Dallas hosts the Final Four in April. If you've scored tickets -- or need a great new golf destination -- here's what's next on tee in the Big D.
COWBOYS GOLF CLUB
The only NFL-themed golf complex in the world, Cowboys scores a touchdown with its presentation and design. Architect Jeff Brauer built a strong test amid Hill Country -- type elevation changes, with just enough ravines, lakes, Texas-size bunkers and contoured greens to hold your attention at every hole. The par-4 fourth features a blue Dallas Cowboys star in the middle of the landing area. The all-inclusive food and soft-drink purchase option is a must, if only so you can sample the jalapeño sausages at the halfway house. (You'll come back for seconds.) Football fans will surely embrace the memorabilia-filled clubhouse.
THE TRIBUTE AT THE COLONY
THE COLONY, TEX.
Situated in the northern 'burbs, this Tripp Davis creation pays homage to links holes across the Atlantic. The opening nod to the first hole at St. Andrews is brilliant, and it's fun to see lesser-known gems from Nairn, Moray and Western Gailes skillfully integrated into the round. The turf isn't always firm enough to simulate golf in the British Isles, but if you crave wind as a part of a great links experience, there's no shortage of gusts here.
TPC FOUR SEASONS LAS COLINAS
You have to stay here to play here, which is no burden at all if you like following in famous footsteps. Home to the HP Byron Nelson Championship since the 1980s, winners have included Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els and Vijay Singh. A stellar closing stretch includes the thinking-man's, water-guarded par-4 14th and the dramatic gallery favorite par-3 17th, redesigned by D.A. Weibring to bring the lake further into play.
This 1997 Keith Foster design is too often overlooked amid the tony private and pricey public trophy courses in the Dallas area. That's unfortunate, because from a design standpoint, it holds its own. Rolling terrain and strategic options make it compelling for good players, and a central location -- 15 minutes south of DFW Airport -- makes it convenient for locals and tourists alike. The green fee range of $57 to $77, with twilight rates starting at $37, also makes it affordable for all.
THE OLD AMERICAN CLUB
THE COLONY, TEX.
Architect Tripp Davis enlisted Justin Leonard's help to carve out a retro layout laced with wispy fescues and views of Lewisville Lake. There's an emphasis on width and angles, along with thoughtful contouring and imaginative bunkering. It all brings to mind American classics from the Golden Age such as Shinnecock Hills and Prairie Dunes, making the course's name a fitting choice.
The pip-squeak price tag ($35–$50) makes it catnip for wallet watchers, but this ancient muni looks and plays like a five-star resort course. Situated minutes from downtown, the 90-year-old spread is practically engulfed by a neighborhood. But thanks to an inspired redesign by John Colligan and Trey Kemp, the tight, hilly layout retains its classic traits and skyline views of downtown Dallas. A creek is in play on six holes, and the course is a veritable arboretum of new shrubs and flowers -- it's nicknamed "Little Augusta" for a reason.