The stars of Dallas, Texas: Five must-play golf courses in the DFW area

DALLAS -- There are about 200 golf courses in the Dallas-Fort Worth area with more than half of them open to the public. So if you're planning a trip to the Metroplex, there are no shortage of choices. If you've never been there before, trying to narrow down your selections can be tough, but there are a few that you might want to put on your "A" list.

Here are five recommendations:

Cowboys Golf Club in Grapevine

Even if you're not a Dallas Cowboys fan (impossible since they are America's team, right?), you'll love the Cowboys Golf Club experience. The club, which used to be owned by Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, is a tribute to the history of the five-time Super Bowl champs. And no matter what you think of the team, it does have a storied history.

Inside the clubhouse, there are all sorts of artifacts, such as replica Lombardi Trophies, signed jerseys and more. The golf carts have the numbers of former Cowboy greats on them, and in the fairway of the fourth hole is a giant blue star. Best of all, though, Cowboys Golf Club has a fantastic Jeffrey Brauer-designed golf course, which is both challenging and fun to play.

At more than more than 7,000 yards, it will challenge the better players, but four sets of tees, wide fairways, big greens and great course conditions are a treat for everyone. The green fee reflects the premium experience, but it does include food and non-alcoholic beverages.

The Tribute Golf Club in The Colony

As far as replica-type courses go, this one is as good as it gets. Designed by Oklahoma's Tripp Davis, The Tribute Golf Club pays homage to the great courses of Scotland such as Muirfield, Royal Troon, Prestwick and the Old Course at St. Andrews. In fact, the first and the 18th replicate the first and 18th at St. Andrews quite well, which means you have a fairway a mile wide on the first tee shot, provided you don't go right.

It's always in terrific shape, and you'll love the Scottish castle-style clubhouse and pub. You can even book an overnight stay in the clubhouse.

As a side note, if you get a chance to play Old American Golf Club next door, grab it. Another Davis design, this one pays tribute to great early American architects with fantastic bunkering and interesting greens complexes. Both course are set around Lake Lewisville.

Tenison Highlands Golf Course in Dallas

One thing the DFW area isn't short on is a good to great municipals, and Tenison Highlands Golf Course probably represents the cream of the crop. Just 10 minutes from downtown Dallas, the Highlands Course opened in 1924 and was renovated to near perfection in 2001 by D. A. Weibring and architect Steve Wolfard.

The result is a well conditioned layout that traverses up and down hills, around five lakes, and over and around White Rock Creek. Mature trees line the fairways as golfers negotiate 32 bunkers on their way to the Highlands' well maintained TifEagle greens.

The golf course can play as long as 7,078 yards, but with four sets of tees, it suits almost anybody's game. The clubhouse has a well stocked golf shop, offers rental clubs, and food and beverage. Tenison Park also has excellent practice facilities and offers lessons from its staff of golf professionals.

TPC Four Seasons at Las Colinas in Irving

TPC Four Seasons Las Colinas is the home of the PGA Tour's HP Byron Nelson. The Jay Morrish-designed course has been tweaked over the years, but a dramatic redesign by D.A. Weibring and Steve Wolford in 2009 improved several holes, including the 18th.

As a PGA Tour course, you can expect excellent conditioning, including large, undulating bentgrass greens, big bunkers, and a variety of creeks and ponds. It's worth noting that for the past couple of decades, one of golf's all-time great players and gentlemen, Byron Nelson, called the club home. A statue honoring Nelson is near the first tee.

Texas Star Golf Course in Euless

Another really good muni is Texas Star Golf Course near Fort Worth. Only 10 minutes from DFW International Airport, this par-71, Keith Foster-designed gem can be stretched to near 7,000 yards. Better yet, it offers topography unique to the area, with elevation change and holes fashioned around Hurricane Creek. Many of the holes, which feature bentgrass greens, also have a Scottish links-type feel. The course also has bentgrass greens.

The facility also offers a large clubhouse with 7,000 square feet of conference space as well as Raven's Grille, where golfers and non-golfers alike can dine on breakfast, lunch, brunch and fine dining.

Mike Bailey is a former Golf Advisor senior staff writer based in Houston. Focusing primarily on golf in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean and Latin America with an occasional trip to Europe and beyond, he contributes course reviews, travel stories and features as well as the occasional equipment review. An award-winning writer and past president of Texas Golf Writers Association, he has more than 25 years in the golf industry. He has also been on staff at PGA Magazine, The Golfweek Group and AvidGolfer Magazine. Follow Mike on Twitter at @MikeBaileyGA and Instagram at @MikeStefanBailey.
Commented on

I agree. If I were doing this list today, I would put Stevens Park on the list. Stay tuned, I'll probably do another. I;; defend Tenison Highlands, though, because that's how much I liked the course despite the neighborhood... These are personal preferences and we, of course, appreciate and value your feedback. (Living in Texas, however, I have played a lot of golf in the DFW area.)  I picked Cowboys and The Tribute because I enjoy them, but I agree that they're not great values. As a pilot, the air traffic next to Cowboys has never bothered me. 

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the fact that Stevens Park is not on this list shows how little you know about Dallas area golf. Granted this was written 3 yrs ago, but Cowboys and The Tribute should not be on this list. Both are overhyped and too expensive and all together are not very good golf courses. Old American would be a nice replacement for the Tribute. I would also have a tough time including any course that sits right next to DFW (Cowboys) and the constant air traffic on any list.

to the comments below, Tennison Highlands is a dump

Commented on

have to agree with Robert, Tennison Highlands is a great course but the area it is in and lack of security is why i tend to stay away. if they would but some security in the parking lot it would be a different story.

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Tennison? Really? You're not from around here, are you. It's nice enough, but the all too near sound of gunfire coupled with the high likelihood of your car being stolen before you get back to the parking lot keep the locals away.

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The stars of Dallas, Texas: Five must-play golf courses in the DFW area