Second Annual Travelin’ Joe Awards

1 of 9 Courtesy of Castle Stuart
The TJs honor the best in travel in 2012—everything from an island green in Florida to an island resort in China. -- Travelin' Joe Passov Design Nerd Moment of the Year Playing Scotland's Castle Stuart in July while paired with David McLay Kidd, I marveled at Kidd's feedback (and praise) for another architect's accomplishments, and I relished his musings about how he might have done some holes differently. Oh, and he sank a clutch putt on 18 to halve the match.
2 of 9 Brian Morgan
Linksiest Reason to Be Fired (Up) by Trump True, many eyes rolled when the Donald deemed his new Trump International Links in Scotland "the greatest golf course in the world," upon opening in July. But I found it to be a remarkable feat that could mature into a true classic.
3 of 9 Tom Breazeale
No. 1 Reason to Renew my Passport When I holed out at Mission Hills Haikou's Meadow Links course in March, I thought I'd completed my quest to play all 10 courses at the spectacular resort on China's Hainan Island. Turns out owner Ken Chu and architect Brian Curley are adding a collection of off-the-charts fantasy holes. I can't wait to go back.
4 of 9 Fred Vuich/SI
Most Agonizing 3-Putt I waited years to tackle the ninth hole at Ponte Vedra Inn & Club's Ocean course, one of golf's first island greens (designed in 1928). Then I three-jacked from 30 feet. Bogey. (Followed by whiskey.)
5 of 9 Courtesy of Trianon Palace
Best Reason to Stay in Your Hotel Room The Trianon Palace Hotel in Versailles, France, was a relief after Le Golf National's brutal L'Albatros course, the 2018 Ryder Cup host with water on 15, 16 and 18. ("Room service! Un autre soufflé, s'il vous plaît...")
6 of 9 Courtesy of Omaha Beach Golf Club
Most Patriotic Hole Shortly before the anniversary of D-Day, I took a patriotic pilgrimage to Omaha Beach Golf Club, in Normandy, France. The Seaside course's sixth hole is a cliff-top, 475-yard par 4 dedicated to U.S. General Omar Bradley. I felt chills as I looked down on the English Channel's lapping waves—I could almost see the Allied soldiers pouring out of landing crafts onto the beaches, braving bullets and landmines so that you and I wouldn't have to. The greatest generation indeed.
7 of 9 Lonna Tucker
Worst Ballstriking on a Great Course The problem with desert golf? Hit it crooked and you're doomed, as I learned at Tour-centric Whisper Rock Golf Club (Upper), in Scottsdale. Even with a pair of 2's on this Tom Fazio design, I barely broke 90. Ugly. How does that '70s song go? "I've been through the desert on a course with no game..."
8 of 9 Courtesy of Silverado
New Reason to Love Johnny I enjoy his NBC and Golf Magazine commentary, but Johnny Miller the designer never wowed me—until now. I'm highly impressed by his renovation at Silverado (North) in Napa, Calif., and his deft contributions at Schaffer's Mill near Lake Tahoe, where he and the late John Harbottle created a playable, strategic mountainside gem.
9 of 9 Larry Lambrecht
Shower Power Award To wax esoteric, the best shower-room water pressure among our Top 100 Courses in the World belongs to Quaker Ridge in Scarsdale, N.Y. I can still feel those cleansing bee-sting beads of H20.