Courses and Travel

From Cowtown to Golf Boomtown in Frisco, Texas

Located 30 minutes from downtown Dallas and DFW Airport, Frisco, an assembly point for cattle drives on the Shawnee Trail way back in 1838, is today one the fastest-growing small cities in America. As corporate greenbelts go, it's the hottest 69 square miles in north Texas. Within Briar Center, a mixed-use development across from Legacy Business Park, home to corporate giants from JC Penney to Frito-Lay, is the Westin Stonebriar Resort , which debuted two years ago and is the first full-service hotel to be built in the Dallas area since the late 1980s. Open to club members and resort guests, the Fazio Course at Stonebriar Country Club offers visiting business people a perfect place to tee it up between meetings and appointments.

On dead-flat wheat fields fanned out behind the hotel, Tom Fazio performed what he called "total site manipulation" to create contours and landforms where none had existed. "The land doesn't matter," Fazio said during construction. "You can build a great golf course anywhere." Especially on a handsome budget: With a price tag of more than $10.5 million, Stonebriar is the one of the more expensive resort courses to be built in the Lone Star State.

After moving 600,000 cubic yards of dirt, relocating 325 tons of boulders to support retaining walls, digging irrigation lakes, planting 2,500 trees, and seeding the layout's perimeter with four types of native grasses, Fazio set to work crafting holes. The final result is a lovely, seamless design, its dished-out fairways framed by rolling berms. Like all Fazio designs, the bunkering is visually striking and dramatic. The steady southwest breeze must be factored into every shot, while the smooth bentgrass greens, none smaller than 6,000 square feet, have long slopes and subtle ledges. They provide ample resistance to scoring.

The five-story hotel, featuring natural stone floors as well as native pecan and walnut furniture and millwork, offers 301 spacious guest rooms with high-speed Internet access, data ports, and "fresh air balconies." There's also a lagoon-style outdoor pool, a 6,000-square-foot fitness center/spa, and 24,000 square feet of meeting space. Shopping, a serious pastime in and around the Big D, can be pursued at the nearby Stonebriar Centre Mall.

Green fee for hotel guests is $115. Rate includes cart and range balls. Stonebriar's Championship Package, priced at $249 for two, includes accommodations for one night, breakfast for two in the Legacy Grill, and a round of golf for one. Executive Package, at $359 per night, has the same features but the round of golf is for two. Reservations: 972-668-8000. Web site: www.westin.com.

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