Category: San Diego

October 13, 2010

Ask Travelin' Joe: San Diego and New Hampshire

Posted at 11:27 AM by Joe Passov

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Hi Joe,
I read your San Diego feature online and found that in addition to Torrey Pines you also recommended Aviara and the Crossings at Carlsbad. Any others I should consider? Also, any tips on getting onto Torrey Pines as a single?
Andrew Napora, via e-mail

For its walkability and views of the San Diego-Coronado Bridge, my value pick is Coronado Municipal ($30-$51; 619-435-3121, Two upscale inland courses worth the journey are Maderas ($170-$210, 858-451-8100, in Poway and Barona Creek ($80-$160; 619-387-7018, in Lakeside, both of which are superbly conditioned.

As for Torrey Pines ($61-$272; 800-985-4653,, for a $43 surcharge you can snag a time by calling 8-90 days in advance (877-581-7171). A cheaper option is walking on and standing by. From 6:15 a.m. to 7:30 a.m., it's first-come, first-served.

Dear Joe,
My family is planning a trip to Seabrook, N.H., in mid-October. Any courses you can recommend?
Thor Gervasi, Sanur, Bali, Indonesia

Wentworth By The Sea Country Club ($125; 603-433-5010, in Rye offers quirky New England fun with rolling terrain and ocean vistas, but you'll have to stay at the adjacent Marriott (, 603-422-7322) to play.

Nearby in the town of Greenland are Portsmouth Country Club ($50-$105; 603-436-9719,, a handsome Robert Trent Jones Sr. design, and the value-oriented Breakfast Hill ($38-$69; 603-436-5001,, a shortish Brian Silva routing that's studded with massive pines and granite boulders.


March 04, 2010

Ask Travelin' Joe: New Orleans, San Diego and South Florida

Posted at 12:15 PM by Joe Passov

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Dear Joe,
I'm going to New Orleans for a bachelor party with 20 guys and am interested in good courses in the area. Any thoughts?

Mike Ryan
Via email

Don't scoff at a par-62 course: Audubon Park ($30-$40; 504-212-5290, is 4,200 yards of lagoons, moss-drenched oaks, mounds and bunkers. It's close to downtown, next to Tulane University, it's incredibly affordable and best of all — for your purposes — it takes just three hours to play, so you can get back to the Big Easy's other bachelor party attractions.

For a more upscale experience-and bragging rights back home, try the TPC Louisiana ($79-$169; 504-436-8721,, a long, if flattish Pete Dye design that hosts the PGA Tour's Zurich Classic. It's pricey in high season, at $169 from March 5-May 16, but the $89 Twilight rate on weekends will help.

Hey Joe,
It's cold here in Toronto, Ontario, but I'm heading to San Diego, specifically La Jolla, in March with my son and brother-in-law. We definitely want to play Torrey Pines North & South. Anything else you might suggest that's close by? P.S. My son and I are both 12 handicappers. My brother-in-law, well, that's a whole other story altogether!

"Freezing" Frank Valle
Toronto, Canada

Warm up with the Grand Golf Club at Grand Del Mar Resort ($195-$215, 858-314-1930,, a short drive north from La Jolla. The Tom Fazio design weaves in and out of coastal canyons. However, it's not cheap, and you need to stay there to play there.

More accessible, if equally steep, is Aviara ($215-$235, 760-603-6900,, a classy Arnold Palmer design 20 miles to the north in Carlsbad that bursts with flowers, water features and undulating greens.

A less costly alternative is the Crossings at Carlsbad ($90-$120; 760-444-1800, This 2006 Greg Nash design suffers from a funky routing with some odd stops and starts, but also boasts a fistful of drama-filled holes, bridges that span environmental areas and Pacific Ocean views.

Dear Joe,
A buddy and I would like to plan a golf trip to South Florida in late March. We are looking at Tampa/St. Pete or Naples. Can you recommend either location vs. the other, plus courses and hotels?

