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Tripp Davis Creates Novel Short-Course Design in Texas


Long Cove, a new private residential community on Cedar Creek Lake near Dallas, has announced the opening of the Proving Grounds, a short course and practice facility designed by Tripp Davis and Associates.

The Proving Grounds blends a high-quality practice facility and a family-friendly short course for players of varying ability levels who want to enjoy the game without the pressure of playing a traditional 18-hole course. Davis, regarded as one of the leading restoration specialists in the U.S. and a former top amateur, calls the Proving Grounds his "most unique design" because it presents multiple, fun playing options.

"The goal in designing this course was to provide a kid-centric environment but also something that is challenging for an experienced golfer if played the right way," Davis explains. "Angles have been set up to play either very easily or very difficult, all depending on the way the ball is placed."

"At one end of the spectrum, we drew inspiration from professional practice facilities where players are able to re-create every shot they might encounter on a full course in the design of a practice facility that will test even the best shot makers," said Don McNamara, developer of Long Cove. "At the other end, we wanted a low-pressure environment where a father could actually enjoy teaching a daughter to play or a whole family could enjoy the game on a summer evening in bare feet. Tripp Davis delivered exactly what we wanted."

The 17-acre Proving Grounds is designed to allow tremendous flexibility in its set-up. The general plan is to operate as a practice facility in the morning and then convert the property for short-course play in the afternoon and evening. The short course can be played either clockwise or counterclockwise in a nine-hole sequence with an average tee-to-green distance of 125 yards. Given the relatively small population of homeowners at Long Cove, it is also set-up to play "anarchy-style," with multiple alternative routings that include par-4s and par-5s.

The practice facility boasts a 340-yard driving range, multiple greens, bunkers and a water hazard.

"At a time when the golf industry is looking for new ways to engage a broader audience, we think the Proving Grounds is a welcome addition to the contemporary golf landscape," added Long Cove president Christopher Kelsey. "We agonized over whether or not to include a full 18-hole course in our new resort community because Dallas is a golf-centric market, but we knew that the operational economics of a new club simply don't work in the long-term."

Designed as a walking-only course that follows the flow of the land, the compact layout makes it easy to carry a full bag, but also invites taking only a handful of clubs in one hand and a cocktail in the other. The Proving Grounds features Bermuda fairways and Champion Bermuda grass greens and is surrounded by a forest of mature live oaks and pines.