[ITALIC "If you want to ask Travelin' Joe a question, e-mail him at [MAILTO "firstname.lastname@example.org" "[BOLD "email@example.com"]"]."]Dear Joe,
My husband and I are looking for good New England fall golf and lodging within half a day's drive, but we'd like to find a place that's fun for our non-golfing teenagers, too. Any thoughts?
\nWith driving time about three and a half hours, The Equinox (802-362-4700, equinoxresort.com) in Manchester Village, Vermont is made-to-order for your crew. At 6,423 yards, its Walter Travis/Rees Jones-designed golf course is more pretty than pretty hard, but on vacation, it's all the golf you need. Strong bunkering, elevated greens and some birch and wetland infused holes make the back nine especially memorable. Don't let your kids miss the resort's British School of Falconry, where within 10 minutes, birds of prey are swooping down to your gloved forearm. Of course, if your teenagers are like the ones I know, they'll want to sleep and shop on vacation. Fortunately, the beds at the recently refurbished Equinox are divine and there's world-class outlet shopping five minutes down the road.
In a couple of weeks, I'll be visiting family in the Bethlehem, Pennsylvania area and I'd like to sneak away with my brother-in-law for one round of golf. Are there any must-plays in the area?
Shaker Heights, Ohio
\nAs long as you're "sneaking" around, sneak across the border into New Jersey and play the Architects Golf Club (908-213-3080, thearchitectsclub.com; $69-$119) in Phillipsburg. While the concept of designing holes that pay tribute to great designers might seem gimmicky, the 6,863-yard, par-71 layout is anything but. In fact, actual designer Stephen Kay and consultant Ron Whitten could have added more bells and whistles, but instead, holes flow seamlessly from one architect to the next, over handsome, gently rolling farmland spotted with pockets of trees. Since this is a homage, not replication, there's plenty of room for debate, but my favorites are the par-4 Tillinghast 7th hole, that swings across and up the slope to the right, the William Flynn par-5 11th, with its Shinnecock Hills overtones, and the muscular par-4 14th, with its wild Perry Maxwell green.
I'm getting together with some old college friends in Portland, Oregon over Labor Day weekend and we want to tee it up once or twice. Of course, we're still paying back student loans. What are your picks for the best Portland golf bargains?
Huntington Beach, Calif.
\nStart with Heron Lakes (503-289-1818, heronlakesgolf.com). It's close to downtown, it's home to two Robert Trent Jones Jr. designs and both can be walked anytime for under $50. At 6,615 yards, Greenback isn't quite the test that its 6,902-yard big brother the Great Blue is, but at $23-$35, it's six bucks cheaper. Carts on either course are $13 per rider. Historic Eastmoreland (503-775-2900, eastmorelandgolfcourse.com; $18-$49), a 90-year-old, city-owned, parkland dandy, is another stellar option.