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Dallas: 72 holes in 72 hours

By Mike McAllister
SI.com

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The Dallas Four Seasons Resort and Club offers great golfing for guests.

DALLAS COURSES

The Tribute: Yardage/par: 7,002/72. Greens fees: $50-$105 (cart included). 972-370-5465. http://www.thetributegolflinks.com

TPC Four Seasons: Yardage/par: 7,009/70. Greens fees: $165-$185 (cart included). 972-717-0700. http://www.fourseasons.com/dallas

Texas Star: Yardage/par: 6,936/71. Greens fees: $55-$75 (cart included). 817-685-7888. http://www.texasstargolf.com

Cowboys: Yardage/par: 7,017/72. Greens fees: $150 (cart included). 817-481-7277. http://www.cowboysgolfclub.com

Alternative courses: Westin Stonebriar, Bridlewood, Tour 18, Woodbridge.

NEXT WEEK

Next week we'll travel to San Francisco, California.

YOUR E-MAIL ALERTS

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Golf

(CNN) -- Football is king in Texas. Anybody who has experienced a fall weekend in the Lone Star State -- from Friday night lights to America's Team on Sunday -- can testify to the allure of the pigskin.

But golf has carved out its own impressive legacy, especially in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. Consider these names: Hogan. Nelson. Trevino. Each grew up in North Texas, learning to play the game in the heat and wind that remain constant companions with current-day golfers.

Thanks to the wide expanse of land in the second biggest state in the United States, golf course developers have plenty of room to carve out their tracks. Of course, that wide expanse can also mean logging plenty of hours behind the steering wheel if you're trying to cram in four rounds in a long weekend.

Fortunately, some of the area's best courses are situated within a long par-5 (give or take a few yards) of DFW International Airport. That means you can stay close to the airport both nights and not feel like you're wasting precious time stuck in traffic. Three of our four choices, in fact, define the phrase "centrally located."

After flying into DFW on Friday, here's how we'd play it the rest of the weekend.

Friday afternoon

The Tribute: OK, here's our one lengthy drive -- 27 miles from the airport. But this course, located in The Colony near Lake Lewisville, is worth the trip. Golf Digest ranks it as the best public-access course in the area. The layout is designed with the British Open in mind, with holes from some of the great courses in Scotland (think St. Andrews, Muirfield, Carnoustie, etc.) re-created here. Even the 33,000-foot clubhouse has a Scottish feel to it. Don't blame us if you order haggis after your round.

Saturday morning

TPC Four Seasons: You can never go wrong playing where the pros do. This course, along with its sister track, Cottonwood Valley, hosts the PGA Tour's annual EDS Byron Nelson Championship. That means you can expect the course -- which is adding a lake to the left of the 18th fairway -- to be in immaculate condition. Since it's a resort course, though, that also means the only way to get on is to either stay at the Four Seasons resort or be the guest of someone staying there. Hey, since you need a place to sleep, might as well bed down here for a couple of nights.

Saturday afternoon

Texas Star: This gem in Euless, just south of the airport, received 4 1/2 stars from Golf Digest and rave reviews from everyone else. Architect Keith Foster said he wanted to "more or less create a nature walk," so he designed the 18 holes around a creek and lush natural woodlands. Even the cart paths are hidden from most vantage points. The course will challenge your versatility -- you might use every club in your bag during the round -- but won't overpower you.

Sunday morning

Cowboys: A marriage of golf and football -- now that's typical Texas. The Dallas Cowboys and owner Jerry Jones spearheaded this NFL-theme course that opened in 2001 in Grapevine, and it has zoomed to the top of many locals' must-play lists. Avid Golfer magazine annually ranks this as the top daily-fee course in the area. You probably won't see Roger Staubach or Emmitt Smith during your round, but the clubhouse does feature lots of Cowboys-related material. If you're a fan of another team, that might put you off. But remember, golf is a gentleman's sport, so don't be inclined to boo. At least not too loud.

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