Category: Sedona

May 01, 2009

Ask Travelin Joe: Flagstaff, Arkansas and Toronto

Posted at 2:08 PM by Joe Passov

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Hello, Joe,
I'm going to Flagstaff, Arizona this week. Can you give me any recommended courses? I don't have any club affiliations.

John G.
Albuquerque, New Mexico

Not many folks beyond the state lines realize that in a little more than two hours up Interstate 17, you can leave the triple digit temperatures of Phoenix behind for the 75-degree days, 80-foot-tall Ponderosa pines and 7,000-foot elevation of Flagstaff. Unfortunately, the great golf in the area is confined to private clubs, notably at 36-hole Forest Highlands, whose Canyon course is often ranked as Arizona's best and at Pine Canyon, one of my favorite golf communities in the nation.

Basically, you've got three choices for public access golf. First -- and closest -- is Continental Country Club (928-527-7999,; $43-$69). Formerly known as Elden Hills, it's reverted back to an earlier name and at 15 minutes from virtually anywhere in Flagstaff, it's all about convenience and value. Expect play to be slow, with lots of once-every-six-months kinds of players swinging away on vacation, but the waiting isn't all bad. Roughly half the holes are of your basic meadow/pasture variety, with ill-defined landing areas and water hazards, but the other half are pure pleasure, with a handful framed perfectly by pines and backdropped by the San Francisco Peaks.

Another option is to drive 45 scenic minutes south and tee it up at Sedona Golf Resort in Sedona (877-733-6630,; $69-$105). It's lower in elevation, 10-20 degrees warmer and features sagebrush edging the holes, rather than pines, but the stupendous red rock scenery, memorably at the 210-yard, par-3 10th, makes it worth the journey. Gary Panks, who authored Twin Warriors near Albuquerque, did Sedona as well.

Finally, you might try a cool time warp 30 miles due west of Flagstaff at Elephant Rocks in Williams (928-635-4935,; $29-$54). Panks created nine new, tough, meadowy holes here in 1999, but the old stone clubhouse and the lay-of-the-land, pine-lined holes (1-5 and 15-18) date to the 1920s.

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February 19, 2009

Ask Travelin Joe: Austin, Sedona and Spring Training

Posted at 11:34 AM by Joe Passov

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

Dear Joe,
Four of us are heading to Austin, Texas in March. We already have a few rounds lined up, but are there any hidden gems that we should look into?

Duncan Norcross
Atlanta, Ga.

Off the beaten path but worth howling about is Wolfdancer (512-308-WOLF,; $165, includes forecaddie) 20 miles southeast of Austin, at the Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort. Arthur Hills and his lead associate Chris Wilczynski fashioned a unique test over three distinct landforms, from forested ridgelines and rolling prairie land to a valley peppered with trees. The downhill plunge at the par-3 12th, its mountainside green a scary but inviting target, is worth the drive out from the Austin city limits.

Hi Joe,
I'll be traveling down to Sedona, Arizona in February/March and I'll be staying at Seven Canyons. I'll be playing most of my golf there, but are there any other affordable courses that you recommend in that area? I've never been there and I'd like to play a few other courses as well.

John Hoffer
Minneapolis, Minn.

You'll have a tough time breaking away from the tight, if ultra-private Seven Canyons, which overdoses on scenery at every turn. Still, for the spice of variety, check out Sedona Golf Resort (877-733-6630,; $59-$105), a 1989 Gary Panks design with elevation changes, undulating greens, a driveable closing par-4 and an all-world, par-3 10th that's backdropped by red rocks.

Not quite as dramatic, but where the homes are less intrusive is Oakcreek Country Club (928-284-1660,; $79-$99), an early '70s collaboration from Robert Trent Jones Sr. and Jr. In classic Trent Jones style, most of the greens are elevated, and the par-3 4th, which plays straight at a gigantic, reddish rock formation is unforgettable, but a massive tree pruning/removal would really open up some spectacular vistas.

Dear Joe
My dad and I are big Philadelphia Phillies fans and are flying into Tampa, Fla. and driving to Clearwater for a few of their spring training games in March. We were wondering if you had some suggestions for courses for us to try out while we are down there?

Clay Stabert
Via email

Hopefully you perused the March 2009 issue of GOLF Magazine where I recommend a good value for Phillies fans, Bardmoor Golf Club in Largo (727-392-1234,; $65-$90), 15 minutes south of Bright House Field, where the Phills play their Grapefruit League ball.

Nearby, the underrated TPC Tampa Bay (813-949-0090,; $135-$162) in Lutz is a worthy splurge. It hosts the Champions Tour in April, where Tom Watson defends and after 2 p.m., you can tackle its myriad bunkers, lakes and wildly contoured greens for $99.      

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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