Category: Nevada

April 16, 2011

One of Nevada's newest layouts takes you back in time at an affordable rate

Posted at 8:42 AM by Joe Passov

Constega_600x400 Conestoga Golf Club
Mesquite, Nev.
7,232 yards, par 72
Green fees: $50-$140

Nothing says old west like the Conestoga wagon, and this namesake golf course manages to capture the adventurous spirit of that age perfectly. Located an hour or so north of Las Vegas and about 35 minutes south of St. George, Utah, this year-old Gary Panks track is a fair but relentless design that features rugged terrain, bold bunkering and absolutely stunning vistas. The mountain panoramas alone are worth the drive up from Vegas.

May is a great month to hitch up to Conestoga, because the price drops from $140 to $90. Wait until June 1 and the price plummets to just $50. Slashed by canyons and hemmed in by massive sandstone mesas, Conestoga is a beast for wayward hitters. Excellent risk/reward options can be found at the split-fairway, par-4 4th and the par-5 6th, while par-4s such as the 15th and 18th rock with thrilling elevated tees. For solid value and spectacular scenery, you'll definitely want to ride this wagon.

March 10, 2011

Ask Travelin' Joe: Tucson, Lake Tahoe and Savannah

Posted at 4:55 PM by Joe Passov

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

Starpass Dear Joe,
Late March - Tucson - I want desert golf, my wife wants the spa. Any good deals out there?
Glen Johnson
Aurora, Colo.

There's no shortage of stand-alone spas in the Old Pueblo, including two of the finest - but priciest - in the U.S., Miraval and Canyon Ranch. Fortunately, there is also a fistful of superb full-service resorts in town as well, where pampering your body won't cost you an arm and a leg.

Off by its cactus-studded lonesome is the JW Marriott Tucson Starr Pass Resort & Spa (520-792-3500,, which dishes out 27 desert-framed holes that combine the architectural talents of Bob Cupp and Arnold Palmer (pictured). If you like famous footsteps, Starr Pass was the site of Phil Mickelson's first PGA Tour win back in 1991, when the property was under the TPC umbrella, and when Phil was still an amateur.

New at the JW Marriott Tucson Starr Pass is the Spring Golf & Spa Package, which includes 18 holes per person, deluxe lodging, one 50-minute spa treatment and a nightly $50 dining credit. That ought to bring smiles to both your faces.

Hi Joe,
I'm heading up to Lake Tahoe in mid-March for a quick three-day weekend and was wondering if golf is even a possibility. Do you know of any decent courses that might be playable within about an hour or so drive of Tahoe?
Eric Grohman
Long Beach, Calif.

If you can drag yourself away from the casinos, you might just be in luck. Vic Williams, a very capable golf writer and editor who lives in the area, assures me that down from the mountains, there's playable golf weather to be had. In fact, the forecast through March 17 features daily highs from 57 to 61 degrees. Our recommendations are for the Reno/Sparks/Carson City area, but no matter which course you choose, it's between 10 and 60 miles of North or South Lake Tahoe.

Highest marks go to Genoa Lakes ($65; 775-782-4653, in Genoa, straight down the hill from Heavenly and the South Shore. There are two tracks here, but the one you want is the Lakes course, a John Harbottle/Peter Jacobsen design that's slashed by the Carson River and which sports open panoramas of the Sierra Nevadas. Note that it's closed Mondays and Tuesdays in March.

Next up is Dayton Valley Golf Club ($40; 775-246-7888, in Dayton. It's a little longer drive from the lake, roughly 20 minutes east of Carson City, but Arnold Palmer and Ed Seay carved a value-laden beauty from the mountain foothills, complete with a sea of soft mounds and bold bunkers.

Another contender for "best value" honors is Eagle Valley's West course ($35; 775-887-2380, in Carson City, an affordable, Arthur Jack Snyder-designed muni in a high-desert setting that meanders through sagebrush.

In the other direction, Wolf Run ($40; 775-851-3301, is yet another of the region's memorable bargains. Situated about a half-hour from the North Shore/Incline Village, in south Reno, its 5,000-foot elevation makes daily play in March a little dicey, but check anyway. The 7,100-yard layout is strong enough to serve as home course for the University of Nevada golf team, but it's pretty playable for all, regardless of your level of education.

Final options include the Resort at Red Hawk ($50-$55; 866-462-4295, and D'Andrea Golf Club ($69; 775-331-6363, Both are located in Sparks, east of Reno, roughly an hour or so from the North Shore of Lake Tahoe, and are worth the journey. Red Hawk is a Robert Trent Jones Jr. design that blends mountain meadows, water hazards and real estate, while D'Andrea is a hilly, treeless Keith Foster creation among the desert hills. It's a bit pricier to tackle D'Andrea, but its lower elevation often allows for better weather and better conditions.

