Ask Travelin' Joe: Using carts in Ireland, best courses at the Jersey Shore and more
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Four of us are planning a trip to Ireland, but two of us will need a cart. Do any top courses there offer riding? Sounds sacrilegious, I know, but we're fighting some injuries.
—John Brady, Boston, Mass.
I feel your pain, John — literally. My knobby knees have limped their way around a few walking-only tracks. Among the Top 100 links that allow carts are The European Club ($136-$272; 011-353-404-47415, theeuropeanclub.com), Portmarnock ($156-$265; 011-353-1-8462-634, portmarnockgolfclub.ie), Waterville ($79-$255; 011-353-66-947-4102, watervillegolflinks.ie) and Old Head ($217-$312; 011-353-21-4778-444, oldhead.com).
One famous inland track that accommodates riding is the K Club ($115-$265; 011-353-1-601-7200, kclub.ie), site of the 2006 Ryder Cup. Battle on, sir. I'd rather use a "buggy" than not play at all.
I'm taking the clubs down to the Jersey Shore. Atlantic City Country Club is highly rated, but is it worth the fees? Any other courses you like?
—Hank Jenkins, Norristown, Pa.
Baby, you were born to run … to the Jersey Shore for golf. It's not cheap, but if you're serious about the game and great courses, spend the cash and play Atlantic City Country Club ($65-$225; 609-236-4411, accountryclub.com).
Ranked No. 80 in our Top 100 Courses You Can Play, the AC delivers on service, pace of play and a scenic, historic, 116-year-old course restored by Tom Doak.
Ballamor ($58-$105; 609-601-6220, ballamor.com) in Egg Harbor Township was private until 2010, but its large lakes, vast sand splashes and multitiered greens are now open to all.
And for faux-links fans, Twisted Dune ($50-$99; 609-653-8019, twisteddune.com) is a Garden State must.
My husband and I are celebrating our 25th anniversary with a golf weekend. He's a 10-handicap, and I'm a 25. We like lots of course options, fine food and a nice spa. Ideas?
—Mary Haley, Marietta, Ga.
Since you're based in suburban Atlanta, drive 80 minutes east on I-20 to Greensboro and check in to either Reynolds Plantation (800-800-5250, reynoldsplantation.com), which features condo and cottage options, or The Ritz-Carlton Lodge, Reynolds Plantation (706-467-0600, ritzcarlton.com/en/properties/reynoldsplantation).
I've done both, and while the cottage option is wonderful, for a golf/spa/pampering weekend, I vote for the Ritz. All five resort-access courses are worthy, but for sheer, right-outside-your-door convenience, make the Rees Jones—designed Oconee ($245 à la carte rate, packages available) one of your picks. Wide landing areas framed by massive pines and an unforgettable finish along and over 19,000-acre Lake Oconee will make this an anniversary to remember.
I'm planning a spring getaway to Arizona, where I can play a lot of golf and my wife can walk to great shopping. Any advice for where to go in your sun-splashed home state?
—Mike Taylor, Lethbridge, Alberta
Mike, good on you and the missus for escaping Canada's arctic blasts, at least for a long weekend. You'll both like the Westin Kierland Resort & Spa ($59-$239; 480-624-1000, kierlandresort.com) in Scottsdale. There are three playable, Scott Miller—designed nines that blend parkland and desert, along with quality mountain views, superb dining (try Deseo for a splurge), excellent spa/workout facilities, and a five-minute stroll to North Scottsdale's best shopping at Kierland Commons, with some 75 retailers.
If she's a single-digit shopper already, she'll be scratch by the end of your trip.
(Photo: David Cannon/Getty Images)