Ask Travelin' Joe: Where to avoid the heat in Arizona, and how to fill a hole in Ireland

Wednesday June 25th, 2008

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

Dear Joe,
Four of us are set for a dream drip to Southwest Ireland in August. We've got the big boys nailed down — Ballybunion, Lahinch, Waterville, etc., but we're looking to fill a hole at the end of the trip. Any thoughts?
Pete Ryan, Superior, Ariz.

It's almost heresy to suggest a parkland layout be added to the star-studded links roster you've assembled, but you might try Adare Manor Hotel & Golf Resort (Greens fees: $215-$230, May-October; adaremanor.com). Adare has held the past two Irish Opens. This year's winner, Richard Finch, made a splash on YouTube by falling into the river on his final hole.

Adare is only 45 minutes from Shannon Airport and so is perfectly placed for one last round before your ride home. It is a superb shotmaking test, but don't expect much relief on the scorecard. This 1995 Robert Trent Jones Sr. design is a brute from the tips at 7,400 yards-plus. You can play it as an outsider, but maybe splurge for one night at the great-looking Adare Manor. You can't end an Ireland trip in much better fashion.

Hi Joe,
I'm stuck heading to Phoenix in July for a family outing. I'd like to play golf a couple of times, but I know it's hotter than Hades there in mid-summer. Do you have any recommendations on how to beat the heat?
Molly Bauer, Shaker Heights, Ohio

Sure, you'll need oven mitts instead of golf gloves, but look on the bright side: as high as the heat index goes, the prices drop accordingly. Joe offers three pieces of advice here: drink as much water as you can stand, play as early in the morning as you can stand, and if you're not in the market for trophy courses, pick one or two of the older layouts, where shade trees frame the fairways.

Orange Tree ($45; shellhospitality.com) and the Arizona Biltmore's 80-year-old Adobe course that was recently restored by Forrest Richardson ($49; arizonabiltmore.com) are solid options, as are the Camelback Inn's Padre course ($70; camelbackinn.com) and the Wigwam Resort's Gold ($67; wigwamresort.com.)

If you must flee the heat, Prescott (a 1.5-hour drive) is the closest worthwhile destination with a noticeable temperature drop. StoneRidge ($39-$69, stoneridgegolf.com) is your best value there.

Dear Joe,
My brother and I are headed to Minneapolis at the end of June to watch our Tigers play the Twins. Have you got any golf bargains for us?
Tim Saperstein, Ypsilanti, Mich.

Hopefully I can steer you to a better start than the Tigers got off to this year. The Twin Cities has a lineup of quality, affordable courses. Practically right next door to the Metrodome is 92-year-old Theodore Wirth muni a sturdy test that stretches nearly 6,600 yards and within a couple of miles is Gross National (minneapolisparks.org), an 83-year-old youngster that played host to the 1964 U.S. Public Links Championship. Both can be walked for less than $30 during the week or for $32 or less on the weekend.

If you're willing to drive 20 miles west of town, rural ambiance and a $36 green fee await at Baker National (bakernational.com). The excellent Michael Hurdzan design would command double the price elsewhere.

Treat yourself to one "big ticket" round — $50 for non-residents — at Edinburgh USA (edinburghusa.org) in Brooklyn Park, a boldly bunkered 1987 Robert Trent Jones Jr. design that's sloped 149 from the tips. With all the green fee money you've saved, you now might be able to afford the gas for your trip home.

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