Tierra Verde Golf Club opened in 1998 as a unique partnership between the City of Arlington, renowned designers Graham & Panks, and Audubon International. Their goal was to create a spectacular championship golf facility with a design that was sensitive to the environment. And they did a fantastic job on exceeding both of those objectives. Along the course there are environmentally sensitive areas that you need to stay our of as well as informative plagues about the terrain, wildlife, and more.
Tierra Verde is the first golf course in Texas and the first municipal course in the world to be certified as an Audubon Signature Sanctuary – a very prestigious designation. Tierra Verde also does a lot to protect the environment and support being green – for example, they built a rain water collection tower and the air conditioning is powered by geothermal.
The course layout is also outstanding and a real pleasure to play – it's fun, scenic, challenging, and well maintained and manicured. All of which has contributed to the Dallas Morning News recently ranking Tierra Verde Golf Club as number 80 in the "Top 100 Golf Courses in Texas" and Avid Golfer placing Tierra Verde in the "Top Mid-Priced Course in the DFW Metroplex."
Tierra Verde will throw a little bit of everything at you – water, strategically placed bunkers, blind shots, dog legs, uphill and downhill shots, tiered greens, challenging approaches, and risk reward opportunities. With five sets of tee boxes and yardages ranging from 5111 to 6975, you can choose a yardage that fits your game.
Part of what makes playing Tierra Verde Golf Club fun is that they have given each hole a name – we read the name and took a bet on what we thought we were we were going to face on that hole. Some examples include:
- Deception – what looks like a fairly easy par 4 is deceivingly tough thanks to a slight uphill climb on what looks like a wide fairway (but spray it right and you're history) to a relatively flat but two tier green
- Southern Wind – the prevailing wind can make this already long (193 yards) par 3 very challenging
- Gamblers Mood – step up to the tee box on this dog leg left and take a gamble on a high risk reward shot to try and cut the corner by flying the trees and avoiding the large strategically placed bunker – make it and a birdie may win the bet
- Take Care – you need pinpoint accuracy off the tee to carry the lake and miss the fairway bunkers and then a precise shot to a multi-tiered green
- Over The Ridge – be careful on this blind tee shot that requires a straight tee shot that hugs the left side
On Leaning Tree, #13, we could not figure out why it was named that – a local told us that there used to be a huge branch that hung out over the pond blocking most of your tee shot and forcing you to hit left toward one of the bunkers, but lightening recently knocked the branch off the tree. Maybe they should rename the hole "Treacherous Bear" thanks to the forced carry over the pond and the two strategically placed bunkers waiting for your drive if you clear the water and then an uphill shot to a multi-tiered green flanked by bunkers.
Holes 16, 17, and 18 are three excellent finishing holes that make the back nine very memorable – The Marsh requires a big carry over a lake and three large fairway bunkers; Up to You is a short 297 yard par four that will temp you to risk trying to drive the green or you can take the safer approach to the right side; and after #18 named Home Again you'll be ready for a drink at the bar – you'll need to manage a forced carry over a large lake, three treacherous bunkers guarding the right side of the fairway, a creek that crosses the fairway, and a narrow approach to a relatively flat green guarded by a couple bunkers.
The front nine gives you an opportunity to turn in a good score – it's pretty straightforward with several par and birdie opportunities. The back nine is fantastic – more scenic and lots tougher thanks to water, more trees, strategically placed bunkers, tough tiered greens, and tighter fairways.
Speaking of the fairways, when we played they had just been aerated and were still transitioning from winter to summer. They were in very good condition and some locals verified that they are normally in excellent condition during the season. In most cases the landing zones are wide and ample with a large playable rough – after that you'll be lost in the trees and natural areas. Most of the fairways are gently rolling with some contour, mounding, and berms. Not homes or barking dogs, but you will usually see plenty of wildlife – roadrunners, a variety of birds, rabbits, and a family of bobcats.
The greens were also in very good condition and can be tough if you land on the wrong side of the tier giving you a challenging putt to the cup. The Tierra Verde greens are about average size, ran true at a fair speed of around 9 to 10, and held the ball well.
The bunkers at Tierra Verde Golf Club are strategically placed, range in size from small to huge, and some are treacherous with steep and deep faces – don't expect to hit in them and run out! The sand is a little gritty, thick, and firm.
Bottom line – a great track and a fantastic back nine, outstanding clubhouse, good food, friendly service, and a pretty good value.
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The service is excellent and very friendly, the pro shop is well stocked, and the grill serves some great food. The facility features a state-of-the-art golf learning center, a lighted driving range, three-hole practice course, and a large chipping and putting green complex. Every weekend during the summer, Tierra Verde hosts a Party on the Patio with live music.