Category: South Carolina

December 19, 2013

Course Spy: True Blue Plantation is worth every penny

Posted at 12:31 PM by Pete Madden

By JOE PASSOV, Golf Magazine Senior Editor

True Blue Plantation
Credit: Michael Slear / The Brandon Agency


Friendly, efficient staffers greeted us as we arrived, as befits a premier Grand Strand course. Impressively, the beverage-cart girl met us on the first hole, although she didn't return until No. 13. Then again, this potent layout gives you a better buzz than any cocktail can.


We teed off at 9 a.m. in late August and breezed around in slightly over four hours. Multiple water holes produced minor holdups, but the personable course marshals kept play moving. That said, rounds likely take longer in prime time, given the difficulty of the hazard-filled track.


While Mike Strantz's brilliant design has been softened over the years, it remains one of the best in Myrtle. Holes are so interesting and varied that our spy couldn't wait to reach the next tee. The greens and fairways were smooth and well-kept throughout the entire 18.


You'll pay a premium fee for a premium course. Our man shelled out about $100, the off-season rate at this high-end track. A few quibbles here and there (no divot mix in the plastic bottles) are forgivable. The scenery, variety and overall challenge made True Blue worth every penny.


You know you had a good day on the course if your biggest complaint is that the snack shop was closed. From the late, great Strantz's sublime design to the helpful staff to the tip-top course conditions, this dramatic, watery layout remains a must play in Myrtle Beach.

Pawleys Island, S.C.; 7,126 yards, par 72; Green fees: $110-$120; 888-483-6801,

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November 22, 2013

The Ultimate Man Weekend 2013: Myrtle Beach

Posted at 6:39 PM by Jeff Ritter
Antebellum oak trees line the entrance to Caledonia Golf and Fish Club.

When it comes to my golf-crazed friends, there’s one fall tradition that surpasses frost, foliage and even football.

Man Weekend.

For the past several autumns, I’ve met up with the same group of guys for a weekend of golf, drinks and good times. Last month, we convened in Myrtle Beach for our fifth edition. Astute readers may remember that this rollicking affair [past editions found here, here and here] once produced what this website boldly dubbed “The Worst Golf Shot in America.” This group is capable of making history at any moment.

CaledoniaTee-2As time has passed, our annual trips have slowly grown shorter as family and career obligations intercede. Most of us are now in our mid-30s, and life looks a lot different than it did five years ago. Thanks to an office meeting and flight snafu, I wasn’t able to join the band in Myrtle until Saturday morning, when less than 36 holes remained in the trip. A few guys had to blow out of town that night. One guy bailed on the trip at the last minute, leaving us with an awkward seven-man group instead of a perfect eight for foursomes. All told, the entire unit was together for a total of about 10 hours.

We made the most of it.

Recently in’s PGA Tour Confidential, we kicked around our dream 36-hole day and, because one should never miss a chance to be sarcastic dazzle readers with dry wit, I said that a perfect 36 holes in 24 hours would be Augusta National followed by Royal Melbourne. Good luck with that. But there are more than 100 courses in the Grand Strand, and I’d put the duo of Caledonia Golf and Fish Club and True Blue Plantation up against any other pair in Myrtle Beach. That was our two-course lineup for the day.

Caledonia’s Southern charm is apparent from the moment your car tires hit the driveway -- that path is lined by antebellum oaks (pictured above) and calls to mind, of all places, Magnolia Lane at Augusta National. That’s right: wheeling into Caledonia makes me feel like I’m about to play the Masters. I consider this a good way to start a round.

18thpicCaledonia was built on a Southern rice plantation, and the immaculate course is a staple on Golf Magazine's list of Top 100 Courses You Can Play. (I mean, look at that grass on the tee box above.) I’ve been fortunate enough to hit Caledonia a few times, and after each round I come away with a new favorite hole. This time the honor goes to the par-5 eighth, and its risk-reward second shot over a pond which fronts a green that’s severely sloped from back to front. My buddy Stuart, the biggest hitter of the group, eagled it. I birdied it. Others made 8s. Holes like this are a blast, especially in match play.

The par-4 18th [shown at right] has historically eaten my lunch. A large pond runs along the right side of the narrow fairway, and it takes a precise hybrid or mid-iron to stay in play off the tee. Then you need to hit one more pure shot that flies the pond and carries all the way to the green. The putting surface slopes toward the water, so, yeah, good luck. I think my best score on this hole entering Man Weekend was a 6. Here’s my tee shot from this year’s event. Spoiler alert: it stunk.

For our second round of the day, we hopped across Kings River Road to play True Blue, Caledonia’s sister property. While Caledonia is exacting off the tee, the Blue is more open and forgiving. Massive waste bunkers line many of the fairways, and the greens were still running quick, even in late October. The opening hole is a long, dogleg-left par-5 that kicks you in the teeth right out of the gate (It’s the No. 1 handicap) but the wide fairways were a welcome sight for our group as fatigue (and, in some cases, alcohol) began affecting our swings.

