Here's a question one reader asked me recently: "I live in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Do you have any good suggestions for a weekend golf getaway where I don't have to get on a plane?"
That's easy. You could stay at a resort nearby such as the Four Seasons or Westin Stonebriar, or you could get away from it all by taking a two- or three-hour drive.
The great thing about being in the Metroplex is that it's not far from the Oklahoma, Louisiana or Arkansas borders, so it doesn't take much to get out of the state. So grab a friend or two or three, and get out of town. Here are three weekend suggestions:
WinStar Casino in Oklahoma
Only an hour and half north of Dallas, WinStar Casino, like many Indiana casino resorts, offers plenty of fun for a reasonable price if you can keep your gambling losses in check.
WinStar is Oklahoma's largest casino resort, offering superb accommodations, entertainment, a spa, shopping and of course, plenty of gaming. That gaming, quite naturally, helps support a really nice 27-hole golf course, designed by Dallas' own D.A. Weibring and Steve Wolfard. Always in good shape, with terrific Mini-Verde greens, WinStar G.C. really is a good resort course for all players, offering tees that range from 4,900 yards to more than 7,200 yards.
Golfers also get GPS, a great practice facility, golf academy (if you need some help with your game) and the Legends Bar & Grille, perfect for after-golf dinner and drinks on the patio overlooking the course.
If you're looking for a real change of scenery, just head a little more than two hours east to Shreveport-Bossier, La., area. Located right on the Mississippi River, this medium-size city has lots to offer, including riverboat casinos, horse racing, great Cajun food, superb sport fishing at nearby lakes, rivers and bayous, shopping and even something called the Shreveport-Bossier Film Trail because of its recent history of movie production.
Ideally, a weekend golf trip could include a stay at one of the casino resort hotels and play at two or three of the area's good daily-fee courses. Hal Sutton's signature course, Olde Oaks Golf Club, or the Gene Bates/Fred Couples collaboration, the Golf Club at StoneBridge, top the list.
Pine Dunes Resort in Frankston
Located in the pine forest of East Texas, Pine Dunes is a true escape -- just less than two hours from Dallas in the town of Frankston, which is about 30 minutes from Tyler and pretty much in the middle of nowhere.
Originally nine holes, architect Jay Morrish did a redesign that included nine more holes, turning the Pine Dunes golf course into one of the state's true hidden gems in 2001. With no homes and no distractions and always in good shape, the nearly 7,200-yard course really is somewhat reminiscent of Pinehurst, Augusta and maybe even Pine Valley with its pines, pine needles and more than 75 conventional and waste bunkers.
While there's no hotel per se, the resort offers stay-and-play packages at fully equipped condominiums near the 18th hole for couples or small groups.