Ask Travelin' Joe

Ask Travelin’ Joe

The 159-yard, par-3 16th hole at the Rookery at Marco.

Travelin’ Joe Passov has played more than 1,200 courses in 46 states and 21 countries. If you need travel directions, zip him an e-mail at [email protected].

Hey Joe,
My buddy is heading down to Marco Island, Fla., and has asked me to go along. What courses do you recommend in that area?
Simeon Bethke, Rosewood Heights, Ill.

Your best bet is just off the island, on the way to
Naples, on a rugged, wetlands-tinged 2003 Bob Cupp
layout called The Rookery at Marco ($50-$145, 239-
793-6060). Originally a 1991 Joe Lee design, it’s now
affiliated with the Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort.
About 20 miles north in Naples, you can play where the
pros play in the Merrill Lynch Shootout on the Gold and
Black courses at the Tiburon Golf Club at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort if there’s availability and you feel
like paying the hefty fee ($135-$250, 239-254-3340).

Dear Joe,
My kids want horseback riding in Arizona, my wife wants a spa and I want golf. I’m just trying to keep everybody happy. Any suggestions?
Bo Kuncio, Wyckoff, N.J.

Saddle up for Rancho de los Caballeros in Wickenburg (928-684-5484,, a 20,000-acre ranch an hour northwest of Phoenix. Kids ride in the morning, families
in the afternoon. There’s also a solid 18-holer that
stretches 7,025 yards through cactus and sagebrush and a new spa steps from the main lodge.

Showing some skins
Here’s where to play your own Thanksgiving-weekend
skins game while the pros tee off in the Tour’s silly season standby

PGA West (TPC Stadium Course)
La Quinta, Calif.
Skins Game host: 1986-1991
Greens fee: $75-$200
• This Pete Dye layout was labeled so tough by the pros after the 1987 Bob Hope Chrysler Classic that they refused to return, but 11 months later Lee Trevino conjured up the most electrifying shot in Skins Game history when he aced the island green par-3 17th with a 6-iron.

The Golf Club at Terra Lago (North and South Courses)
Indio, Calif.
Skins Game host: 1999-2002
Greens fee: $30-$140
• Greg Norman captured the most money in a Skins Game — $1 million — to win here in 2001. The North’s island green 15th and views of the San Gorgonio Mountains are highlights.

The Celebrity Course at Indian Wells Golf Resort
Indian Wells, Calif.
Skins Game host: 2007
Greens fee: $65-$175
• This 2006 Clive Clark design should elicit some exciting shotmaking options this year. The tropical-themed layout is replete with ponds, waterfalls and colorful flowers.