Tim Herlehy
Burlington, Mass.

Naples is great, but more so if you have private club access. You'll have more options in the Tampa/St. Pete area. For the region's best golf, go with Innisbrook Resort (727-942-2000, in Palm Harbor. Home to the PGA Tour's Transitions event, Innisbrook leads off with the Copperhead course, a layout Ernie Els has called "the best we play in Florida." Its No. 2, the Island, is nearly as strong. It's a watery track dotted with cypress trees that played host to the 1990 NCAA Championship, won by Phil Mickelson. Rack rates start at more than $200 for golf, but most at Innisbrook opt for one of five golf packages that reduce the rates considerably.

The best value in the region — and maybe in all of Florida — is Cheval Golf & Country Club ($35-$45; 813-948-2114,, a private course in Lutz, just north of Tampa that offers outside play for the time being. There's real estate, but it doesn't really intrude, plus water on 17 holes and, since it's a Steve Smyers design, plenty of sand from start to finish.

December 11, 2008

Ask Travelin Joe: Palm Beach, San Diego and Mexico

Posted at 2:52 PM by Joe Passov

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Dear Joe,
I'm headed to Palm Beach for a visit with the in-laws over Christmas. What's the absolute best bargain down there-and I'm looking for a good test of golf, not a par-3 or executive course.

Dave Lyon
Evanston, Ill.

For that part of the Sunshine State, my default mechanism for value is always pegged 45 minutes north of the Palm Beaches, at PGA Golf Club (800-800-GOLF,, in Port St. Lucie. I'm partial to the Wanamaker, by a dimple's width over the Ryder -- both are Tom Fazio designs that max out at $70 on the weekend through December 25th, but the low-profile Pete Dye course there for the same price might be best of the bunch.

If you're sticking closer to the family -- and that's your call -- go with North Palm Beach Country Club (561-691-3433,, a Jack Nicklaus redesign right on U.S. 1 and the Intracoastal that boasts heavily contoured greens, a watery finish and fees under $100 through January 11th.

Hi Joe,
My Oklahoma State Cowboys are bound for the Holiday Bowl in San Diego and I'm following along. A few of us want to tee it up. We all know about Torrey Pines -- and the fight for tee times -- but are there any hidden gems out there? It's a Christmas present, so I've got one trophy course in the budget.

Bill Banks
Oklahoma City, Okla.

Locals do special occasion golf at Maderas Golf Club (888-712-1746,, $170-$210) a few miles inland (and out of the fog belt) from La Jolla and downtown San Diego. Johnny Miller was a celebrity design consultant, and it would help to hit irons the way Miller did in his prime to succeed at this hilly, drama-filled layout that's criss-crossed by creeks and canyons. Some point to a few design quirks -- well, I do, anyway -- but no matter how you feel about the layout, at least the tranquil setting, flawless conditioning and superior clubhouse and service make you feel like you got your money's worth from what's unquestionably a pricey round.

Dear Joe,
I want to do a south-of-the-border sunshine run after the New Year. I'd like to tee it up at a big-time track, but my wife is more inclined to the spa and eco activities. Have you got a destination that will work for both of us?

Greg Layton
Denver, Colo.

My first thought was the Fairmont Mayakoba (800-540-6088, and I believe my instincts were right, because they're offering something called the Sweet Deal Package that will have you both meeting up for dinner in good spirits. You get unlimited golf on a PGA Tour course, called El Camaleon, which demands straight hitting (Fred Funk and Brian Gay have won the past two years) on a Greg Norman design that blends jungle holes with seaside tests.

Several holes feature limestone canals cutting through them, while the par-5 opener sports a cavern in the middle of the fairway. She gets spa deals and a boat tour with an ecology expert. Rates start at $459, four-night minimum.

October 10, 2008

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

Posted at 2:47 PM by Ryan Reiterman

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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,; $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,; $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,; $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,; $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

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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