Is Chambers Bay as good as Bandon Dunes?

Leatherstocking Golf Course near Cooperstown, N.Y., is a home run.

If you need travel directions, zip him an e-mail at [email protected].

Dear Joe,

My dad, little brother and I are making a trip to Cooperstown, N.Y., to visit the Baseball Hall of Fame. Can you recommend one or two must-play courses and maybe a hidden gem?Jon Peterson, Portland, Ore.

You’ll find an All-Star right in town at Leatherstocking Golf Course at the Otesaga Resort ($70-$116; 800-348-6222, It’s also worth the splurge — and the 60-mile drive west to Verona — for Turning Stone‘s three courses (800-771-7711, The Tom Fazio-authored Atunyote ($175-$225) hosts the PGA Tour, but the Shenandoah Course ($85-$140) is at least as good. Seven Oaks ($57-$82; 315-824-1432, at Colgate University in Hamilton is your sleeper. It was Robert Trent Jones’ first design, in 1934, but wasn’t completed until 30 years later.

Dear Joe,
My wife and I will be in the Houston area next month. Can you suggest a couple of munis or courses accessible to the public within a 45-minute drive of downtown?George Janota, Prince Edward Island, Canada

You can play a PGA Tour venue at the Tournament Course at Redstone, home of the Shell Houston Open ($135; 281-459-7820, Less pricey options include the Tradition Course at Cypresswood ($38-$67; 281-821-6300,, and Tour 18 ($39-$89; 281-540-1818, Best value? Memorial Park ($26-$48; 713-862-4033,


Chambers Bay golf course
University Place, Wash.

Not since the 2001 opening of Pacific Dunes has a coastal public-acccess course been as eagerly anticipated as Chambers Bay, a Robert Trent Jones II design that debuts this month just west of Tacoma, Wash. It will be hard for any course to match Pac Dunes, No. 1 on GOLF Magazine’s Top 100 Courses You Can Play, but Chambers Bay has plenty of appeal on its own merits. The layout unfolds over almost 7,500 yards atop an old gravel mine at the southeast tip of Puget Sound. The memorable par-4 fifth drops eight stories from tee to fairway and has two greens separated by 150 yards. The farther one is open for longiron approaches while the shorter one is protected by tattered-edge bunkers. Even if it doesn’t have the design brilliance of the Bandon courses, Chambers Bay has the aesthetics — and it’s a damned sight easier to get to!

What will it cost you?
Greens Fees: $65-$150.
For tee times call 877-29-LINKS or visit