Granted, the GTE Byron Nelson Classic (May 14-17) gives area golf fans a chance to help The Salesmanship Club of Dallas raise funds for its programs to aid troubled Dallas youth. But the real game-within-the-game won’t be found along the rolling fairways and greens of the subtly difficult par-70 Four Seasons golf course in Las Colinas. The real action occurs in the notorious Pavilion, where Bacchus rules.
"The Pavilion reminds me of a throwback to the 1970s and the days of clubs like elan [a chic meet market on Upper Greenville). Remember elan?" asks Nancy Jay, entertainment anchor for Channel 11 News. For four years, as a feature reporter and on-air anchor at KRLD, Jay provided coverage from the Nelson Pavilion. "The Nelson is about the only place on earth where you still see women wearing halter tops. I suppose we have Priscilla Davis to thank for that."
Jay observes that the crowd at the Nelson Pavilion is becoming younger and younger, to the point of suggesting a college mixer or a spring break beer bash. "It kind of reminds me of being in a rush party," she said. "You walk past the guys and you expect them to hold up a number or something."
Those Paviliongoers interested in the golf tournament can watch the action on closed-circuit TV monitors in the Pavilion tent, But people-watching, not golf-watching, is the order of the day. The whole point is to see and be seen.
"The people who frequent the Pavilion have three things in common, " says Jay. "They like the sun, they like beer and they like the opposite sex."
Are the PGA Tour players aware of the action in the Pavilion? Are you kidding? In a Dallas Times Herald survey a few years ago, players ranked the Nelson as having the "best women-watching on the tour, ’’ followed closely by the neighboring Southwestern Bell Colonial in Fort Worth. Maybe it’s something in the water.