TheSandTrap.com Top Picks
I've played a majority of courses on this list, and I'll say that the user ratings are similar to what I would give (except for Pecan Valley in FW--the River course is much better than the Hills).
What are you interested in? Resort Golf? Semi-private? Historic? Also, how far do you want to travel? The DFW metroplex is huge, and these courses are spread out.
Some of my favorites:
Cedar Crest/Tennison: two historic muni courses. Cedar Crest is a Tillinghast course that hosted a PGA Championship in the 20s, and is still very popular, a great layout, and in good shape for a muni. Tennison (Highlands) is another old-style course that's been around for 80 years or so; Lee Trevino learned to play golf here. Both are pretty tough to get a tee time, but a weekday should be easy enough. As muni courses, they're excellent value, but also great golf courses.
Pecan Valley (River): another great muni course, this one on the extreme southwest side of Fort Worth. It's a great, challenging golf course, but likely a long drive if you're staying near downtown Dallas (or longer if you're staying in the Burbs north of Dallas).
Hawks Creek is a secret to non-metroplex folks. It's short, but has a ton of really fun shots. It's tight with hills and trees, so you have to shape and place the ball, and it has the best greens of any course under $100. I've seen a lot of aspiring pros practicing here, because of the good, tight fairway lies; perfect greens; and requirement to hit precise, shaped shots.
Of the rest on the list (I won't expound on these because there is a ton of info online about them), I absolutely love Fossil Creek, Ironhorse, Tierra Verde, Castle Hills, Tribute, Mansfield National. I think Tour-18 is total crap, but others love it. My favorites of those I listed are probably Ironhorse on the FW side, and Castle Hills on the Dallas side.
Being in Denton and having played a ton of courses locally I'll add some courses to this list.
Los Rios in Plano is a great course, just avoid if it has rained heavily in the previous 3-5 days. It just doesn't drain well.
White Stone in Benbrook is a fantastic course, there are some truly awesome holes here.
Plantation in Frisco is a very well taken care of course.
Pecan Valley in FTW is pretty nice, both courses.
Pecan Trails in Cedar Hill... family owned 21 holes par 80. For $25 you can't beat it. Small greens but well maintained and pretty close to my next course.
Tangleridge, just freekin great place to play, hit up golfq.com for their coupons.
Lakes at Grand Prarie, 27 holes, play them all.
West Ridge in Plano, nice place, top of your budget though.
Stewart Pennisula in The Colony, nice little 9 hole butted up against Lake Lewisville.
Lake Park in Lewisville, wide open place with 1 bunker (barely in play), great place to work on your game.
Hank Haney, Lewisville, 9 holes of tight hell, well taken care of and great staff
Timber Links, Denton, another 9 holes of precision golf. Great greens and Bill is an awesome guy in the shop, retired cop who's got stories to keep you around for hours after your round
TWU, Denton, not the greatest place but under $30
Chester Ditto, Arlington, nice place and well taken care of.
Hope this list gets you going on some nice rounds at fair rates! I've played all of these courses at least once since Late Feb this year. Not getting old info from a round I had 2 years ago.
Based on your budget I'd recommend these, which I've played many times;
Tennison (central dallas)
Firewheel (N/E end of Dallas Co in Garland)
Keaton park (Central Dallas)
Stevens park (central Dallas)
Bear Creek (at DFW airport, in case you're flying in)
Mesquite Golf Course (on the east end of Dallas Co.)
all are munies and nice courses.
Tennison Highlands is a great course. Every hole is different.
Tour 18 Dallas is wonderful and a tribute to the best golf holes in golf.
Cedar Crest is historic and a great course to walk.