Category: Savannah

January 14, 2014

Ask Travelin' Joe: Where should I play in Tucson? Savannah? Ponte Vedra Beach?

Posted at 10:03 AM by Pete Madden

By JOE PASSOV, Golf Magazine Senior Editor

La Paloma Country Club
Courtesy of La Paloma Country Club


Hello Joe, I'm headed to Tucson for a few days of Arizona sun and scenery. What courses give the most cacti for the money? -- Lana Neighbor, Ambler, Pa.

You have to stay at the Westin to play its on-site La Paloma Country Club ($59-$179; 520-742-6000,, but its three early Jack Nicklaus nines are well worth it. Saguaro cacti frame the fairways, while mountain vistas highlight this target-style spread. In nearby Marana, another Jack Nicklaus Signature design, the Golf Club at Dove Mountain ($79-$199; 520-572-3500,, is blanketed with exotic desert flora. The WGC–Accenture Match Play is played on the Saguaro/Tortolita combo, though Jack's favorite of the three nines is Wild Burro. And Ventana Canyon's Mountain and Canyon courses ($59-$169; 520-577-1400, embrace every manner of thorny plant, notably on the Mountain's par-3 third.

The Club at Savannah Harbor
The Club at Savannah Harbor / Dick Durrance


Dear Joe, I'm heading to Savannah, Georgia. Know of any gems off the beaten path? -- Sam R. Blair, via e-mail

Sam, maybe it's the shrimp and grits talking, but I think Savannah is one of the most charming cities in the U.S.—and great for golf. Start with The Club at Savannah Harbor ($40-$88; 912-201-2240,, a dramatic Bob Cupp/Sam Snead design that's hosted the Champions Tour's Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf for the last 11 years. Most memorable is the 447-yard, par-4 sixth, with its green edged by marsh and backdropped by the Talmadge Bridge. The area's top value? A wooded Rees Jones design called Southbridge ($25-$50; 912-651-5455,, which turns 25 this year. Meanwhile, the award for easiest access goes to bargain-priced Crosswinds ($34-$53; 912-966-1909,, renowned for its reachable yet watery par-5 closer, and for the club's location five minutes from the airport.

Streamsong Resort
Streamsong Resort / Larry Lambrecht


Hey Joe, Are there any quality links-style courses to play here in Florida? -- Bill Jervis, Tampa, Fla.

That's the easiest question I've heard in eons. Streamsong Resort ($110-$235; 863-428-1000, is less than 90 minutes from Tampa and serves up two superior firm-and-fast, dune-splashed tracks that demand thoughtful shotmaking, with an emphasis on the ground game. Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw's Red is slightly more dramatic than Tom Doak's Blue, though I'm partial to the Blue for how seamlessly it hews to the terrain, and for stunners such as the all-carry par-3 seventh and the drivable par-4 13th. With the mid-January debut of the 216-room Lodge at Streamsong, there's no better time to go.

The Word Golf Village
Courtesy of The Word Golf Village


Travelin' Man, I'm playing the Stadium and Valley courses at TPC Sawgrass. Anywhere else I should tee it up in the Ponte Vedra Beach area? -- Mike Smith, via e-mail

Since you don't scrimp, Mike, I'll steer you to the region's trophy tracks. For a fun 36 holes, drive 45 minutes south to St. Augustine. The World Golf Village (904-201-3609, has two courses: King & Bear ($79-$169) is the only Arnold Palmer–Jack Nicklaus collaboration in existence, and the Slammer & Squire ($59-$129) is a wonderful Bobby Weed creation, with help from Sam Snead and Gene Sarazen. King & Bear's back nine winds through loblolly pines and ancient oaks, while Slammer & Squire sports lagoons, wetlands and a wet-and-wild par-4 closer. My favorite combo of golf and lodging in the area is the Ponte Vedra Inn & Club and its Ocean course ($75-$132.50; 888-839-9145,, a wonderfully renovated treat that trots out cross bunkers, ocean breezes and an island green dating to the 1920s.

