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Category: golf courses
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I'm looking for a new hobby to get me through the golfless winter and have decided on this: I will compile an authoritative list of golf courses that do not require shirts.
So far, I know for certain of only one such place, Squires Golf Club, a private course in the Philadelphia suburbs. Only the fellas can play Squires, and over the past 40 years or so the club has developed an excellent reputation for money games, fast play and a good bar. All your better Philadelphia athletes and team owners hang there, if they know anything about the good life. A worthy start, but I need more, and I'd be grateful for your help. If you have a lead, leave a comment below or send an E-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
A week or so ago, I wrote about a neighbor, Joe Winder, who grew up playing a nine-holer in Mansfield, Ohio, called Cool Ridge. I couldn't find it online, and now I know why. It's Coolridge, one word. Find a better name for a golf course than that. I quickly learned that it measures 3,101 yards, that the fall green fee is $10 for nine holes and $15 for two trips around, and that the course was opened in '26. That was a very good year for golf-course openings. Check it out.
But here's what's troubling me: do I put Coolridge on my no-shirts-required list? The two reviews of it on golflink.com left me scratching my head.
Here's what Stan_Signor wrote about it: "With new owner, course in pretty good shape. Shirts required at all times. Hot dogs/chips/beer-liquor/soda available."
But a writer traveling under the pseudonym golfman wrote this: "Nothing in the club house except pop and beer and about 3 different types of candy bars. The reason this course has never taken off is they over charge for what they offer and then they let anyone on the course. Last year 4 guys with no shirts on and really drunk were in front of us. At least keep the rif raf out."
The full name of the place, according its website, is the Coolridge Golf Course & Lounge. (OK, top that.) It didn't say anything about a shirt policy. I called the number but no one answered and there was no message, at least not when I tried. A guess would be that management requires shirts but is loose about enforcing the rule. If that's the case, then it goes on my list, right after Squires. But if the four gents playing in front of golfman were an anomaly, then I can't put the 'ridge on the list, although I'm sure the course and lounge have other things going for them. For starters, the photo of the course on the website is very spooky and cool and golfy.
Anyway, if you know of shirt-free courses, or know more about the Coolridge stance on the matter, I'm all ears.
If you want to ask Travelin' Joe a question, e-mail him at email@example.com.
My boss and I are attending meetings near Orange County, Calif. and were curious on your thoughts on the best course to play. Strawberry Farm is not available, but we were looking at Coyote Hills or Oak Creek and/or possibly making the drive to Trump National.
You can't go wrong with any of the O.C. tracks you mentioned, but if you want maximum views for maximum dollars, make the drive to Trump. Six weeks ago in this space, I also recommended Arroyo Trabuco and Tijeras Creek. If you're looking for a shorter commute, both the Ocean North and Ocean South courses at Pelican Hill Golf Club (877-735-4226, pelicanhill.com; $235) in Newport Coast dish out rolling Tom Fazio designs with stunning Pacific views. Twilight rates are $135.
Just east of Anaheim is Black Gold Golf Club (714-961-0060, blackgoldgolf.com; $92-$120) in Yorba Linda, not far from the Richard M. Nixon Library and Birthplace, which offers an unimpeachably solid Arthur Hills design set among steep hills and pumping oil wells.
I'm getting married in Tucson and am getting the guys together for a round of golf before the wedding. We want to play a good, quality course but don't want to break the bank. I was reading up on Randolph North in the city. It's listed as an LPGA Tour stop as well as a former PGA Tour stop. Any suggestions?
If you're saving your dough for the wedding cake, centrally located Randolph North (520-791-4161, tucsoncitygolf.com; $42-$70), that formerly hosted the Joe Garagiola Tucson Open and the Seiko Match Play, is a good bet. Its equally priced, shorter, but more interesting sibling, Dell Urich, was the scene for LPGA events in 2003 and 2004. Both are parkland layouts.
If you want to sample a modestly priced desert design, try Crooked Tree Golf Course (520-744-3322, crookedtreegolfcourse.net; $35-$48), a sturdy layout with mountain views and no homes that can be walked after 2 p.m. for $18.
We're planning a trip to Missouri. Can you recommend courses in the Branson area?
San Antonio, Texas
Branson Creek (417-339-4653, bransoncreekgolf.com; $48-$99) in Hollister is absolutely worth the splurge. Ranked No. 76 among GOLF Magazine's Top 100 You Can Play, this heavily undulating Tom Fazio design stretches more than 7,000 yards from the tips and sports panoramic vistas of the surrounding Ozark hills.
A notable newcomer is the Payne Stewart Golf Club (417-337-2963, paynestewartgolfclub.com; $50-$65), a rugged, sandy test that pays homage to the late Missouri native. Nine holes are currently open (1-8, 18), with the balance slated to debut in May 2009.