Thursday, September 25, 2008

If you want to ask Travelin' Joe a question, e-mail him at Joe,We will be heading to the Washington D.C. area for the end of September and will be staying near the Ronald Reagan Airport. Aside from Congressional (haha), can you suggest some good courses? Eddie FisherAlberta, Canada Your closest public-access golf experience is practically next to the runway, at East Potomac Park (202-554-7660, The 6,600-yard Blue course at this municipal facility will set you back $26-$30 to walk and another $13 to ride. If you’re pressed for time, they also offer an executive, par-34 nine and a par-3 nine, for $9-$15. For a taste of big-time, country-club-for-a-day stuff, check out the new Lake Presidential Golf Club (301-574-3330,; $80-$95) in Upper Marlboro, Maryland. It’s 20 miles southeast from the White House. The rolling, heavily wooded terrain is slashed with streams. In this close election year, where campaign promises can come up empty, Lake Presidential delivers. Hi Joe,I’m going to be in the L.A. area (actually, Anaheim) in late September. Can you suggest a couple of nice public courses I could check out? By the way, the last time I was in Anaheim -- about six years ago -- I played Coyote Hills and really liked it. Doug LaBuddeVia email Take the drive south on I-5 to Mission Viejo and tee it up at Arroyo Trabuco (949-305-5100,; $65-$94). Its Casey O’Callaghan/Tom Lehman design rolls through canyons and barrancas and boasts massive, undulating greens. Equally good -- maybe even better -- is the terrific barbecue they serve up at the on-site restaurant, O’Neill’s. Whether you opt for the tri-tip, brisket, pulled pork or the ribs -- it’ll ease the sting out of any double bogeys. Just to the east is Tijeras Creek (949-589-9793,; $60-$110) in Rancho Santa Margarita, which dishes out some tasty holes of its own, via a flattish, but pretty front nine and a target-style back nine that darts through the canyons. Hi Joe,A colleague and I both live in Charlotte. We have a presentation to do in Birmingham, Ala. We were thinking of driving and stopping to play golf on the way there and on the way back (I-85 to I-20). Can you recommend a course close to I-85 for Day 1 and one close to Birmingham off of I-20 for Day 2? Michael RaveyVia email Charlotte to Birmingham is a pretty good haul -- nearly 400 miles. I’m not sure how much driving you want to do before you to stop to play -- and then go driving again, but here are my suggestions: Roughly 210 miles into the drive, I would park the car in Suwanee, 20 miles northeast of Atlanta, and tee it up at Bear’s Best (678-714-2582,; $94-$114). This Nicklaus design is full of replica holes, some famous, some not, of Jack’s best work. On the return trip, it might be worth the 30-mile detour to sample Silver Lakes (256-892-3268,; $43-$79) in Glencoe, just north of Anniston, where the three nines on this Robert Trent Jones Trail course -- Mindbreaker, Heartbreaker and Backbreaker -- are aptly named. If you wish to drive a bit further before round 2, The Frog at the Georgian (770-459-4400,; $59-$81) is a scenic Tom Fazio design 45 miles west of Atlanta with wide fairways and tall pines.

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