Iron Horse Golf Club northeast of Fort Worth is a stiff but enjoyable ride

By Travel ArticlesNovember 5, 2012, 5:00 am

NORTH RICHLAND HILLS, Texas -- From the back tees, Iron Horse Golf Club is just 6,679 yards from the tips. So as you get through the first three holes -- par 4s that are 420, 430 and 465 yards respectively -- you're probably thinking to yourself that there must be a bunch of short holes coming up.

Not exactly.

Iron Horse is only a par 70, which is like playing a 7,000-yard, par-72 course. And beyond that, most of the holes at Iron Horse require placement over length. The ability to work the ball is an asset, too, but a little length on some of the holes definitely comes in handy.

It's no wonder the slope/rating is 72.6/127. (That's 2.6 strokes over par since it's a par 70.)

But before we scare you off, here's a solution for anyone who's not a 6-handicap or less: Don't play the back tees. You'll have a lot more fun, the forced carries aren't as difficult and you can hit shorter clubs into these well-guarded greens.

'I think what sets us apart is the overall playability of the course,' said Head Golf Professional Chris Miles of the Gary Stephenson-designed municipal course that remains a favorite in the Fort Worth area.

'And from a staff aspect, you'll find that most of the people who come in say this is one of the friendliest places they come into,' Miles said. 'Most of our staff knows the majority of players by name. So it's not the typical public course where you just check in and play. There are relationships here between our staff and the players.'

Iron Horse Golf Club's friendly atmosphere

What else would you expect from a club that has a model train in the clubhouse? That's right, as the name implies, the 23-year-old facility is built around a railroad theme.

In fact, a railroad trestle runs right though the course, and there are old train cars set around it, including one that serves as the halfway house. And a train actually still operates through the area. The historic Tarantula runs from Grapevine to the Fort Worth Stockyards, carrying tourists.

For golfers, the experience even carries to the tee boxes, where pieces of rail mark the tees. And a locomotive is the course logo.

The locomotive might be a good model for golfers, too. Because like an old steam engine, it's best to be patient. Take it slow and gather momentum.

'Most of the golf course doesn't require driver off the tee, but it does require placement right around the 150 yard marker,' Miles said.

But there are times, such as on those first three holes from the tips, where a well-placed driver is probably the club of choice.

And there are times where a hybrid or iron off the tee is the way to go.

Favorite holes at Iron Horse

'No. 2 and No. 3 are great holes,' Miles said. 'Both require very accurate tee shots.'

The third is the longest par 4 on the golf course. It requires a shot over Fossil Creek, which runs throughout the course. It has a very tight landing area and even a good tee shot sets up a long approach.

The par 3s are pretty strong, too. The eighth is 190 yards with ponds left and right. And the 17th can play more than 200 yards with water in front of the green.

The 15th might be the signature hole on the course. There's a creek off the tee and another crossing before the green. It requires a workable-type tee shot as well.

And, according to Miles, No. 18 might be one of the best finishing holes in the Metroplex. When the tee is all the way back, it's 250 yards in the air to clear the creek, albeit downhill. The approach isn't much easier with trees and bunkers surrounding the green.

'When there's a strong prevailing south wind, we move the tee up,' Miles said.

Iron Horse Golf Club: The verdict

Iron Horse Golf Club really is a challenging course that plays much more difficult than its yardage. The shorter holes -- such as No. 7 (335 yards) and No. 10 (382) -- can be among the most difficult because of the tight windows off the tee. But the key is to play them conservatively.

The best part about Iron Horse really is the overall atmosphere. It has a nice clubhouse with friendly staff and good food; rangers are very polite but manage to keep play moving along, and the professional staff makes you feel like family.

Practice facilities include a range, short-game area and practice green. And lessons are available from the staff. Considering the relatively low price and the overall condition of the course, including its outstanding greens, Iron Horse is a great choice for the local golfer as well as the traveler.

