I like when I can read about something and also experience it too.
I got my start after playing Old Mac when I was newly back into golf and then reading Dream Golf right after. Once you get past the fellating of Mike Kaiser’s business acumen, it has digestible summaries of golf history, sort of cliffs’ notes on links golf and how golf came to the US from CBM. Especially the finishing chapter on the history behind template holes (and the courses they came from) that went into Old Mac’s design helped put into context for me why some of the holes were so memorable and why they were interesting to me.
Since you’re in Dallas …
You could go play The Tribute. It’s pricey but kept in good shape. Read about the Open rota courses/holes it uses before you go out there, so while you’re playing, you’ll know where some of the historical design philosophies come from.
You can also read TFE’s brief summary on Stevens Park before you go play it again. Hole 14 is more or less a redan, and Hole 16 is from Tillinghast’s Great Hazard template first used at Pine Valley.
If you make it down to Pine Dunes, it also has a ridiculous redan hole and an absolutely stunning Great Hazard hole, also a pretty cool volcano green par 3, and a couple drivable par 4s - all which have both classic design principle nods but also unique strategic considerations. It’s just generally is like a redneck version of Pinehurst or Pine Valley. There are also some good news articles on the development of the course and importance of sandy soil that will resonate with older writings about links golf. Near the time of playing it, read about and learn about and look at pictures of the courses in the Pinehurst area and Pine Valley.
Before you go out to Cedar Crest again, read about Tillinghast, and while the course has changed a lot, think about what you see out there that is similar to his more famous courses. Also generally read about the history of the course itself.
Before you play Golf Club of Dallas again, read TFE’s review of Southern Hills and Hanse’s restoration, that talks about Maxwell’s routing using the spines and valleys of the land, and ask @mctrees02 for a similar summary of how he used the land at GCD to creatively use the land movement. Then go play it and see it for yourself.
If you ever get an opportunity to play Trinity Forest, read TFE’s articles on that course before you go, including C&C’s own signature template of the wide par 5 with OB all down one side - then when you do get chance to travel to other places and play their other courses, you’ll see the use of that design elsewhere.
You may not be able to play many classics living here, but can still start drawing connections to course design principles and major U.S. GCA history as well by playing some courses in this area.
Also, if you want to borrow some books, hit me up.