From Vision To Reality: Trinity Forest, Home Of SMU Golf, Makes PGA TOUR Debut

by Dan M | Posted on Saturday, May 12th, 2018

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From Vision To Reality: Trinity Forest, Home Of SMU Golf, Makes PGA TOUR Debut

When SMU, the City of Dallas and AT&T announced the development of the 400-acre golf complex in 2012, the vision was clear – Build the finest.

A project that would consist of turning an unusable landfill into one of America’s premier golf courses at Trinity Forest.

Six years later, with a collective effort from SMU, the City of Dallas, Trinity Forest, AT&T, the Salesmanship Club of Dallas and the First Tee of Dallas, that vision is a reality and ready to be seen by the world.

Starting Monday, Trinity Forest will be in the limelight as it hosts the PGA TOUR’s 2018 AT&T Byron Nelson. After 35-years at the TPC Four Seasons in Irving, Texas, the vision of the state-of-the-art golf club and bringing championship golf back to Dallas will come to fruition. Designed by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw, the championship course at Trinity Forest Golf Club adheres to their design philosophy that traditional, strategic golf is the most rewarding.

This year’s Byron Nelson means a little more for Dallas’ team, as SMU will get to see its home facility and athletes – both current and former – put in the spotlight.

Along with the 18-hole championship golf course, Trinity Forest Golf Club features a nine-hole short course, an administrative and teaching facility, a practice facility and a practice academy for SMU student-athletes.

As a stakeholder in the project, SMU made a significant contribution to southern Dallas by committing $6 million to build a new training facility and nine-hole short course for the SMU men’s and women’s golf teams. While the championship course acts as the SMU home course and annual host for national collegiate events, the Mustangs have added the Payne Stewart SMU Golf Training Center.

The 6,700-square foot facility features team locker rooms, coaches’ offices, a conference room, a workout center, indoor hitting bay, 70,000 square feet of teeing ground and a 45,000 square-foot putting and chipping green.

“Our commitment to competing for championships and enhancing the student experience requires continued investment in our infrastructure,” said SMU Director of Athletics Rick Hart. “This great facility is just another sign of that commitment by our donors and our university. SMU, its donors and fans have made significant investments in athletics in recent years, and we thank them for their support.”

A phone call from the Dallas city manager to SMU president R. Gerald Turner in 2012 would be the starting point of a project in south Dallas that would continue to elevate SMU golf.

“It was absolutely crucial for SMU to be part of it,” Turner said. “I get calls about a lot of things with great ideas that are going to happen. You kind of say, ‘Yeah great. Let’s keep an eye on that,’ then you go on with your day. This one was going to happen.”

By partnering on the project, the SMU teams have partnered with First Tee, a nonprofit organization dedicated to teaching young and disadvantaged children valuable life lessons such as integrity, respect, perseverance and other character traits through the game of golf.

Jason Enloe, the head coach of the men’s golf team, added that the facility would provide SMU access to a world-class facility for its golf programs, consistently ranked among the top programs nationally.

“Trinity Forest and the Payne Stewart SMU Golf Training Center make for an amazing golf facility,” Enloe said. “The course, the clubhouse, the training center and the practice areas embody the modern game of golf, while still respecting the history of the game. Having a PGA TOUR course at our disposal, our own practice area, and a state-of-the-art golf house will provide advantages to the SMU golf programs that are unmatched in college golf. We are so very grateful for the opportunity to call this our new home.”

Three players who have carried an SMU bag will be at the 2018 Byron Nelson. Current student-athlete Noah Goodwin will make his first PGA TOUR appearance after receiving the Byron Nelson exemption, while PGA TOUR professionals and former SMU standouts Kelly Kraft and Colt Knost will look to make a splash on SMU’s new track.

The 2018 Byron Nelson begins Wednesday with the practice round and Hilton Anatole Pro-Am. Competition kicks off Thursday at approximately 7 a.m. and runs thru Sunday, May 20.

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