"I grew up playing those courses, and it was really shocking how bad the conditions were," says Wolford. "But we just didn't have any other options back then."
Dallas Parks and Recreation director Paul Dyer says the project, budgeted for $5 million, had to receive city council approval, and initially there was plenty of skepticism. So much so that a group of citizens was able to get an injunction to halt the work for nearly a year. But after addressing concerns about tree removal, environmental concerns, and prices, renovations began and were finished a year later.
"Some of those same skeptics just said, 'Wow,' when we got finished," says Dyer.
David Brown, vice president and general manager of the American Airlines Center in Dallas, freely admits he was one of the leading critics of the Tenison Highlands plan.
"But Tenison Highlands has become everything I didn't think it could be," says Brown. "Now I'm a big fan of having such an asset just five to seven minutes east of downtown."
"When we have a Mary Kay convention in town, there are thousands of spouses looking for something to do, and it's crazy for them to have to go to Plano or Lewisville or Frisco to play golf instead of right here in Dallas," adds Sam Swanson, president of Golf Resources Inc.
St. Paul's Highland Park National, which is scheduled to reopen in the spring of 2005, calls for a complete renovation of a course that opened back in 1927. Local officials feel that when its $4.5 million facelift is complete, it will be as nice as many private clubs.