Category: Missouri

July 24, 2012

Reports: Water use, electric bills soar as courses battle heat and drought

Posted at 5:06 PM by Michael Rosengart

It’s on the news every evening these days, snugged right in between election coverage, Penn State news and the latest gossip about the Kardashian clan. What is it?

The heat.

This summer has been an absolute scorcher. According to the Weather Channel, 63 percent of the country is in a drought. The Midwest is getting hit the worst, but the Southeast and the Rocky Mountain regions are also suffering. Golfers and golf courses across the country are doing what they can to make it through with temperatures at or near triple digits on a regular basis.

For instance, Tom Wilson of the Newark Advocate in Ohio shares the story of Kyber Run Golf Course in Johnstown, where Director of Golf Ben Tigner said, "We are fine in the mornings from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m., but in the afternoon, no one is playing because it's so hot. It's like a ghost town in the afternoons."

At the nearby Granville Golf Course, they’ve taken a unique approach to try to keep business flowing:

[Assistant professional Luke] Radabaugh said Granville is offering a special twilight rate after 2 p.m.

"Everyone wants to beat the heat, so they are playing early," Radabaugh said. "We dropped the rates in the afternoon to try and get more people out, but it's tough. If you look out there in the afternoon, the course has been empty because of the heat.

And everywhere, grounds crews are fighting nonstop to keep their courses playable. In the St. Louis suburb of Alton, the Post-Dispatch’s Tim O’Neill reports that local course superintendent Mike Beckman has doubled his course’s water usage:

In more pleasant weather, he said, the course runs its irrigation systems three or four times weekly.

"We're at it seven days a week," Beckman said. "We lose a quarter-inch of moisture every day. It takes a long time to get that much water back into the soil."

Electric bills are soaring too. Up in Wisconsin, the Baraboo News Republic’s Ed Zagorski writes that even a reserve supply of well water isn’t all good news for Clint Hutchens, general manager of Baraboo Country Club:

Hutchens said the club already doubled its electrical bills from last season. “If you have golfers who are out on the course for 18 holes, they don’t want to walk into a clubhouse that is warmer than it is outside,” he said. 


June 11, 2009

Ask Travelin Joe: The Ozarks, Los Angeles and Montreal

Posted at 11:58 AM by Joe Passov

If you want to ask Travelin' Joe a question, e-mail him at

Dear Joe,
I am taking a trip to the Southern Missouri/Northwest Arkansas Ozarks and would like to play a few rounds of golf. I am open to all types of courses and price ranges, but usually like to get the best bang for the buck. I will be traveling with my wife, 9-year-old daughter and 2-year-old son, so resorts with amenities other than golf would be great, too. Recommendations?

Loyce Smith
Junction City, Kan.

To compensate for those guilt pangs of being without the family for 6 hours, I'm sending you straight to the best course in the area, the Tom Fazio-designed Branson Creek Golf Club ($90-$99; 417-339-4653,, a rolling track with lakes, hills and mountain vistas. Fortunately, Branson's myriad attractions will allow your family to forget all about you-for 6 hours, anyway.

For lodging, check out the Westgate Branson Woods Resort and Cabins (888-808-7410,, an affiliated partner of Branson Creek, which offers indoor and outdoor pools, a lighted playground, bike rentals and plenty more.

If you'd prefer the prices and tranquility of Arkansas, don't miss Stonebridge Meadows ($30-$54; 479-571-3673, in Fayetteville, a testing Randy Heckenkemper creation near the University of Arkansas that might be the region's top value.

Continue reading "Ask Travelin Joe: The Ozarks, Los Angeles and Montreal" »

March 19, 2009

Ask Travelin Joe: Nassau, St. Louis, Palm Beach Gardens

Posted at 11:28 AM by Joe Passov

If you want to ask Travelin' Joe a question, e-mail him at

Hi Joe,
We're looking for affordable golf in the Nassau area in early April. Any recommendations?

Maureen & John Peet
Goderich, Ontario, Canada

Soak up as much free sun and sand as you can, because "affordable" golf near Nassau is not an option.

Nassau/Paradise Island offers only three courses-and no bargains. The best bang for the buck is at Cable Beach Golf Club (242-677-4175,, 10 minutes west of downtown Nassau. Devereux Emmet (of Congressional and Garden City fame) designed this layout in 1929, though subsequent revisions have shredded nearly any trace of his work. Nonetheless, this 6,423-yard, par-71 layout remains a sporty, interesting test, even if maintenance can be spotty. It will cost you $180 to play in the morning (the rate shrinks to $130 on May 1), but they do provide a 9-hole rate of $110 if you're just itching to play. Guests of the Sheraton Nassau Beach Resort and the Wyndham Nassau Resort, both affiliated with Crystal Palace Casino, can play for $120.

