit the ball all over the yard and still make par.

The round starts off with a memorable two-shotter whose fairway leads down to a water hazard crossing dangerously close to a Texas-shaped green. But Cottonwood Valley’s best moments occur on the back nine, where more water holes get your adrenaline going.

The course sees much less traffic and enjoys a more secluded ambiance, too, though the routing runs closer to the Dallas/Ft. Worth Airport, a noisy neighbor that affects both courses.

I guess it’s the price you pay for convenience; you can go from tarmac to tee here in about 30 minutes.

If you visit, be sure to leave a little time before or after your round to visit the golf shop, a full emporium for golf and tennis players alike. The corridor just outside the shop features storyboards of the past winners of the Byron Nelson Championship and an extensive collection of Bryon Nelson memorabilia.

Have you played Cottonwood Valley or TPC Las Colinas? Have any comments or tips of your own? Please share them below.

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  1. Wayne Talsky

    May 23, 2011 at 8:41 am

    I have played the TPC Las Colinas Course and my only advice I would add is to check the weather report before booking your trip. The wind during different seasons can be quite substantial. Unless you are a proficient wind player, this course could prove to be harder than normal. It is a great track and has plenty of room off the tee. Water comes into play, if you have a tendency to spray the ball as there are several holes with water running parralel to the fairways. The course is usually in great condition! The experience is better than 4.5 out of 5 stars in my opinion.

  2. Craig Better

    May 23, 2011 at 8:45 am

    Thanks, Wayne. Speaking of conditions and difficulty, anyone wanting to experience the course in near-tournament conditions should visit between April and June.

  3. Roger Stewart

    May 23, 2011 at 9:27 am

    I’ve played TPC Las Colinas three times and will continue to play it every chance I get. I totally agree with the saying, “To each to their own” but TPC Las Colinas is my favorite golf course of the three TPC courses, and hundreds of other courses I have played around the country and a few in Canada. There is just something peaceful about the setting in Irving that inspires me to play better golf, and the partners I’ve been lucky enough to have on the course have been a pleasure to play with. It’s a well cared for, top notch course, with enough challenges to keep your round interesting, but not enough to discourage you. In regard to the weather during play, it is said if you don’t like the weather in Texas, stick around a little while and it will change. Great course; I love it!

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