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Winning on Kerr's mind this week and beyond

By Randall MellMarch 24, 2018, 2:11 am

Cristie Kerr moved into position Friday to do more than win the 21st LPGA title of her career.

She moved into position to claim an LPGA Hall of Fame point this week.

Yes, winning is foremost on her mind at the Kia Classic, where she took the lead with an 8-under-par 64 in the second round, she’s on a larger quest, too.

After turning 40 last fall, Kerr was asked what her goals are.

“The Hall of Fame is attainable, if I stick with it,” she said.

Kerr is five shots ahead of Lizette Salas (67), In-Kyung Kim (69), Hee Young Park (70) and Caroline Hedwall (70).

It’s a good time for Kerr to get on a hot streak, with the year’s first major championship, the ANA Inspiration, next week. She has long been one of the best putters in the women’s game, but her ball-striking is impressive this week. She hit 17 greens in regulation Thursday, and she hit 16 on Friday.

“I like winning,” Kerr said. “I like challenging myself. Definitely doesn't get any easier as you get older, with the travel and recovery time. I got up this morning and I'm like, `Man, why does my hamstring hurt?’ From working around this hilly golf course.”

Kerr acknowledged Friday that her body is more vulnerable to time’s realities, but her mind isn’t.

Full-field scores from the Kia Classic

“The golf ball doesn't know an age,” Kerr said. “I've always said that. As long as I stay hungry, going to just keep playing.”

Kerr won two weeks after her 40th birthday last fall, boosting her LPGA Hall of Fame point total to 22. She is five points short of eligibility for induction. A player earns one point for an LPGA victory and two points for a major championship title. So there’s a lot of Hall of Fame ground to gain this week and next.

It’s a long-term goal that motivates Kerr to take care of her body.

“I don't think the golf changes,” Kerr said. “I think, physically, it gets harder as you get older. Like I said, I've got tape on my hamstring. I strained it, just a little bit yesterday, walking around this golf course. It's tough as you get older, just being fresh and rested. I put more focus into that as I've gotten older. I still practice, but off the course I try to get more rest.”

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Big names chasing Kerr into the weekend at Kia Classic

By Associated PressMarch 24, 2018, 1:55 am

CARLSBAD, Calif. - Cristie Kerr shot an 8-under 64 on Friday in the Kia Classic to take a five-stroke lead into the weekend.

The 40-year-old Kerr had eight birdies in her second straight bogey-free round to reach 13-under 131 at rain-softened Aviara.

''I like winning. I like challenging myself,'' Kerr said. ''Definitely doesn't get any easier as you get older with the travel and recovery time. I got up this morning and I'm like, 'Man, why does my hamstring hurt?' From working around this hilly golf course. The golf ball doesn't know an age. I've always said that. As long as I stay hungry, going to just keep playing.''

She has 20 LPGA victories, winning at Aviara in 2015. She won twice last year and helped the U.S. beat Europe in her ninth Solheim Cup appearance.

''It's tough as you get older just being fresh and rested,'' Kerr said. ''I put more focus into that as I've gotten older. I still practice, but off the course I try to get more rest.''

Lizette Salas, In-Kyung Kim, Hee Young Park and Caroline Hedwall were tied for second. Salas shot 67, Kim 69, and Park and Hedwall 70.

''I really like this golf course. I really like the environment,'' said Salas, the former University of Southern California player from Azusa. ''My family gets to come out. So much confidence at the beginning of the week, and definitely showed the first two days.

Jeong Eun Lee was 7 under after a 69, and defending ANA champion So Yeon Ryu had a 70 to get to 6 under.

Full-field scores from the Kia Classic

Ariya Jutanugarn (72), Brooke Henderson (70) and 2016 winner Lydia Ko (71) were 5 under. Shanshan Feng (68) was another stroke back, and Singapore winner Michelle Wie (72) was 1 under.

Lexi Thompson was 2 over after a 74, making the cut on the number in the final event before the major ANA Inspiration next week at Mission Hills.

