If you want to ask Travelin' Joe a question, e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Dear Joe, I've got a meeting to attend in Charleston and have time for one round. I'm a modest 19 handicap, so I think I'll pass on Kiawah's Ocean Course, but it would be great to play along the water somewhere. —Doug Schoenstein, Parma, Ohio To the north, my pick is Wild Dunes Resort's Links course ($120-$145; 843-886-2180, wilddunes.com) in Isle of Palms, an early Tom Fazio design that celebrates its 30th anniversary this fall. Its par-5 closer along the Atlantic has been restored, returning the course to "must-play" status.
Down south at Kiawah Island Resort, the Jack Nicklaus-designed Turtle Point ($180-$224; 843-266-4050, kiawahresort.com) sports a stretch of holes (14-16) where you can hit a beachcomber if you yank a shot. Hi Joe, My husband and I are looking for a golf trip for our 10th anniversary. We have played in Charleston, S.C.; Scottsdale, Ariz.; and Ponte Vedra, Fla., and we'd like to try Palm Springs, Calif. We're both 20-handicap golfers and would like to play some medium-difficulty courses with possibly one "big name" layout in the mix. Recommendations? —Heather Smith, Philadelphia, Penn. Make your trophy course La Quinta's Mountain ($59-$189; 760-564-7610, laquintaresort.com). In typical Pete Dye fashion, it can play as tough as old beef jerky, but choose the proper tees and this is pure fun, particularly the unforgettable stretch of 14 through 16 that hugs the mountain.
Another track worth your time is the Celebrity at Indian Wells Golf Resort ($65-$165; 760-346-4653, indianwellsgolfresort.com).
For a great value, try Escena ($40-$85; 760-778-2737, escenagolf.com), a wide, scenic, five-year-old layout from Nicklaus Design that's near the Palm Springs Airport. TAKE IT FROM JOE The ultimate golfer's holiday gift? How about tournament trip to southwest Ireland, my favorite international golf destination? Sign up for the Great Irish Links Challenge (greatirishlinkschallenge.com), the first edition of which takes place May 22-25, 2011. A field of 600 golfers will compete at three venues: Ballybunion, Lahinch and Doonbeg, which rank among the greatest links courses on the planet. Three rounds, with a title at stake. Now that's a stocking stuffer!