Ask Travelin' Joe: Montreal, Providence and Houston

Thursday September 11th, 2008

[ITALIC "If you want to ask Travelin' Joe a question, e-mail him at [MAILTO "askjoe@golf.com" "[BOLD "askjoe@golf.com"]"]."]

Hey Joe,
I'm getting married next month, so me and some friends are heading to Montreal for the bachelor party. Any ideas for a course near Montreal? I'm hoping to find something nice that's not too expensive, and not too difficult to get to.

Kevin Merrick, New York, NY

You've got three solid choices — at least one of which will be close to where you're staying. Right across the street from strictly private Royal Montreal, site of the 2007 Presidents Cup, is the 36-hole St. Raphael Golf Club (514-620-4422, golfstraphael.ca; $45-$167.50), where the bargain is course No. 1, though many prefer to pay the extra freight for its much brawnier sibling, No. 2.

Across town is the Montreal Island Golf Club (514-448-6000, cgimgolf.com; $35-$82), which is home to a pair of designs by Irishman Pat Ruddy: the North, a 6,600-yard parkland track and the South, a wanna-be links that stretches 7,180 yards.

If you're finally getting used to conjugating French verbs, check out Le Versant Golf Center (450-964-2251, golfleversant.com/en/; $20-$63), which rolls out three courses of wildly differing difficulty levels. The 7,103-yard Des Seigneurs course will tax anybody's muscles.

Dear Joe,
I am flying into Boston on a Sunday and have two days to play before a business trip on Tuesday. I'd like to swing through Providence, Rhode Island and play Sunday afternoon and then head to eastern Connecticut and play on Monday morning. Any suggestions?

Michael Corson, Via email

When in Providence, check out Donald Ross' handiwork at Triggs Memorial (401-521-8460, triggs.us; $23-$58), a well-bunkered 75-year-old muni on the upper west side of town that will set you back $40 to walk on a September Sunday.

Once in the Nutmeg State, stick with what works — another Donald Ross public-access track, this one called Shennecossett (860-445-0262, shennygolf.com; $40-$62) in Groton, which dishes out handsome views of the Long Island Sound.

For a worthy splurge, tee it up at the Rees Jones-designed Lakes of Isles North (888-475-3746, lakeofisles.com; $155-$195), Connecticut's top public course. Steep bunkers, rock outcroppings and primo conditioning justifies the fare.

Dear Joe,
Four of us are headed to Houston, Texas, in early October and we would like to play some golf in the area. Help, please.

Pete Chavarria, Michigan

You won't need Texas Oil money to prosper in Houston. Memorial Park (713-862-4033, memorialparkgolf.com; $26-$48), where Arnold Palmer won a PGA Tour event in 1957, is a sturdy, tree-lined 7,300-yarder in the heart of town.

More modern — and more pricey — is the Redstone Tournament course (281-459-7800, redstonegolfclub.com; $135-$155), a watery, 7,422-yard Rees Jones design that has hosted the Tour since 2006. Adam Scott and Stuart Appleby have dominated here.

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