Perfect Drives

Perfect Drives

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Cheap gas = Golf Roadtrip!
Danny Hellman

When gas prices soared
above $3 per gallon last
summer, road trips
became about as value-
conscious as a first-class
plane ride. Now that
prices at the pump have
dropped, toss your sticks
in the trunk and hit the
open road on these four
perfect drives, each
combining great value
courses with a trophy-
course finale.

SOUTHERN COMFORT
Atlanta, Ga., to Birmingham, Ala., 150 miles
Value Stops:
Silver Lakes in Anniston has
the Heartbreaker, Backbreaker
and Mindbreaker nines ($40-
$55). Then it’s Oxmoor Valleyin
Birmingham. The Ridge Course
($40-$62) is best but the Short
Course is a treat. rtjgolf.com

Grand Finale
Close to Birmingham, Ross
Bridge is the newest and most
expensive of the Trent Jones
Trail. Opt for the 8,200-yard
tees and you’re looking at road
rage. ($75-$110; 205-949-
3085, rtjgolf.com)


HEARTLAND EXPRESS

Chicago, Ill., to Kohler, Wis., 150 miles
Value Stops:
Take I-94 to Thunderhawk
($25-$98; 847-872-4295). In
Milwaukee’s suburbs see Erin
Hills($125-$169; 262-646-3331,
erinhills.com) and thrifty
Nagawaukee Golf Course($18-
$42; 262-367-2153).

Grand Finale:
The Straits Course at
Whistling Straits, Pete Dye’s
bluff-top gem that hosted the
2004 PGA Championship and
this year’s U.S. Senior Open.
($300; 920-565-6050,
destinationkohler.com).

CALIFORNIA DREAM
San Francisco, Calif., to Monterey, Calif., 115 miles
Value Stops:
The Ocean Course at Half
Moon Bay ($135-$180; 650-
726-1800) leads to Pasatiempo
($150-$197; 831-459-9155,
pasatiempo.com) and then the
best value of all: Pacific Grove
($35-$55; 831-648-5777)

Grand Finale:
You’ll need a pot of gold at
the end of this rainbow: your
last stop is Pebble Beach.But
where better to make the final
putt of a memorable trip?
($450-$480; 831-624-3811,
pebblebeach.com).

THE ROAD TO SIN CITY
Los Angeles, Calif., to Las Vegas, Nev.
Value Stops:
Start at the Ike Course at
Industry Hills ($62-$119; 626-
810-4653) then cross the desert
to Primm Valley ($135-$175;
702-679-5509). Kick start your

Grand Finale
Finales don’t get more
grand than Shadow Creek,the
ultimate desert fantasy. Just
make sure you have a good
night at the blackjack tables.

DEAR JOE,

I’m a 12 handicap and I will be
going to Florida for the first time.
Where can I play in the vicinity of
Clearwater for less than $150?
—Olivier Gelas, Brussels, Belgium

• Trade you information: Are
Belgian waffles actually from
Belgium? Travelin’ Joe has always
wondered about that. Anyway,
here’s mypart ofthe deal: The
best course is Pine Barrens at
World Woods, an houraway
($110-$140; 352-796-5500,
worldwoods.com). Closer to
Clearwater try Fox Hollow in
New Port Richey ($70-$85; 727-
376-6333, golfthefox.com) or
the TPC Tampa Bay in Lutz, a
much-admired Champions
Tour stop ($79-$105; 813-949-
0090, tpc.com).

HEY JOE,
We are planning a family reunion
and we’re looking for an upscale
resort on the water within an hour
of L.A. where there’s good golf and
a spa. Any thoughts?
—Jake Kendall, Encino, Calif.

• Until Pelican Hill emerges
from renovation work latert his
year, your best bet is the St.
Regis Resort, Monarch Beach
(949-234-3200, stregismb.com),
which just earned a fifth star
from Mobil. It’s pricey, but
delivers value forthose special
occasions and next-dooraccess
to the Monarch Beach Golf
Links ($110-$225; 949-240-8247),
a Trent Jones Jr. treat with
memorable seaside holes.

Joe Passov has played more than
1,100 courses in 21 countries. If you
need travel directions, zip him an
e-mail at [email protected]