Ask Travelin' Joe: Best golf courses at law schools, Dallas, Bermuda and more
I'm looking at law schools for next year. Being an avid golfer, I've been basing part of my decision on the quality of the surrounding golf. Are there any schools that maintain, or associate with, exceptional courses that are made available to the student body? Which are the best?
—Robby Marcu, Cleveland, Tenn.
I didn't find a lot of playing time during my first two years of law school, but maybe you're a quick study. If you aced your LSATs, I'd pick Stanford for both its terrific weather and otherwise private George Thomas/Billy Bell design that tested the likes of Tom Watson, Tiger Woods and Michelle Wie.
More sporty, but with dodgier weather, is the Course at Yale (pictured). For your "safety" schools, consider the ACC. Duke University ($30-$100; 919-681-2288, golf.duke.edu) has a tranquil, wooded, 55-year-old Robert Trent Jones Sr. design that son Rees reworked in the 1990s. I'm also a fan of the University of Wisconsin's newly expanded practice facility and Robert Trent Jones II layout, called University Ridge ($29-$89; 608-845-7700, universityridge.com).
I'm tagging along on my wife's work trip to Dallas/Ft. Worth. We're staying at the Omni in Las Colinas. Any course recommendations beyond the TPC in the area? I'd like to stay at or below $100.
—Jeremy Arthur, Chicago, Ill.
Spend the extra cash for Old American ($125; 972-370-4653, theoldamericangolfclub.com), 30 minutes north of downtown Dallas. You get a subtle Tripp Davis/Justin Leonard design overlooking Lake Lewisville that dishes out width, strategic bunkering and creative contouring, and free cart, water and snacks.
Next door is The Tribute ($99-$129; 972-370-5465, thetributegc.com), where a cluster of impressively rendered British Isles homage holes can be played for less than $100 during the week.
For serious value, Texas Star ($57-$77; 817-685-7888, texasstargolf.com) is an inspired Keith Foster design 15 minutes west of your hotel.
I'm taking a cruise to Bermuda and am interested in playing Port Royal and the Mid Ocean Club. Got any insider info?
—Mark Morehead, Fort Myers, Fla.
The C.B. Macdonald–designed Mid Ocean ($280; 441-293-1215, themidoceanclubbermuda.com) is more historic but private, thus tougher to get on. (A good hotel concierge will make an inquiry.)
Port Royal ($110-$180; 441-234-0974, portroyalgolf.bm) is public and is the more scenic course, thanks to holes like the 235-yard par-3 16th, which peers down at the Atlantic Ocean. Port Royal hosts the PGA Grand Slam of Golf, in October, so unless you've won a major in 2012, call ahead.
I'm an active-duty army chaplain, and I just moved to Schweinfurt, Germany. Where can I play for reasonable rates?
—Chaplain (Maj.) B. Dean Akers, Jr., Schweinfurt, Germany
Former Berlin Amateur champion Wolli Koening tells me that there's one oddity about German golf—you have to be a member of a club to play most anywhere.
So he recommends joining the International Golf Community (igc.de) where 169 euros ($213) get you five rounds, plus club membership.
Try Golf Club Maria Bildhausen (€50-€60; 09766-1601, maria-bildhausen.de), a long, modern test, and Golf Club Bad Kissingen (€70-€80; 0971-3608, gckg.de), a 1910 design from one time Royal County Down professional C.S. Butchart. Schweinfurt is home to the U.S. Army's legendary First Infantry Division, the "Big Red One." I see an ace in your future, Dean.
(Photo: Larry Lambrecht)