Nassau's two other courses both come with caveats. You must be a guest of the One & Only Ocean Club (888-528-7157, on Paradise Island or nearby Atlantis (888-877-7525, to play Ocean Club's Tom Weiskopf course. Mind you, this is one of the priciest resorts around, but many feel it's worth the splurge, as evidenced by its Silver Medal showing in GOLF Magazine's 2008 Premier Resorts Awards. Though the Ocean Club is a flattish, low-profile layout, it's superbly groomed and enjoys gorgeous sea views. Here's a tip: Just as at Pinehurst, you may call them the morning of the day you'd like to play and if there is availability, they'll let you on for the same hotel guest rate of $250.

Finally, the island's newest course is Blue Shark (242-362-4546,, so it's no surprise that Greg Norman is the architect of record. It's also the island's most expensive, at $265, but with its "Shark's Teeth" triangle of holes 10-12, its distinctive "Blue Holes," (natural tubes that lead directly to the ocean) and excellent conditioning and views, this re-do of Joe Lee's old South Ocean Club could be right up your alley. At 30 minutes from downtown Nassau, it's a bit of a hike, but then you might enjoy the solitude.

Hello Joe,
Every year, I go to the Women's Final Four and try to play golf in the area. Last year, at Tampa, I was able to hit some of your suggestions: World Woods, Innisbrook, etc. Any suggestions for St. Louis this year? Also, is there a golf school you recommend in that area as well?

Ie-Chen Cheng
Palo Alto, CA

My first suggestion is to bring a sweater or two. The first week in April in St. Louis features average daytime highs of 62 degrees and lows of 42. At the very least, sleep in and play late. First choice would be Missouri Bluffs (800-939-6760,; $49-$95), a pristine, hilly, forested 1995 Tom Fazio design 20 miles north of the city in St. Charles.

Next, I might cross the Mississippi River into Waterloo, Illinois, 30 minutes south of St. Louis, for Annbriar (618-939-4653,; $42-$72), a handsome, unspoiled, 16-year-old Michael Hurdzan design that sports a linsky front nine and a wooded back nine.

Greater St. Louis is sprinkled with a half-dozen other worthy tests, but if you're looking to broaden your travel horizons, check out the three nines at Forest Park (314-367-1337,; $39-$49), situated practically in the urban heart of St. Louis. Though no one will ever use this moniker, it was recently renamed Norman K. Probstein Community Golf Course and Youth Learning Center in Forest Park, after the developer who poured a bunch of money into revitalizing the facilities. The courses date to 1913, but were substantially re-worked not long ago by Stan Gentry of Hale Irwin Design Services into a real treat, with tree-lined holes that ease through a huge city park that houses the zoo, art museum and other civic treasures. Dogwood and Redbud are the Championship nines, but the very walkable Hawthorne is good fun, too. If you want to soak up an experience that's pure St. Louis, play Forest Park.

As for a golf school, go with Heartland Golf Schools (314-453-0705, They're located at Annbriar, and sessions start the last week in March. So, weather permitting, you should have a pleasant golf/basketball doubleheader this spring.

Hi Joe,
I'm gonna be in the Palm Beach Gardens, Florida area in a couple of weeks. I'm looking for some good tracks to play in the $50-$150 range. I've played PGA National, but it's too expensive unless you're staying at the resort. I wouldn't mind driving anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes out. Any suggestions?

William Q.
Via email

Two nearby tracks (both within 15 minutes) that offer terrific value are the Links at Madison Green (561-784-5225,; $50-$70) and North Palm Beach Country Club (561-691-3420,; $85-$125 through March 29 and $65-$85 March 30-April 30). Madison Green is a John Sanford design that splashes water on nearly every hole and serves up all manner of pot, beach and waste bunkers, the latter composed of sand and coquina shells and peppered with plantings.

North Palm Beach is an ancient country club, dating to the 1920s, but a substantial makeover by Jack Nicklaus in 2006 made it much longer and more challenging, notably via the many new lakes and the topsy-turvy greens. Still, several memorable holes along the Intracoastal Waterway will make you forget all about your three-putts.            

November 05, 2008

Ask Travelin' Joe: Orange County, Calif., Tuscon and Missouri

Posted at 12:58 PM by Joe Passov

If you want to ask Travelin' Joe a question, e-mail him at

Dear Joe,
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.

Daniel Robison
Via email

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,; $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,; $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.

Hey Joe,
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?

Drew Igana
Via email

If you're saving your dough for the wedding cake, centrally located Randolph North (520-791-4161,; $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,; $35-$48), a sturdy layout with mountain views and no homes that can be walked after 2 p.m. for $18.

Dear Joe,
We're planning a trip to Missouri. Can you recommend courses in the Branson area?

Patrick Ginnelly
San Antonio, Texas

Branson Creek (417-339-4653,; $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,; $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. 

Ask Travelin' Joe

Our traveling correspondent has been where you're going. Heading out of town on vacation? Business trip? Travelin' Joe can suggest the best places for you to tee it up. If you want to ask Travelin' Joe a question, e-mail him at


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