Category: Colorado


January 20, 2011

Ask Travelin' Joe: Colorado, Hawaii and the Bahamas

Posted at 7:46 AM by Joe Passov

If you want to ask Travelin' Joe a question, e-mail him at [email protected].

Hi Joe,
We would like to have a week's golf in Colorado in February 2011 after skiing. Are there courses or resorts available or are they snowed out?
Barry Costa
Australia

Aug_broadmoor_600x474 G'day, mate, and let me assure you that you've got a fighting chance to play golf in February. For the second half of the month, daytime highs in Denver average 50 degrees, with surprisingly low prospects of precipitation. February is Denver's driest month, when only .49 inches of rain/snow accumulate, and there's a 69 percent chance of getting a sunny day. Courses stay open, generally with great rates, such as the city of Aurora's Murphy Creek (303-361-7300, auroragov.org/golf), a Ken Kavanaugh prairie links design that played host to the 2008 U.S. Amateur Publinks Championship. Special winter rates are $40-$50 to play all day, with cart, or $30-$40 to walk.

Even at 6,000 feet, one of our Premier Resorts Awards Platinum winner The Broadmoor (719-577-5775, broadmoor.com) keeps its courses available in February, weather permitting, including the fabled East course, a Donald Ross/Robert Trent Jones design that will host the U.S. Women's Open in July. They have special winter golf packages that include room, golf, full breakfast and range balls for prices starting at $218 per person, based on double occupancy. Keep your fingers crossed — you might just get in some golf.

Dear Joe,
My wife and I are planning a golf vacation to Hawaii. What recommendations do you have for courses and hotels? Our goal is to play all of the Top 100 courses in our life. We have 60 so far, but none in Hawaii. Which do you recommend?
Bill Young
Via email

P.S. We use your column when we plan our golf vacations very helpful

Travelin' Joe appreciates your business. I'll try and steer you in the right direction. As far as your quest goes, Hawaii's pretty easy. Each of the top three courses, Mauna Kea, the Prince Course at Princeville at Hanalei and the Plantation course at Kapalua are affiliated with top-notch resorts, so you can — and should — stay right on property.

The Big Island's Mauna Kea ($155-$250; 808-882-5400, maunakeagolf.com), a classic Robert Trent Jones creation that was recently tweaked by Trent's son, Rees, ranks No. 19 in our Top 100 Courses You Can Play, and No. 100 of all courses in the U.S. Famous for its jaw-dropping par-3 3rd, with its heroic carry over a cove of churning Pacific Ocean, the lava-lined Mauna Kea is rock-solid from start to finish.

Next up is The Prince ($125-$200, 800-826-1105, princeville.com) on Kauai, a beautiful, brutal tropical tour de force from Robert Trent Jones Jr. Critics have harped that too often the course is relentless, and its fairways play too soft, but what's undeniable is the remarkable collection of great holes scattered through its jungle-like, clifftop setting, including the downhill, question mark-shaped opening par-4 and the superior ravine-hopping par-5 15th. The Prince ranks No. 22 in our Top 100 You Can Play, and has been a frequent member of various Top 100 lists through the years.

Finally, you'll need at least one trip around Kapalua's Plantation course on Maui — but likely many more to figure out this massively wide, wildly rolling Bill Coore/Ben Crenshaw layout that hosts the PGA Tour's season-opening event every year. Ranked No. 23 in our Top 100 You Can Play, Kapalua's Plantation ($158-$268; 808-669-8044, kapaluamaui.com) is wind-addled, yet pure pleasure due to its emphasis on the ground game, and the corresponding room to play all sorts of different shots.

Ultimately, you'll need to visit three different islands to play Hawaii's three top-ranked courses, but that doesn't seem like bad duty to me.