Dear Joe,
We are planning our spring golf trip to Savannah, Ga., in March. Can you recommend some good courses in the area? Price is a consideration, but not a deal-breaker.
Jim T.
Via email

It's been more than a decade since "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" put Savannah on the A-List of tourist destinations. If the buzz has ebbed somewhat since then, the attractions haven't. The city's "must-play" is the Troon-managed Club at Savannah Harbor ($110; 912-201-2240,, a Bob Cupp/Sam Snead collaboration that plays host to the annual Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf, the oldest event on the Champions Tour. Wetlands, undulating greens and 7,288 yards of length form the bulk of the challenge, but memorability is its strongest suit, thanks to holes such as the long par-4 6th, which finishes in the shadows of the spectacular Talmadge Bridge and the par-4 9th, with the handsome Westin hotel in the backdrop.

Perhaps the region's best bargain is Southbridge ($40-$50; 912-651-5455,, a flattish romp through woods and lakes that Rees Jones crafted back in 1989. Don't forget, too, that you've got a gold mine of courses 30-45 minutes away, on and off Hilton Head Island.

However, if you want one more Savannah option, especially on your first or last day of the trip, check out Crosswinds Golf Club ($20.50-$55; 912-966-0674,, which is conveniently situated five minutes from the Savannah Airport. You'll find a little bit of everything on this 6,609-yard track, except homes. A superb, watery, risk/reward par-5 closer is a great way to end the trip.


October 14, 2010

Heading back west for the Northern California Grand Golf Adventure

Posted at 10:46 PM by Jessica Marksbury

Earlier this year, Travelin’ Joe Passov and I visited Northern California and Northwestern Nevada to explore some of the region’s finest places to play. Now, in two short days, we’ll be heading back west to commence our Northern California Grand Golf Adventure with two lucky sweepstakes winners. I can’t wait to go back.

The gorgeous Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay and Montbleu hotel in Lake Tahoe will be providing our accommodations, and we’ll be chauffeured from place to place in an all-new 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee.

In addition to the three fabulous golf courses on our itinerary, we’ll have breakfast with CBS commentator and GOLF Magazine Sidespin columnist David Feherty (hope he picks up the tab!), and attempt to survive a wild ride on the Rubicon Trail in Lake Tahoe.

Joe and I will be posting daily blogs and videos right here on to document our journey, so make sure to check in throughout next week.

If you need a quick refresher on the great golf in the Northern California area, check out the highlights from our first trip:

Travel Feature: Northern California from Golf on Vimeo.

October 24, 2009

Ask Travelin Joe: Louisiana's Audubon Golf Trail and Las Vegas

Posted at 3:46 PM by Joe Passov

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Hi Joe,
We've played part of the RTJ Golf Trail in Alabama, and loved it. Which courses would you recommend from the Audubon Golf Trail in Louisiana?

Mark Skipper,
Cedar Park, Texas

Make Gray Plantation ($50-$65; 337-562-1663, in Lake Charles your first stop. The Rocky Roquemore layout is a top value, especially during the week, when you can play this well-bunkered test that skirts the Calcasieu River for $50.

Near the heart of the city is the short but affordable Audubon Park Golf Course ($30-$40; 504-861-2537,, a par-62 track.

Fifteen minutes from downtown is the TPC Louisiana ($110-$169; 866-NOLA-TPC,, a flat, 7,500-yard Pete Dye design that hosts a PGA Tour event, but at twilight can be played for less than $100.

Dear Joe,
I'm going to Vegas next month and would like to play an affordable course within a short cab drive of the Strip. What do you think is the best bargain in Sin City?

Chad Hartman,
via e-mail

Thanks to the stagnant economy and a dearth of giddy gamblers, Las Vegas is awash with ever-changing golf deals right now. (See, the recession isn't all bad!) Of the fistful of solid second-tier courses, I think The Legacy Golf Club ($75-$119; 702-897-2187, in Henderson meets your criteria. This burly but playable 7,233-yard, par-72 Arthur Hills design is lined with houses, but mountain and desert vistas, quality service and facilities and a memorable stretch of holes (Nos. 10-13) are highlights. Plus, it's only a 15- to 25-minute ride from the Strip, and even closer to the airport.

September 17, 2009

Ask Travelin' Joe: Chicago, Washington D.C. and Las Vegas

Posted at 11:07 AM by Joe Passov

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Hey Joe,
A group of 8 of us are going to Chicago on the September 19 weekend. We were looking into a golf course to play that Saturday morning but haven't made up our minds yet. I was wondering if you could give me some suggestions as to where we should try. My criteria would be: public, $100 or less, relatively close proximity to Chicago because we won't have our own vehicles. Our handicaps range from 2 to 20. We want to play something quality and memorable.

