Thursday, July 25, 2013

JacksonholeJackson Hole Golf & Tennis Club offers views even more beautiful than the course itself. (Credit: Dick Durrance) Dear Joe: My family and I are heading to Wyoming in August. We'll have time for one round near Jackson Hole. Any thoughts? —Sam Dostaler, via e-mail

Sam, it's a coin flip between the Robert Trent Jones Jr. layout at Jackson Hole Golf & Tennis Club ($65-$185; 307-733-3111, jhgtc.com) and the Arnold Palmer—designed Teton Pines ($65-$160; 307-733-1733, tetonpines.com).
Both are fun, flat tests that are slashed by water hazards and boast views of the Tetons. They're pricey, but they do offer savings after 2 p.m. (up to $65 off). With some $15 million in recent renovations, including a new clubhouse, Jackson Hole might get the nod.
If you're all about bargain golf, the region's best value is Star Valley Ranch ($18-$32; 307-883-2669, svrawy.com) in nearby Thayne. From costly to cost-friendly options, it's no wonder they call Wyoming the Equality State.

Hi, Joe: My wife and I are looking for a nice golf-and-spa resort that's a reasonable drive from Cleveland, Ohio. Ideas? —Alex Chiu, Tucson, Ariz.

I was born and raised in the great city of Cleveland, but your best bet is to take a mini road trip.
Three hours southeast is Nemacolin Woodlands Resort (724-329-8555, nemacolin.com) in Farmington, Pa., which features a terrific spa and Tour-quality golf.
Pete Dye's Mystic Rock ($85-$159) is a beautiful brute in the Laurel Highlands that used to host the PGA Tour's 84 Lumber Classic.
Nemacolin's Links course ($45-$65) is not as striking, but it's value-priced and hardly a pushover.
Closer to Cleveland is the Inn Walden (888-808-5003, yourwalden.com), Ohio's only AAA 5-Diamond hotel. Situated in the leafy eastern suburb of Aurora, the Inn has a gorgeous spa and a handsome 7,200-yard golf course ($95-$118) redesigned by Craig Schreiner in 2001.

Hey, Joe: Big buddies trip to San Diego! We want to stay somewhere central, and prefer value courses—with one high-end track thrown in. Your thoughts? —Dave Baldwin, Helena, Mont.

For buddies trips, I'm partial to La Costa ($185-$240; 800-854-5000, lacosta.com). In spring and summer, the weather is fog-free and near-perfect.
There are two top courses with a great Tour pedigree right on property (Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson all boast multiple wins on the Champions Course), and it's only about a mile off of I-5, making it convenient to get to any of the area's coastal courses. La Costa isn't inexpensive, but packages bring the prices down.
Another option on San Diego's northernmost fringes is Pechanga Resort & Casino (888-732-4264, pechanga.com) in Temecula, which dishes out casino gaming and an Arthur Hills–designed thrill ride called the Journey at Pechanga ($89-$129; 951-770-8210, pechanga.com) next door.
Packages start at $219 per night, and there are plenty of other courses nearby.

Dear Joe: The family is headed to the Delaware Shore near Rehoboth Beach, and I've got a green light for one—and only one—round. What are your must-plays? —Brad Schiller, Upper Saddle River, N.J.

For every class of golfer, Baywood Greens ($35-$129; 302-947-9800, baywoodgreens.com) tops my list. It's a strong test from the tips — well-bunkered, with water and wetlands in play — but any handicap will delight in the kaleidoscopic flower arrangements and superb clubhouse.
If you're a serious stick and want a Bear-size challenge, the Jack Nicklaus–designed Bayside Resort ($85-$179; 302-436-3400, golfbayside.com) will satisfy, with many forced carries and stirring views of Assawoman Bay.
And the Rookery South ($35-$70; 302-684-3000, rookerygolf.com) has some standout holes and a friendly price tag, making it a good, wallet-friendly option.

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