Dear Joe,
We are going on a cruise to the Bahamas in January, and we will be stopping at Nassau and Freeport. There are two courses that Carnival will let us play, the Cable Beach course in Nassau and the Lucaya Reef course in Freeport. I have heard bad things about these courses, and for what they are asking in green fees, I'm not sure that they are a good deal. There is also a course in Key West, Key West Golf and Country Club. Not sure about that one either.
Glenn Cox
Irving, Texas

Well, Glenn, I understand you're a poker player, so hopefully you'll understand when I tell you that I wouldn't even bluff with this hand. I might even fold. If you're dying for a game, and willing to spring for one of these rounds, the Lucaya Reef course ($75-$130, 242-373-2003, ourlucaya.com) at least offers a decent, linksy, Robert Trent Jones Jr. re-design, though it's not one of his more stellar efforts. Poor conditioning has been an issue here, and I don't have any right-this-minute reports so you'd be taking a chance here.

Cable Beach ($130-$150; crystalpalacevacations.com/golf) has a nice classic pedigree, but is otherwise undistinguished, with recent complaints of spotty maintenance. Key West ($70-$95; 305-294-5232, keywestgolf.com) a Rees Jones design, has some memorable holes, notably the all-carry, par-3 8th over a mangrove swamp, but also too many ordinary holes and too high a price tag — it's the only game in town — which makes this an iffy value at best, though it's down significantly from its $140 heyday a few years back.

(Photo: The Broadmoor; John Henebry)

April 29, 2010

Ask Travelin' Joe: Denver and Hawaii

Posted at 8:03 AM by Joe Passov

If you want to ask Travelin' Joe a question, e-mail him at [email protected].

Hi Joe,
I'm planning a trip with my buddies. I live in San Diego, they live in Toronto and we want to meet somewhere in between for three or four rounds and some nightlife. Something mid-budget would be great.

—Dr. Cassidy Boelk, San Diego, Calif.

Make your way to the Mile High City of Denver (1,082 miles for you, 1,342 miles for your pals). There aren't many golf packages to be found here, but there are a remarkable number of terrific, affordable public tracks.

Start with Jim Engh's feisty Fossil Trace Golf Club ($48-$79; 303-277-8750, fossiltrace.com), which is delightfully close to the Coors Brewery Tour.

Another fine option is Arrowhead Golf Club ($69-$119; 303-973-9614, arrowheadcolorado.com). It's a bit pricier, but this Robert Trent Jones Jr. creation is worth it. LoDo (Lower Denver) rocks at night. You can't miss at Wynkoop Brewing Company (303-297-2700, wynkoop.com), the state's oldest brew pub.

Dear Travelin' Joe,
My wife and I are spending two weeks on the Big Island of Hawaii. We'd like to play 6 to 10 times, but pay less than $100 per round. Am I being ridiculous? Or can you suggest some courses that fit our budget?

—Dick Payne, via e-mail

Your target is a tough one, but not impossible, provided you play most of your golf at the Big Island's best bargain, Waikoloa Village Golf Club ($80; 808-883-9621, waikoloa.org/golf), a breezy Robert Trent Jones Jr. test in the foothills of Mauna Kea.

Another option is Big Island Country Club ($65-$85; 808-325-5044, bigislandcountryclub.net), a Pete and Perry Dye design overlooking the Kohala Coast that sports a daunting island green hole, the 210-yard 17th.

August 26, 2009

Ask Travelin' Joe: Oregon, Colorado and Cape Cod

Posted at 4:46 PM by Joe Passov

If you want to ask Travelin' Joe a question, e-mail him at [email protected].

Dear Joe,
We are a group of eight golfers traveling to Bend, Oregon in September. Do you have any recommended courses accommodating four rounds of golf?

Carl Miller
Kansas City, Mo.

