Starr Hollow is a special place, and Scott Dally was a special guy

Posted Saturday, Aug. 24, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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I can’t really remember the first time I met Scott Dally.

He was good friends with former Star-Telegram Publisher Wes Turner, so I expect that’s how we were introduced.

Scott died at 63 last year, after a 17-year battle with prostate cancer, although it was respiratory failure that finally got him.

To the end, he was a smoker. I remember seeing him at the Fort Worth Club, determined to work out even though he had to drag an oxygen bottle behind him so he could breathe.

Scott was one of the greatest, if not the greatest, advertising geniuses in the Dallas-Fort Worth market. At one point, Dally Advertising had more than 50 employees at its Dallas office and billed more than $40 million annually. One of the accounts his agency won was for Justin Boots.

He designed the box the boots still come in, and he persuaded some stars of the TV show Dallas to wear the boots on the set.

But after he was diagnosed with cancer, he liquidated the agency because he felt he couldn’t really manage such a big business and he moved back to Fort Worth with just a couple of employees.

He specialized in tourism, but after the Sept. 11, 2001, attack the business fell off and he retreated to his Aledo home to work solo. That’s when we met.

Not too long after he found out I was a golfer, he told me he was going to give me the greatest golf experience of my life.

I was pretty skeptical. I’ve had the good fortune to play several times at Pebble Beach and one memorable round at Cypress Point, which has the greatest par-3 in the world, a 230-yard carry over the Pacific. My ambition is to play some day at Augusta, home of the Masters, but I fear that is never going to happen because the only way you ever get there is if one of the club’s members invites you. And I unfortunately don’t hang with the likes of Warren Buffett or Bill Gates.

So Scott was never able to satisfy that boast — but he did provide a pretty close second.

There’s another golf club that, like Augusta, has a pretty strict membership. You don’t apply; someone has to invite you. It’s even known as “Little Augusta.’’

It’s a lot closer than Georgia, too. It’s about 60 miles southwest of Fort Worth, near Tolar.

Starr Hollow Golf Club is recognized as the best nine-hole course in Texas and one of the top 10 in the country. Scott was a member, and even wrote a book about the club, Starr Hollow and Star Hollow, My Memories of a Golf Course and a Ranch.

The course was built by Marvin Leonard of Leonards Department Store fame, who also built Colonial Country Club and Shady Oaks. He bought the ranch in the mid-’60s and renamed it Starr Hollow, after the legendary female outlaw Belle Starr, who reputedly roamed the area.

Scott took me out to the course about 10 years ago. We were the only ones there, which is not an uncommon occurrence. When we finished, we stopped at the clubhouse to eat.

Because it’s a working ranch, the Angus cattle that roam the place eventually wind up as what pro golfer Ben Crenshaw says is the best hamburger you’ll ever eat. He’s right.

And if you want to fish, the 90-acre lake is the best around. Pro golfer David Duval once helicoptered over during the Colonial. Not to golf, but to drop a line in the water.

I got the chance to revisit Starr Hollow recently when I tagged along with one of our reporters who’s doing a piece on Starr Hollow for DFW OT, our monthly iPad sports magazine.

It’s still a special place. And Scott was a special guy.

Jim Witt is executive editor of the Star-Telegram. 817-390-7704

Twitter: @jimelvis

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