One of only a small number of public golf courses designed by Tom Fazio, the 18-hole layout at Butterfield Trail cost a reputed $23 million to construct on land adjacent to El Paso International airport.
Sadly in April 2020 it was announced that El Paso International Airport (EPIA) will close Butterfield Trail Golf Club by June 15, 2020 in order to reduce expenses and focus on essential airport operations. The Airport has subsidized the course since 2008 through revenues generated through non-aviation development; closing BTGC will save the airport about $1 million per year.
Tom Fazio generally prefers to design courses in the private and resort category but his effort on the taxpayer-owned side turned out especially well here in El Paso.
What many people need to keep in mind is that 3-4 club wind is a daily occurrence in west Texas. Want to know why local hero Lee Trevino did so well in his career -- it came about in being able to play at the highest of levels in hitting the fullest range of golf shots with such wind patterns.
Butterfield Trail is routed especially well. Given the wind's influence -- Fazio keeps the holes going in different directions. You also have fairways that bottleneck at key places so tee shot decision must be gauged with the utmost care.
The only disappointing part of the course is the lack of a meaningful ground game. There's some roll but a bit more would only add to the qualities the course provides. What you also find at Butterfield is slight turning points on many of the holes – this mandates precision and shaping of the shots from the tee.
Butterfield is a solid layout that entices players at times to take the bold shot. Fazio has built in plenty of risk / reward opportunities and the round is capped with a closing par-5 that tempts the adventurous play as water fiercely protects the green at the par-5 18th.
For those venturing in the West Texas area -- be sure to schedule a tee time there.
M. James Ward