Hopefully you saw our feature on Bend in the August 2009 issue, but either way, here's a quick recap. Mike Reid certainly can vouch for Crosswater at Sunriver Resort ($109-$175; 541-593-4402, sunriver-resort.com) having walked away with a Champions Tour major there this past week. You don't have to be quite as straight as the man they call "Radar" to enjoy Crosswater, but you do have to be a guest of the resort to play it. Book your stay -- because it's the best course in the area. Ranked No. 33 in our 2008-09 Top 100 Courses You Can Play, this Bob Cupp/John Fought design is edged with wispy fescues and sports countless holes that skirt ponds, wetlands, the Deschutes River and the Little Deschutes River.

Continue reading "Ask Travelin' Joe: Oregon, Colorado and Cape Cod" »

January 16, 2009

Ask Travelin Joe: Boca Raton, Denver and Phoenix

Posted at 12:21 AM by Joe Passov

If you want to ask Travelin' Joe a question, e-mail him at [email protected].

Dear Joe,
We are planning a Florida trip mid-January for the Boca and/or Stuart area … what "value-courses" do you like in either of these locations?

Dr. Scott Roland
Via email

You're jumping into high season, of course, in both these Sunshine State hotspots, but there's still value to be had. For good Boca golf at bargain basement prices, try the Links at Boynton Beach (561-742-6500, boynton-beach.org), 20 minutes up the road.

This friendly, mature muni is dotted with pines, bunkers and a smattering of lakes -- this is Florida, after all -- but at 6,300 yards, par-71, this Devlin-Von Hagge design is playable by all. The best news is that it's $59 to ride, $39 after 1:00 p.m.

My sentimental pick is Inverrary Country Club's East course (954-733-7550, inverrarygolfclub.com) just to the south in Lauderhill. If you remember back to the 1970s, when Jack Nicklaus ruled the PGA Tour's Jackie Gleason tournament, this was the venue. This Robert Trent Jones Sr. design goes for $30-$62.

Near Stuart, head straight north about 15 minutes to Port St. Lucie to sample any -- or better yet, all -- of the three courses at PGA Village (800-800-4653, pgavillage.com). At $100 ($56 after 2:00 p.m.), both the Ryder and Wanamaker, two Tom Fazio designs, are worth the freight, but for the same price, the Pete Dye course might stand out. And frankly, it's worth the trip just to sample the practice facilities.

Hello, Joe,
I live in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada and I am looking to start the golf season in February 2009 and would like to know a few destinations within a 14-hour drive from where I live. Is it possible? I would like decent weather and reasonable green fees, and I would be driving.

Larry A.
Regina, Sask., Canada

I'm afraid your new nickname is going to be "out-of-luck Larry." Even if you averaged 80 miles per hour for 14 hours, you're not going to find any sunscreen weather. If you're desperate for a golf fix, and average 60 mph, you can get as far as Vancouver or Denver. I'd be a little nervous about Vancouver's coastal moisture at that time of year, so let's take a chance on Denver, which is surprisingly dry, with an average daytime high for the month of 50 degrees.

Best bargains are Murphy Creek ($35-$57; 303-361-7300, golfaurora.com), a Ken Kavanaugh prairie links that played host to the 2008 U.S. Public Links Championship; Riverdale's Dunes course ($38-$51; 303-659-6700, riverdalegolf.com), a terrific Pete Dye design with ponds and railroad ties; and Fossil Trace ($53-$70; 303-277-8750, fossiltrace.com), an enchanting Jim Engh creation near the Coors Brewery that darts in and out of ancient rock outcroppings.

Hey, you're a hardy Canuck. Go late in the month and pack a heavy sweater. You'll be fine.

Hi Joe,
A couple of friends and I are going to Northeast Phoenix the first week of February. Are there any nice courses that won't kill our wallets at that time of year? Also, we will be getting in there the Saturday of the FBR Open. Any suggestions on where to grab tickets?

John Spinale
Via email 

Start with Papago Golf Course ($84-$109; 602-275-8428, papagogolfcourse.net), a recently restored muni that offers minimal services and facilities, but a big-time set of holes, thanks to 7,333 yards of semi-parkland, semi-desert terrain, with views of the Papago Butte rock feature.