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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March 05, 2009

Ask Travelin Joe: Tucson, Jacksonville and Savannah

Posted at 3:13 PM by Joe Passov

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

Hi Joe,
Our last golf vacation took us to Carefree, AZ where we played Troon North and Grayhawk, which we really enjoyed. We are planning another 5-day golf vacation this April (3 days of golf is what we're playing). We love desert golf. What and where would you suggest for the same high quality of golf courses? We'd be willing to try another state -- maybe New Mexico. What are your thoughts? My husband and I love reading your articles!

Kim & Lyle Somers

Thanks for the kind words. In return, I'll give you some straight ones. One day, make sure your desert golf itineraries include the Albuquerque/Santa Fe regions of New Mexico and the St. George, Utah area. However, if you're headed south in early April, the weather in both New Mexico and southwestern Utah can be a little dicey.

Instead, try Tucson, Arizona. The saguaro-studded desert terrain, backdropped by the towering Catalina Mountains, makes Tucson golf perhaps the most beautiful high-desert golf experience anywhere. Since you enjoyed Troon North and Grayhawk, two marvelous, if pricey spreads, I recommend Ventana Canyon's two tracks ($120-$195; 520-577-1400,, especially the Tom Fazio-designed Mountain course, whose 107-yard, par-3 3rd hole might be most thrilling drop shot in the southwest.

I also like Jack Nicklaus' three nines at La Paloma Country Club ($90-$205; 520-742-6000, that are covered in cactus. You'll need to stay at the Westin to play, but it's worth the splurge.

Finally, try out the new 27-hole Ritz-Carlton Dove Mountain course ($99-$225; 520-572-3500,, site of Geoff Ogilvy's Accenture Match Play win last week. The pros played the Saguaro and Tortolita nines, but designer Jack Nicklaus' favorite is the Wild Burro loop.

Dear Joe,
I'm going on a trip to Jacksonville, Florida. What courses do you recommend for budget and value?

Tony Masseri
Long Island, N.Y.

Assuming you're skipping the trophy courses -- TPC Sawgrass, Amelia Island Plantation, Ponte Vedra Inn and the World Golf Village -- out of cost considerations, hands down the best value in Jacksonville is Windsor Parke Golf Club (904-223-4653, This 1991 Arthur Hills design boasts an array of strategically placed trees, lakes and bunkers and while there may be one too many houses to please purists, the price is right: $55 weekdays for non-residents through May and $70 weekends.

Another solid choice, especially if you crave a stern challenge, is The Golf Club at North Hampton (904-548-0000,; $75-$85), a 7,171-yard, par-72 Arnold Palmer design situated in Fernandina Beach, a half-hour north of Jacksonville.

Hi Joe,
I'll be heading down to the Savannah, Georgia area the third week of March with my bride to see the sights and play some golf. She likes playable courses. How's the weather that time of year? Also, any suggestions for eats and lodging?

Allen T.
Via email

First off, the weather should be glorious for you -- spring is just springing up, with daytime highs 66-72 degrees on average. Second, for a golf smorgasbord, don't forget that Hilton Head Island, S.C., is just a 45-minute drive from Savannah.

However, if you're going to hang out in Georgia for the week, check out the Westin Savannah Harbor (, set along scenic Lowcountry riverbanks. Its Greenbrier Spa is one of the South's best and its Troon-managed Bob Cupp course, the Club at Savannah Harbor (912-201-2240,, hosts the Champions Tour every year. The Golf or Spa Package starts at $339, while a la carte golf is $135.

I think you'll both warm to the Wilmington Island Golf Club (912-897-1612, a 1927 Donald Ross design that's dotted with mature pines and live oaks and goes for just $69, which includes cart and range balls. It's open to outside play all day Tuesday-Friday and after 12:30 p.m. on the weekend.

For eats, my wife, Betsy, swears by Food Network star Paula Deen's recipes, and her The Lady and Sons restaurant (912-233-2600, is one of the city's most popular.

Another great option for down-home cookin' is Mrs. Wilkes' Dining Room (912-232-5997, but bring cash as they don't take credit cards.

For upscale fare, stick to Elizabeth on 37th (912-236-5547, and the Olde Pink House (912-232-4286), two Savannah institutions.

For value (yet handsome) accommodations in the heart of historic Savannah, I like either of the two Hampton Inn properties.

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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