Kerr opened with birdies on the par-5 10th and par-3 11th, added birdies on the par-4 16th, 18th and second, and ran off three in a row on the par-3 sixth, par-4 seventh and par-5 eighth.

''I don't think you can fall asleep on one shot,'' Kerr said. ''It's a really good golf course. I think I play better on courses that demand the focus, so I think that's why I've played well here in the past. ... I'm trying not to put limits on myself right now. I've got some good things going on with my swing.''

She has long been one best putters and green-readers in the world.

''I can see the subtleties that a lot of people can't,'' Kerr said. ''It's a gift from God being able to do that. I've always had that, so I'm lucky.''

Laura Davies withdrew after an opening 82. The 54-year-old Davies tied for second last week in the Founders Cup in Phoenix, playing through painful left Achilles and calf problems.

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DJ hits 489-yard drive, but it doesn't count for history

By Rex HoggardMarch 24, 2018, 12:22 am

AUSTIN, Texas – Dustin Johnson is no stranger to big drives, but even for DJ this one was impressive.

Trailing in his Day 3 match at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, Johnson launched a drive at the par-5 12th hole that traveled 489 yards, but that number comes with an asterisk.

“He got lucky it hit the road,” smiled Kevin Kisner, who was leading the world No. 1, 3 up, at the time. “I thought he would make an eagle for sure, he only had 80 yards [to the hole]. He didn’t hit a very good putt.”

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Johnson’s drive, which was 139 yards past Kisner’s tee shot, is the longest recorded on the PGA Tour in the ShotLink era, surpassing Davis Love III’s drive of 476 yards in 2004 at the Tournament of Champions.

The drive will not go into the record books, however, because the Tour doesn’t count statistics from the Match Play.

It should also be noted, Kisner halved the 12th hole with a birdie and won the match, 4 and 3, to advance to the round of 16.

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Durant leads Champions event in Mississippi

By Associated PressMarch 24, 2018, 12:21 am

BILOXI, Miss. - Joe Durant had three straight birdies in a back-nine burst and a shot 6-under 66 on Friday to take the first-round lead in the PGA Tour Champions' Rapiscan Systems Classic.

Durant birdied the par-4 11th and 12th and par-5 13th in the bogey-free round at breezy and rain-softened Fallen Oak. Because of the wet conditions, players were allowed to lift, clean and place their golf balls in the fairway.

''It just sets up nice to my eye,'' Durant said. ''It's a beautiful golf course and it's very challenging. The tee shots seem to set up well for me, but the greens are maybe as quick as I've ever seen them here. You really have to put the ball in the right spots. I played very nice today. With the wind swirling like it was, I'm really happy.''

He won the Chubb Classic last month in Naples, Florida, for his third victory on the 50-and-over tour.

Full-field scores from the Rapiscan Systems Classic

''Done this long enough, Friday's just one day,'' Durant said. ''Especially in a three-day tournament, you've got to go out and shoot three good numbers. Fortunate to put one on the board, but I know I have to back it up with a couple of good days because you can get passed very quickly out here.''

Mark Calcavecchia was a stroke back. He won last month in Boca Raton, Florida

''It's probably my best round I've ever had here and it was a tough day to play,'' Calcavecchia said. ''The greens are just lightning fast. They're pretty slopey greens, so very difficult to putt.''

Steve Stricker was third at 68. He took the Tucson, Arizona, event three weeks ago for his first senior victory.

''Just getting it around and managing my game I think like I always do,'' Stricker said. ''You get in the wrong position here with the greens being so fast and you're going to be in trouble. I did that a couple times today.''

Billy Mayfair, Billy Andrade and David McKenzie shot 69. Jerry Kelly, the winner of the season-opening event in Hawaii, was at 70 with Wes Short Jr., Glen Day, Gene Sauers and Jesper Parnevik.

Bernhard Langer opened with a 71, and two-time defending champion Miguel Angel Jimenez had a 72.

Vijay Singh, coming off his first senior victory two weeks ago in Newport Beach, California, had a 73.