For a true desert experience -- with a few homes mixed in -- you'll find refuge in the Sanctuary at WestWorld ($111-$129; 480-502-8200, sanctuarygolf.com), an Audubon-certified, Randy Heckenkemper design in Scottsdale with an after-2:00 p.m. rate of $60.

Finally, check out the Champions course at the TPC Scottsdale ($91-$130.50; 480-585-4334, tpc.com/Scottsdale), the redesigned little brother to the TPC Stadium course that's now all grown up.

If you're looking to join 150,000 golf fans for the "Greatest Show on Grass," i.e., Saturday at the FBR Open ($25; fbropen.com), you can buy them in advance at Ticketmaster -- or else just show up at the gate. The FBR Open is never sold out -- meaning there's always room for more -- even at the best-attended golf tournament in the world. Go early to the crazy par-3 16th, however. It's completely enclosed for 2009 -- but the bleachers behind the green are first come, first-served.

October 10, 2008

Ask Travelin' Joe: Prescott, Ariz., San Diego and Colorado Springs

Posted at 2:47 PM by Ryan Reiterman

If you want to ask Travelin' Joe a question, e-mail him at [email protected].

Dear Joe,
On my way home to Huntington Beach, Calif., from Santa Fe, N.M., in October, I plan on stopping in Prescott, Ariz., and would like to play golf the following morning. I have found a listing for Prescott Lakes GC that is private but sounds like a neat course. Is it possible to be able to play a private course without having a reciprocal membership? Or is there another course you would recommend in the Prescott area?

Mike Allen, Via email

Some private clubs area easier to access than others, especially in this economy. If you're going to play mid-week, a polite, sincere inquiry via letter, phone call or email is worth a try. I'm not saying it will work at Prescott Lakes, but give it a go. The Hale Irwin design is a tough, scenic, high-desert test, with firm, fast greens.

If that doesn't work, your next best option is StoneRidge (928-772-6500, stoneridgegolf.com; $33-$69), a Randy Heckenkemper creation that dishes out heaving fairways, elevated greens and a memorable set of par-3s.

Hi Joe,
My son and I are traveling to San Diego next month. We need a cheap round of golf, but one with some scenery. We can't afford Torrey Pines this trip. Help, please!

Doc Grayson, Billings, Mont.

Coronado Golf Course (619-435-3121, golfcoronado.com; $25-$54) on Coronado Island is your best bet. Opened in 1957, when Hall-of-Famers Billy Casper and Gene Littler were in the opening foursome, this municipal track features flattish, tree-lined fairways that make for an easy walk. Pace of play is never quick, but you don't mind lingering here and there, because half the holes sport handsome views of San Diego Bay. Among the sights to see are Navy ships, sailboats, the Hotel del Coronado and the corkscrew-shaped San Diego-Coronado Bay Bridge.

Hi Joe,
My daughter has recently moved to Colorado Springs and I will be visiting. Can you suggest some courses that I should play? My handicap is 12.

Joe Lane, Ireland

Towering above everything in the area are the three courses at The Broadmoor (719-577-5790, broadmoor.com; $150-$185 in October, $100 in November). The historic Donald Ross/Robert Trent Jones Sr.-designed East just hosted the U.S. Senior Open in August, while the recently renovated Mountain course is among the most scenic in the Rockies. Unfortunately, you've got to stay at the resort or else be a guest of someone who's staying there to get aboard.

For a taste of distinctive architecture, I would drive a half-hour south to Pueblo and play Walking Stick (719-584-3400, golfinpueblo.com; $28-$41), a wide-open Keith Foster design that played host to the U.S. Public Links Championship a few years back. Strategic bunkering and a smattering of well-placed bunkers -- plus the miniscule green fee -- makes it worth the trek.    

Ask Travelin' Joe



 

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