The Old Course in St. Andrews and Pebble Beach are two of the most sought-after tee times in the world. Toss in top public tracks like Bethpage Black and Torrey Pines, and you have golf's real impregnable quadrilateral. Obtaining an ideal tee time at these courses is about as easy as sneaking onto Augusta National. Unless you're armed with the intelligence [below] you need to work the system.
Ask Travelin' Joe
We drive from Aspen to La Quinta, Calif., for the winter and we'd like to stop along the way this time. We've heard there's a course worth playing in Mesquite, Nev. And how about St. George, Utah?
-Patty and Robert Mack, Aspen, Colo.
The Mesquite course you've heard of is Wolf Creek ($165), one of the wildest and most scenic tracks in the Southwest. Less expensive alternatives are the Palmer course at the Oasis ($120), the Palms ($95) and Casablanca ($95). In St. George you could do worse than stopping at Coral Canyon ($98) or the Ledges ($110).
My buddy and I (and our nongolfing wives) are going to Hilton Head in January. Can you give us the "gmust-play" courses and maybe some alternatives? Also, are any of the courses ones where our wives would enjoy the cart ride?
-Dave Ross, via e-mail
The two must-plays are Harbour Town and the Arthur Hills course at Palmetto Dunes, though for pristine Low-country scenery it's worth splurging to play Jack Nicklaus' superb new May River at Palmetto Bluff, which is exclusive for its resort guests. Hilton Head National and Old South rate best for value. For a Sunday drive with the missus, ferry over to Daufuskie Island and play Melrose.
Joe Passov has played more than 1,100 courses in 21 countries. If you need travel directions, zip him an e-mail at email@example.com