Jordan Lund

Jordan, it would take Solomon's wisdom to find a perfect answer here, but you're stuck with Travelin' Joe, so we'll forge ahead with compromises. The Glen Club (847-724-7272, almost fits your bill. It's only 15 miles north of O'Hare, it serves up a handsome, tournament-tested Tom Fazio design and it's got all the service bells and whistles you could ask for. Unfortunately, they're asking $175 to play on a September Saturday.

Continue reading "Ask Travelin' Joe: Chicago, Washington D.C. and Las Vegas" »

January 08, 2009

Ask Joe: Las Vegas, Orlando and Portugal

Posted at 11:30 AM by Joe Passov

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

Dear Joe,
I’m going to Las Vegas in January and wanted to get a round in. I live in Tennessee but really like desert courses. Wolf Creek in Mesquite seems like a good alternative, but it seems like a hike from Vegas. I know you’ve been asked a million times, but let me know your thoughts.

Brock Sturdivant

You’re right — I get asked this a lot — and for golf in the raw desert, I’ve been recommending Badlands ($70-$150; 702-363-0754,, a 27-hole Johnny Miller target course that merges the spectacular with the unplayable and Rio Secco ($115-$225; 702-889-2400,, a Rees Jones design with holes that plunge through scrub-filled canyons. Also, watch for glimpses of Natalie Gulbis on the lesson tee with Butch Harmon.

Two other worthy choices are any of the three Pete Dye courses at Las Vegas Paiute Resort ($79-$159;, 800-711-2833) and The Chase at PGA Golf Club Coyote Springs ($140;, 877-PGA-VILL). Both require 45- to 55-minute drives from the Strip through barren desert. I like the Wolf course at Paiute, though I don’t know that it’s $30 better than its siblings. The good news is that each is under $100 after 12 noon. The Chase is a superb new Jack Nicklaus track that earned a No. 4 ranking in our 2008 Top 10 New Courses You Can Play. It’s worth the drive.

Hi Joe,
I’m looking for a couple of easy courses in the Orlando, Florida area. I don’t want to pay good money and have a bad score. My handicap is 18.

Steve Smith
Via email

Since most of us equate “easy” with “boring,” what I’m guessing you’re looking for are some fun, interesting layouts that won’t beat the stuffing out of you.

Two that I have in mind are MetroWest Golf Club ($80-$129;, 407-299-1099) and Hawk’s Landing Golf Club ($169;, 800-567-2623). From the tips, MetroWest actually is far from easy, but this 1987 Robert Trent Jones Sr. creation is traditional golf, with no gimmicks. There are elevated greens and bunkers galore, yet plenty of fairway room and only a handful of lakes make it playable for all. The 6,104-yard middle tees (the tips go 7,051 yards) check in at a comfortable 68.8 rating and 123 slope.

Hawk’s Landing is a Bob Cupp redesign of a mid-‘80s Joe Lee course that stretches only 6,600 yards, with a slope of 131, and features shorter tees of 6,165/5,601/4,746 yards. It’s pricey, but couldn’t be more centrally located, right at the Orlando World Center Marriott Resort.

Dear Joe,
I’ll be in Lisbon, Portugal and I’m looking for courses to play. I have two days set aside for golf. Would you have any suggestions and contact numbers?

Dave Oravets
Via email

Absolutely worth the splurge is Oitavos Dunes (60-150 Euros--$75-$195;, 011-351-214860600), 20 minutes from Lisbon in Cascais, on the Estoril Coast. With holes edged by umbrella pines and scrub-covered dunes, this Arthur Hills-designed seaside layout is annual host to the European Tour’s Portuguese Open.

A shorter, hillier, more traditional parkland test is Golf do Estoril (65-71 Euros--$85-$95;, 011-351-289300680), one of Portugal’s oldest courses, a semi-private club that’s affiliated with the Palacio Estoril Hotel.    

December 04, 2008

Ask Travelin' Joe: Las Vegas, Alabama and Scottsdale

Posted at 12:59 PM by Joe Passov

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Travelin' Joe,
I'm headed to Vegas with friends for a quick weekend golf trip in December. We're scheduled to play at Revere and Badlands. We'll try to get in 36 in a day. Any thoughts on these courses?

Thomas Jones, Esq.
Washington, D.C.

Counselor, I'm advising that you sample those two venues on different days. Sunrise in Las Vegas on say, December 10, is 6:41 a.m., sunset at 4:26 p.m. and the two courses are a good half-hour apart, so it's not going to be easy doubling up. If you stay at the same property, different story. The Revere Golf Club has two Billy Casper/Greg Nash courses, the Lexington and the Concord, the latter the newer and less expensive of the two. Lexington is the slightly stronger product, but they're both good plays. I wrote about Badlands ($70-$150; 702-363-0754, in this spot a couple of weeks back, calling it "a 27-hole Johnny Miller desert target design that has plenty of quirky touches and a nice 'wow' factor." I haven't changed my mind.

