Thursday, May 19, 2011

If you want to ask Travelin' Joe a question, e-mail him at Dear Joe, I’m planning on taking a tour of the bourbon distillers in Lexington, Ky., this spring. I thought I would pack the clubs and get a round in between the taste testing. Any recommendations for golf packages in the area? It looks like Marriott has a nice track? Thomas F. Barnish Via email Travelin’ Joe has enjoyed the Kentucky bourbon sipping experience as well, though I recommend you do it after golf. Indeed, the Griffin Gate Marriott Resort (859-231-5100, serves up a quality package, with unlimited golf, cart, lodging and breakfast at prices starting at $264. Golf takes place over an early Rees Jones solo design ($60-$75), carved from rolling bluegrass country. That said, it’s far from the best public-access golf in town.
Your best bet is Old Silo ($59; 859-498-4697,, a sturdy Graham Marsh design 30 minutes east of Lexington that sports 98 bunkers, hilly terrain and a set of wildly undulating greens.
Next up is Kearney Hill Golf Links ($26-$46; 859-253-1981,, s superb—and superbly cheap—Pete and P.B. Dye collaboration that tumbles over rumpled, links-like terrain, amid mounds, moguls, grass bunkers and the rest of the Dye family’s signature design tricks. Future Players Championship winner Tim Clark captured the 1997 U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship here. Hi Joe, I’m attending a wedding out in Orange County, Calif., during May 2011. I have never been there before. Any courses with ocean views? I don’t want to break the bank. Andrew Ong Via email Pelican Hill ($250-$270) and Monarch Beach ($145-$195) are likely going to be wallet busters for you. You might try San Clemente Municipal ($33-$55; 949-361-8384, which doesn’t have any ocean holes in play, but is a pleasant walk and a great value, with views, albeit somewhat distant views, of the Pacific from several holes. This mature Billy Bell design dates to 1930, and will likely play pretty slow due to its popularity, so tee off early enough to get to the best ocean-view holes, 15 and 16. Dear Joe, My wife and I are planning a week-long trip to Tulsa, Okla., and Fayetteville, Ark., in May so that I can say I’ve visited all fifty states in my lifetime. She does not golf, but always encourages me to play two or three times while we’re on vacation. Are there any good public courses in those two cities that you recommend? Nilo Mia San Francisco, Calif. Travelin’ Joe only needs Arkansas to complete his 50 as well—as in playing golf in all 50 states—so you might beat me to it. In Fayetteville, check out Stonebridge Meadows ($39-$55; 479-571-3673,, a Randy Heckenkemper design near the University of Arkansas, where the low-handicap Razorbacks golf team members are tested by watery par-3s, densely wooded risk/reward par-5s and some of the fastest greens around.
Most of Tulsa’s good tracks are private, such as Southern Hills and The Patriot, but another Heckenkemper creation, Forest Ridge ($60-$70; 918-357-2443, will work perfectly. Its 141 slope and 76.0 rating from the 7,083-yard Tournament tees is testament to its challenge. A recent facelift has Forest Ridge sporting all new greens and a new five-acre lake at the 15th. Twilight rates start at $38.

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