Todd Hamilton on Dallas, Texas
The Tribute is 30 minutes from downtown, but in the middle of nowhere, so get good directions. It's a tribute to courses in Scotland and England. The first, 17th and 18th are copies of the same holes at St. Andrews. There's even a hotel off the tee on No. 17, only anyone can get over this one, even if you skull it. I played at Oklahoma with the guy who designed the course, Tripp Davis. It's neat in the spring. When you get a wind and some chilly rain, it feels like you're in Scotland. The TPC at Las Colinas, where the Byron Nelson Classic is held, isn't a bad place to play either since the wife can do the spa thing.
The fifth hole at the Tribute is a copy of Royal Troon's Postage Stamp. I played it about three weeks before I went over to Troon for the [2004 British] Open and joked with the guys I was playing with that it was a practice round. I think I birdied it then. Maybe it was an omen.
Take the family to...
From downtown it's probably 30 or 40 minutes to Six Flags in Arlington. There's a water park near it with the big slides, and the baseball park is there, too, so you can catch a Rangers game at night. The Fort Worth Zoo is one of the better ones in the country.
If you've got the kids along, like we always do, there are three Dave & Buster's locations in Dallas. The food is decent and you can play games like pool and basketball. One of them has a real, 10-foot basket so you can shoot free throws and they keep your score. Another good place is JC's Burger House, which is run by my golf buddy Jay Cockerell. There are two of them, one in Plano, one in Allen, and they serve the best hamburger you'll ever eat. The meat is not frozen--it's ground fresh every day. Order the Claret Burger or the Toddzilla, both named after me. If you want some really good Tex-Mex and great people-watching, try Primo's downtown.
The Crescent Court is a pretty high-tone place right downtown so you can walk all over. The Las Colinas Four Seasons Hotel is a nice spot with plenty of things to do.
Make sure you pack...
A wind jacket and a rain suit. February through April you get a little rain here in Dallas. But it's going to be about 60 degrees.
Best rental car
A nice SUV--everyone else down here drives one so you might as well join the club. Suburbans are known as the Texas Cadillac. Plus there are some nice shopping malls and you might want to fill up your car.
Dallas is an American Airlines hub, so that gives you the best chance to fly direct. But if you're coming from out west, go with Southwest. They don't fly into Dallas-Fort Worth, but they fly into Love Field, which is closer to downtown.