“There’s nothing ‘Hill Country’ about the Dallas Cowboys,” Beth Thiel, principal of awardwinning Thiel & Thiel Inc., says, laughing. She was called upon to remodel and expand Cowboys Golf Club, the first and only National Football Leaguethemed golf club in the world. “Introducing the sleek and modern brand identity of the club’s namesake into Texas Hill Country architecture required a careful and intentional balance between both,” she says.
Owner Arcis Golf specializes in tailoring each golf and country club element to deliver the ultimate experience for guests. This one, in the Grapevine resort neighborhood, was to be a flagship. “They wanted to expand options by developing a three-phase restaurant, patio, entertainment concept that would not only serve the neighboring community and resorts but be a destination for all to come experience and enjoy,” says Thiel, who, as design partner with Arcis on all of its national projects, has singular insight. “It was a fresh vision.”
The focus of the first two phases was to add a new centerpiece dining and sports bar-style patio to the building and then upgrade the indoor restaurant and bar to a branded public restaurant destination, called Ring of Honor Kitchen and Bar (the name pays homage to the beloved Cowboys legends, who are members of the team’s official Ring of Honor at AT&T Stadium). “The intention was to create an ‘upscale casual’ restaurant that was a more modern interpretation of its namesake brand,” notes Thiel. Artistically rendered and thoughtfully placed Cowboys memorabilia was to be an integral part of the overall design concept.
Tackling the new 2,100- square-foot covered patio area, dubbed Five Points Patio in honor of the iconic star on the Cowboys’ helmets, necessitated repurposing an existing boardroom and its circulation space, and taking over a third of the club’s Pro Shop. Borrowing from common architectural details and materials, such as the stone columns and dark stained beams, ensured that the patio integrated seamlessly with the existing architecture. Custom furnishings added a touch of finesse to the space, which was filled with dining tables and chairs chosen specifically for a high-use hospitality environment. Guests on the patio have a view of a dramatic waterfall and a towering wood-burning stone fireplace.
Keeping architectural consistency was important for the interior spaces as well, since the design intent was to open up the sight lines inside the building to flood the club with natural light and connect the architectural “dots.” Encouraging flow between the two areas was critical as well. “We wanted there to be high energy moving back and forth, from inside to out,” says Thiel.
Landlocked in terms of the footprint of the building, a priority was to relocate the bar to an area that was instantly visible from the door. “We were working within a long, rectangular space and wanted to accentuate but also soften it,” explains Thiel.
Lit to look as though it’s floating off the ceiling and with a trio of televisions set in, the back bar features a sweeping, curved canopy finished with a wall covering that convincingly reads as wood. The bar top is finished with custom mosaic tile in official Dallas Cowboys team colors—silver, white and navy blue. Washed in light, the mosaic highlights the bar elements by day and adds a dramatic glow to the space by night.
Opposite the bar, and equally eye-catching, a series of wood-top tables and metallic upholstered chairs are set against tufted light gray faux leather banquette seating that spans the entire length of the room. Above the banquettes, a custom wall covering features closeup, sepia-tone images depicting Dallas Cowboys players, coaches, cheerleaders and iconic moments in team history, all acquired with the assistance of the Cowboys’ marketing department. Throughout the space, navy and silver-toned carpeting pulls the room together and softens the overall effect.
A trophy case honoring Hall of Fame Coach Tom Landry features a trademark fedora, and topping off the room, a transparent glass trophy case containing reproduction Super Bowl trophies and rings marks the entry, while a custom Ring of Honor display honors each of the inductees.
Already a proven success (just try to get a seat at the bar on a Friday night), phase three of the renovation project is expected to change the game again, setting this one-of-a-kind NFL golf club apart with a new state-of-the-art outdoor entertainment concept currently in the final stages of development. “It’ll bring a whole new presence and prestige to the club,” says Thiel. “And there’ll be absolutely no question about the affiliation with the Cowboys.”
Linda Hayes, a freelance writer from Aspen, Colorado, specializes in architecture, design and the luxury lifestyle. Her articles have appeared in publications including Luxe, Hemispheres, Hawaiian Style and Elle Decor.