Daily Fantasy Golf Course Primer: AT&T Byron Nelson

A unique test awaits PGA Tour golfers this week, as the AT&T Byron Nelson returns to Trinity Forest Golf Club for the second year. The course is a different kind of layout, with essentially no rough, no trees, and no water hazards. The course is long, firm, and fast on the fairways with dozens of bunkers and some native areas receptive to the preposterously wayward tee shot. Golfers will approach enormous, undulating greens that are also guarded by bunkers.

Trinity Forest is a 7,380-yard par 71 just outside Dallas, Texas. Designed on a landfill by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw, Trinity is an American links-style course that is intended to favor maneuvering and strategy over brute strength. Even still, the par 3s and par 5s all play long, with the exception of the 140-yard 8th hole. The other three par 3s are each over 200 yards, and the three par 5s measure at least 550 yards. The par 4s are well distributed, with five under 430 yards and two over 500 yards.

The early forecast looks to be calm and on the cooler side, with just a few blips throughout the day topping 80 degrees. It is too early to put much stock in weather, but if it starts to get gusty out there or rain comes into play, stacking tee times is a very viable strategy this week for golfers on the right side of the draw.

Let's dig into the course and see what stats we can use to build our daily fantasy lineups this week.

Course and Tournament Info

Course: Trinity Forest Golf Club
Par: 71
Distance: 7,380 yards
Tees/Fairways/Rough: Trinity Zoysia tees and fairways, no rough but native areas are Texas prairie grass.
Greens: Champion Bermudagrass

Season Par Yardage Average Score Avg O/U Par Rank
2018 71 7380 69.415 -1.585 45

That's it! With just one year of data, our sample is extremely limited. Over time, it seems likely that the weather and wind will be a major factor in how the course plays year over year. Rain softened things up so much for the final round last year that the Sunday scoring average was 2.48 strokes lower than Saturday. Aaron Wise was the primary beneficiary, reaching 23-under to claim his first PGA Tour title. Four other golfers reached at least 19-under, and overall the course played as the seventh easiest on the schedule last year.

The fairway grass is a unique breed designed specifically for the Texas weather by Texas A&M (hence being named after this course). What was expected last year came to pass - these fairways are among the firmest on Tour, as everything rolls out. With no rough and enormous greens, the course naturally had one of the highest greens in regulation rates on Tour. Golfers have a lot of work left to do once they reach the green, and lag putters who can ease it up there and leave a manageable second putt will gain on the greens. Last year the course ranked as the sixth hardest on Tour in terms of three-putt avoidance.

Those greens played slow last year, but much of that could be attributed to the weather. A lot can change in a year, and if the greens speed up they could be treacherous given how long many first putts will be.

Key Stats

These stats will be key to success in the AT&T Byron Nelson at Trinity Forest Golf Club.

Key Stats for the AT&T Byron Nelson at Trinity Forest Golf Club
Strokes Gained: Approach (emphasis on performance in windy conditions)
Birdies or Better Gained
Strokes Gained: Par 4s (400-450)
Scrambling Gained
Proximity Gained (200+ yards)

With just four rounds of available data, much of this section comes down to feel and, to some extent, guesswork. Marc Leishman finished second here last year and led most of the way before the Sunday wash out, and he is historically a terrific wind player. He is second only to Henrik Stenson in this field in strokes gained: approach in their last 50 rounds rated by Fantasy National Golf Club as either "moderate" or "windy AF". Iron play is a safe starting point at any course, and giving a little extra credit to golfers who do well in the wind just makes sense.

Wise and Leishman each cracked 20-under par last year, so birdies are an absolute must. On these huge greens, reaching the putting surface is not enough - you'll need golfers who finish the job consistently.

Six of the par 4s fall between 400 and 450 yards, so strokes gained on holes of that length is a good base and a nice complement to another important range. Proximity gained from 200+ yards should cover almost every hole except the short par 4s. These greens are "easy to hit" by virtue of their size, but golfers who knock it closer than the competition will find far more birdie opportunities and fewer situations where they have to lag a putt from 50 feet away and save par.

Speaking of saving par, even without much rough the skills of good scramblers apply all over Trinity Forest - getting out of bunkers, sinking a few knee-shaking putts, and avoiding bogey (or worse) will be essential this week.

Course History Studs

Wise and Leishman are covered above as the two top guys last year, but the rest of the top six and ties from last year's edition are also returning for 2019: Branden Grace, J.J. Spaun, Keith Mitchell, Kevin Na, Jimmy Walker, and Ryan Blaum.

Jordan Spieth is a member at Trinity Forest and finished T21 here in 2018. He's had just three finishes better than that since then, but he should be familiar with this venue.

Brooks Koepka has never played here, but according to Future of Fantasy he has the best strokes gained performance on Texas courses since 2014.

Kevin Tway finished T9 in his first run at Trinity Forest and tops Future of Fantasy's rankings of best performance on Texas courses relative to overall performance. Three of the five best finishes of his career came in Texas, though notably not his breakthrough win earlier this year in California.

Mike Rodden is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Mike Rodden also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username mike_rodden. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.