Stevens Park Review

Texas Outside Rating: 8.5

Golf - Public Course · 18 Holes · Par 70
Dallas
Website · Locate This Course
Date Last Played: April 27, 2016

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Stevens Park Review

Stevens Park Golf Course has played a key role in the history of Texas golf.   It's the oldest of Dallas' five city owned course.  Stevens Park is nestled in the rolling hills of one of the prettiest neighborhoods of Dallas.  Located in Kessler Park just SW of downtown Dallas Stevens Park was a favorite course for some of golf's greats including Don January, Lee Trevino and Lloyd Mangrum.

Stevens Park was a quirky little course squeezed in a rather small piece of land straddling Coombs Creek.  But in 2011 the course went through a full reconstruction directed by John Colligan and Trey Kemp.  And they did a wonderful job on rebuilding the course.  Stevens Park now carries the nickname "Little Augusta" due to its hills, variety of trees and beautiful flowers.  It's loaded with bright red roses which stay in full color long after Augusta's azaleas are gone.

My son and his friends have enjoyed playing Stevens Park due to its uniqueness, location and value.  So I was there at 7;00 this morning.    I was greeted by their upbeat Assistant Pro, Mike Sarap, and sent out for a fun round.  Last year I'd played the white tees and found the course to be a little too short for my game.  Today I played the blue tees and scored much better than last year.  However I'd forgotten some keys from last year.  On the blind dogleg left par 5 6th hole I hit a good drive down the middle but played my 2nd shot at some tall trees that I thought were at the far corner of the dogleg.  You need to choose to play conservatively to the right of those trees or take a risky short cut left of the trees.

And on the 16th hole I forgot to try to fade a shot off the tee around the trees on the right.  I laid up in the middle of the fairway but too short for a safe shot over the creek and up the steep bank to a long left green.  Next time I'll remember!

 My memories of the course will certainly be the hills and the views of the downtown Dallas skyline.  Head pro, Jim Henderson, (27 years on the job!) told me Stevens Park GC was used as the venue for some key scenes in the TV show "Dallas" for those skyline shots.

I'll also remember some special holes that rank high in the "fun factor".   I hit a long-iron off the 3rd tee based on advice from my last year's playing partners as the hole is a 90 degree right turn to a steep uphill shot to the green.  The 9th hole is a long, straight beauty finishing with an uphill shot toward the clubhouse.  The hole measures a big 602 yards from the black tees.

I enjoyed the back nine even more than the front largely due to the scenery.  The 10th hole is a nice risk/reward birdie opportunity if you can nail two nice shots first downhill off the tee then uphill to a pretty green with a colorful floral backdrop of nandinas and roses.   Then the 11th tee box provides the first great view of the Dallas skyline.  The view is even better on the 15th hole.  The 18th hole is a rather tight and challenging uphill finish toward the scenic stone patio of the remodeled old clubhouse.

Some other points of Stevens Park uniqueness are:  1) greens with odd geometric shapes including square corners, 2) very soft and dry sand in all the fairway and greenside bunkers and 3) two small driving cages in lieu of a driving range in this charming,  limited space neighborhood and some shots that definitely made easier with some local knowledge help.

The course was in nice condition especially considering this was late April and North Texas has received some tremendous rainstorms and flash floods in recent weeks.  I'm anxious to play it again this summer and fall.. off the blue tees.

Sam Sherstad

Writer, Recreation Travel Reviews  TexasOutside.com

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Course Slope & Ratings

Tee Box Yardage Rating Slope
Black 6,285 70.8 130
Blue 6,013 70.3 127
White 5,559 67.6 119
Red 4,687 67.2 113

Course Information

Course Architect:
John Colligan & Trey Kemp (on 2011 rebuild)
Greens Type:
Mini-Verde
Greens Condition
8.2
Greens Difficulty
8.2
Fairway Condition
8.3
Bunker Condition
8.8
GPS:
Yes
Walkable:
very hilly but short
Beware of water on 7 holes and the 38 sand traps.

Texas Outside Rating

Overall Rating:
8.5 out of 10
Beauty:
9.3
Difficulty:
8.0
Variety:
8.6
Fun to Play:
8.8
Value:
8.6
Condition:
8.4
Front Nine Rating:
8.4
Back Nine Rating:
8.6
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FEES & AMENITIES

Approximate Weekend
Rates:
$32.00 to $50.00

Head Pro, Jim Henderson, and Assistant Pro, Mike Sarap, both show a real pride in their golf facility. I didn't have time to join my foursome for brunch (we played our round in 3 hours) but I'd heard good reports from them on the quality of the food and drinks in the clubhouse restaurant and bar. The pro shop seemed to have a good selection of merchandise.

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Here's How Texas Outside Determines the Scorecard Rating

The Texas Outside rating scale ranges from 1 to 10 – a perfect 10 course would be something like this:  links along a cliff overlooking the Pacific ocean and bordered by tall trees; lush fairways on rolling hills with lots of natural hazards; water (which is crystal clear) on most of the holes; immaculate greens (but they are undulating and tough); lots of variety and character (each hole is completely different and includes blind shots, elevation changes, doglegs, and significant challenges); perfectly manicured traps with the whitest and prettiest sand you’ve ever seen; a nice club house with great food and a 19th hole; a GPS; plenty of beverage carts or your own cooler and ice; and it only costs $40 bucks! What this means is that you probably won’t find any 10s in Texas – try Cabo San Lucas, Pebble Beach, or some of the Hawaii courses! 
Texas Outside rates courses on the following:

  • Beauty – tall trees, rolling hills, beautiful houses, waterfalls, and similar stuff would score high; a 1 would be flat, bushes or cactus instead of trees, and some grass but mostly weeds
  • Difficulty – a straight, 300 yard par 4 with no traps or hazards, no out of bounds or water would probably get a 1; if it is a 460 yard par 4 over two ravines, with water along one side, natural hazards on the other, strategically placed traps or that dreaded tree right in the middle of the fairway, we are talking a 10. 
  • Variety – what would you give a course where all the holes looked and played exactly the same (“I thought we just played that hole!”); were side-by-side, which is good for finding or dodging other people’s balls, but not much fun; and you can see the flag from every tee box?  That’s right, it gets a 1.
  • Fun Scale – a 10 is where you walk off the course and say “now that was fun” and you can’t wait to get back, or you immediately turn around and play another 18 holes
  • Value – a 5 is $50 to $60, a 10 is $20 to $30, and 1 is $200 or so – of course all of this is dependent upon how you liked the course.  For example, if a run down, boring municipal course, with six players on each hole was only $10; it would still get a value rating of 1.
  • Condition – this one’s pretty easy – what condition are the fairways. A 10 commands very lush perfectly manicured fairways, compared to a 1, which has fire ants, weeds, and more dirt than grass!
  • Condition of Greens and Difficulty – very hard to read greens with lots of undulation and tough pin placement, rate very high on the difficulty scale.  Condition is self-explanatory.  

All of the above determines the overall score for the golf course.  In other words, we like courses that are pretty, fun, very challenging with a lot of variety, and fairways and greens in excellent condition – all for $40.  We also tend to play the courses that are affordable for the masses, which means in the $30 to $80 range. We rate hard and we haven’t found a 10 in Texas yet – don’t worry we haven’t given up and we’re still looking. 

 

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