““[Bill Gates] has been historically one of my best supporters…One of my favorite e-mails he ever sent me…I proposed this crazy project. And he sent back this two-line response: ‘This has got to be the craziest thing you’ve ever suggested. Please proceed.’” ”
The best classic golf courses in the south central U.S.
Our series on America's best golf courses continues with a look at three of the best classic fairways in the south central U.S., as determined by Golfweek magazine's handpicked panel of 385 course raters. The raters, who are students of architecture, attend national workshops and each evaluate 15 to 20 courses per year.
Here's what distinguishes these classic courses. We've also included information on the most convenient places to land your business jet near each course.
Brook Hollow Golf Club, Dallas, Texas
This is very much an in-city course, but don't let the surrounding office buildings distract you from a fine old A.W. Tillinghast design. Back in 1921, Brook Hollow was the country's first fairway with tee-to-green underground irrigation. The trees have since matured, and a loving restoration by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw a decade ago has ensured that the club's graceful, lacey bunkering remains as intriguing to the eye as it is formidable to play.
Dallas Love Field (DAL)
8,800-ft runway, four-mile drive
FBOs: Business Jet Center (888-387-7477); Dalfort Fueling (214-353-7000);
Jet Aviation (214-350-8523); Jet Direct Aviation (877-359-6520); Landmark Aviation (214-353-2240); Signature Flight Support (214-956-1000); Vitesse Aviation Services (972-647-7300)
Champions Golf Club-Cypress Creek Course, Houston, Texas
This was an unlikely setting for the 1969 U.S. Open. The Ralph Plummer design was only 10 years old; the greens were Bermuda grass; and the putting surfaces were simply enormous-averaging more than 9,000 square feet. Nearly four decades later, however, the course has justified the early attention. At 7,301 yards, this par-71 layout with dramatic sweeping doglegs remains strong enough to test the best players, as it did for the season-ending Tour Championship in 1990, 1997, 1999, 2001 and 2003.
David Wayne Hooks (DWH)
7,009-ft runway, seven-mile drive
FBO: Tomball Jet Center (281-251-2800)
Country Club of Birmingham-West Course, Birmingham, Ala.
Country Club of Birmingham is perhaps Donald Ross' greatest routing achievement, with 36 holes of this gracious old course on the south side of town spilling out and radiating back to the Tudor-style clubhouse. The West Course, dating from 1929, is the more expansive and sophisticated of the two layouts. It is notable for the scale of its features and the way Pete Dye's renovation work from two decades ago actually accentuated all of the existing ground features and contours.
Birmingham International (BHM)
10,000-ft runway, nine-mile drive
FBOs: Jet South (866-538-5246), Mercury Air Centers (205-591-6830)