Thursday, October 23, 2008

If you want to ask Travelin' Joe a question, e-mail him at askjoe@golf.com. Dear Joe,I will be going to Isle of Palms in October. Any suggestions for the Charleston, S.C. and surrounding area?Don RatliffJohnson City, Tenn. Right in Isle of Palms is the Wild Dunes Resort, where two Tom Fazio courses await. Fazio is rebuilding the oceanside par-5 18th at the renowned Links course (843-886-2180, wilddunes.com; $135-$140) and progress is good, though not quite completed. The rest of the holes are delightful, weaving in and out of dunes and dense Lowcountry foliage, though one could certainly nitpick as to the overabundance of houses that bracket the fairways.
Don't overlook is its sibling layout, the Harbor. Nearly every hole encounters lakes, salt marshes or the Intracoastal Waterway -- and it's $30 cheaper to play during the fall.
The best Charleston-area bargain is the Links at Stono Ferry (843-763-1817, stonoferrygolf.com; $56-$80, a Ron Garl design that's chock full of Revolutionary War relics and features several holes along the Intracoastal. Hi Joe,We are going to Costa Rica in November and the price of golf there seems a bit steep. We are staying at the Paradisus Playa Conchal Resort and we were wondering if the golf is worth the price?Steve SignorLawrenceville, Ga. I'll grant you the tariff at the resort's golf course is heady. However, I will add that it's probably one of the few in this part of the world that's worth the cash. The Reserva Conchal Golf Club (506-2-654-4000, reservaconchal.com; $75-$125) is a gorgeous tropical tour de force from Robert Trent Jones II, which features a handful holes that overlook the Pacific Ocean to the west. Mountains, jungle-like foliage and even the stray howler monkey help make for a memorable round. Play after 2 p.m. for that $75 rate and you'll be read to howl yourself. Dear Joe,I'm going to be in Winston-Salem at the end of the month for a wedding and four of us will be looking for a Friday morning round of golf. We would like a course that is well-conditioned with a variety of holes but not excessively tight. Suggestions?Raymond RoelandtVia email My automatic response when it comes to "Winston-Salem" and "public golf" is usually Tanglewood Park, whose Championship course hosted many Champions Tour events as well as the 1974 PGA Championship. However, it's long on challenge, but short on variety, as nearly every hole is littered with bunkers on your way to an elevated green. Its companion, the Reynolds, is even tighter. Better you should sample the pleasantly named Meadowlands Golf Club (336-769-1011, meadowlandsgolfclub.com; $41-$51), a playable 6,706-yard Hale Irwin design, or else try Salem Glen (336-712-1010, salemglen.com; $39-$55) in nearby Clemmons, a 1997 Nicklaus Design product that sports a flattish, open front nine and a rolling, wooded back nine.

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