Dear Joe,
I'm looking at property at Kiva Dunes, Alabama. I found a great value down there. I'm attracted because of its location and its challenging golf course. Can you tell me where does Kiva Dunes Golf Club rank in 2008?

Michelle Murray
Atlanta, Ga.

Kiva Dunes Golf Club ($72-$92; 251-540-7000, is a 1995 Jerry Pate design in Gulf Shores, 45 miles west of Pensacola that darts through wind-sculpted dunes along the Gulf of Mexico. It rates among the best in the state from every publication that ranks courses. At GOLF Magazine, it charted as the third-best public course in Alabama in our 2008 rankings that were published in September. Best reason to buy? Property owners pay only $50-$55 to play.

Hey Joe,
My family is taking a trip to see friends in Scottsdale over Christmas. I am planning on playing a couple of times. I'm looking for a couple of somewhat affordable courses and one high-end course. Are there some lower priced courses that you would recommend in the general vicinity, and if you could pick only one course to play out there, what would it be? Thanks for the info.

Matt Moore
Stillwater, N.Y.

Scottsdale is a legitimate golf mecca, but not for bargain hunters. Remember, too, that rates rise after the first of the year at many area courses, so try to tee off before the calendar changes.

That said, since you've come from New York, you should get a taste of desert golf. Start at Mountain Shadows Golf Club ($25-$49;, 480-905-8999), a lush, tight, par-56 executive track that's under $30 to ride most afternoons and features in-your-face views of Camelback Mountain.

Head next to the Sanctuary Golf Course at WestWorld ($71-$99;, 480-502-8200), an Audubon-certified desert target design from Randy Heckenkemper that juniors can walk for $31. You can ride after 2 p.m. for $45 and can walk during the week for $71.

Finally, splurge at We-Ko-Pa's Saguaro course ($145-$180;, 480-836-9000), a very walkable Bill Coore/Ben Crenshaw creation just east of Scottsdale that has no homes or roads — just wide fairways, strategic bunkering, cleverly contoured greens and unobstructed cactus and mountain vistas everywhere you look.

November 13, 2008

Ask Travelin' Joe: Las Vegas, Phoenix and Orlando's best

Posted at 11:45 AM by Joe Passov

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

Hi Joe,
I'm heading to Las Vegas in November and I'd like to know what you recommend for a true "desert golf" experience. I want to play a type of course I can't get here in Georgia. I'm even willing to drive up to Mesquite while I'm there.

Paul Allmon
Atlanta, Ga.

Hey, this is Vegas-you can get anything your heart (or wallet) desires here. If you're willing to splurge, you'll be captivated by the back nine at Butch Harmon's haunt, Rio Secco ($115-$225; 702-889-2400,, where the holes dip into and out of scrub-filled canyons. A worthy alternative is the Badlands ($70-$150); 702-363-0754,, a 27-hole Johnny Miller desert target design that has plenty of quirky touches and a nice "wow" factor.

Hey Joe,
I'm headed to Phoenix with my wife in December and want to play somewhere scenic, but one that won't beat us up, if you know what I mean.

George Kent
Richmond, Va.

Say "Hi" if you see me strolling the fairways of my hometown! Try any of the three nines at The Phoenician ($115-$175; 480-423-2449, The Oasis loop offers a touch of Florida thanks to the landscaping and lakes, while the Desert and Canyon nines embrace cactus and mountain themes. All three nines are pretty short but eye-catching.

Hi Joe,
I'm a Spanish pro and going to Orlando next winter. Which are, in your opinion, the top 10 golf courses to play in Orlando?

Mario Fernandez Cobo

Travelin' Joe hasn't played them all, but taking in the feedback I've received, plus my own subjective whims, here's your Orlando area Top 10.

1. Arnold Palmer's Bay Hill Club, Orlando (private-resort)
2. Sugarloaf Mountain Golf & Town Club, Clermont (private-resort)
3. Southern Dunes, Haines City (public)
4. Lake Nona Golf & Country Club, Orlando (private)
5. Isleworth Country Club, Windermere (private)
6. Ginn Reunion Resort (Independence), Orlando (private-resort)
7. Grand Cypress Golf Club (New), Orlando (public-resort)
8. Walt Disney World (Osprey Ridge), Lake Buena Vista (public-resort)
9. Orange County National (Panther Lake), Winter Garden (public-resort)
10. Orange County National (Crooked Cat), Winter Garden (public-resort)

Many private courses are receptive to allowing play from visiting professionals, on a space-available basis, so call or write ahead of time. If that doesn't work, mention Sergio's name.

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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