On the quaint little par-4 sixth, Stuart, a lefty who regularly busts drives over 300 yards, hopped out of his cart, flipped a right-handed club on its side and ripped this shot 330. You probably had to be there to fully appreciate it, but here it is:

We staggered home from there, mixing in a few good golf shots with more drinks and unprintable insults. True Blue's home hole, with water left, trees right and the stately clubhouse dead ahead, was memorable, and a great cap to a long afternoon on the course. We finished our day with a fresh seafood dinner at the excellent Flying Fish Public Market and Grill (Slogan: “If it swims, we’ll catch it!”) and basked in the glow of another weekend that was well worth the trip.

Can't wait to tee it up again next year.

Jeff Ritter, Stuart Johnson, Mark Phillips, Kevin Bray, Jose Alea, Brian Hutcherson and Luke Simpson.

(Photos: Caledonia Golf and Fish Club, Jeff Ritter, Jose Alea)

October 29, 2013

Best Trips: The Dunes Golf & Beach Club in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Posted at 12:23 PM by Pete Madden

By JOE PASSOV, Golf Magazine Senior Editor

The Dunes Golf & Beach Club
Credit: Michael Slear / The Brandon Agency


In the ever-evolving meat market that is Myrtle Beach golf, the juiciest cut is The Dunes Golf & Beach Club. Of the 100-plus courses along the Grand Strand, this 1948 Robert Trent Jones Sr. original is the only true-to-its-roots classic. When it closed for renovations this summer, the course already ranked No. 47 in Golf Magazine's Top 100 You Can Play. Now, following a sensitive retouching by Jones' son Rees, the Dunes is open again -- and better than ever.

The younger Jones stretched the tips back 185 yards, added a number of new tee boxes, rebuilt or constructed new bunkers on several holes, and widened the approaches to open up new shotmaking options. The biggest change came on the greens themselves, where the club transitioned the old bent surfaces to Champion Bermuda. That means faster, smoother conditions year-round. Fortunately, Jones left the teeth of the course largely unchanged, especially the scenic, if scary, stretch from 11 through 13, aptly named "Alligator Alley," which tangles with Singleton Lake (and its reptilian residents). The vaunted 13th, "Waterloo," now doglegs around the water at a healthy 640 yards, up from 590.

Even with the new greens and extra muscle, the Dunes' appreciation for traditional design values sets it apart from much of the Myrtle muddle. You'll still need to stay at a member hotel to access this otherwise private course, but if you're craving a classic amid the modern marvels of the Lowcountry, you gotta do the Dunes.

7,370 yards, par 72; Green fees: $75-$225; (843) 449-5236,

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April 18, 2013

Harbour Town offers stay-and-play package for $303 per weekday night

Posted at 12:36 PM by


If watching a few minutes of this week’s PGA Tour action from Hilton Head inspires you to plan a golf trip, then go right where the pros play. The Inn at Harbour Town is offering a golf package through 2013. The package starts at $303 per weekday night, per person, and includes accommodations for three nights, one round per day at Sea Pines resort’s Harbour Town Golf Links (the annual PGA Tour venue that is ranked second on Golf Magazine’s Best Public Golf Courses in South Carolina), Heron Point by Pete Dye (ranked 11th on Golf Magazine’s Best Public Golf Courses in the state) or the Ocean Course. The boutique, upscale Inn is adjacent to Harbour Town’s first tee. The package is also offered for weekends with a two-night minimum stay. For more information go to

Photo: 18th hole at Harbour Town (Rob Tipton/Boomkin Productions)

February 22, 2013

Deal of the Month: Sea Pines Resort

Posted at 3:42 PM by Joe Passov

As iconic golf landmarks go, few compare with the candy cane-striped lighthouse that backdrops the 18th green at Harbour Town. With Calibogue Sound looming on the left and OB lurking right, Harbour Town's home hole is one of the game's greatest.

The chance to follow in the formidable footsteps of past winners Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Davis Love III makes this a must-play, and Sea Pines' RBC Heritage Experience Package can make it happen.

Included is two nights at the Inn at Harbour Town, a round at Harbour Town accompanied by a caddie, a practice area with your own nameplate, a one-hour lesson, a first-tee introduction, and pro shop and restaurant discounts.

Added perks include a sleeve of balls, sunscreen, visor or hat, a logoed golf shirt and towel, ball marker with divot tool, locker room plaque and desktop mount, caddie bib, yardage book and commemorative Pete Dye coffee-table book.

All that's missing from this experience is your own PGA Tour card. March rates start from $1,080 per golfer. 800-SEAPINES,

(Photo: Larry Lambrecht)

January 05, 2013

Deal of the Month: Caledonia Golf Vacations

Posted at 9:15 PM by Joe Passov

The late architect Mike Strantz was an artist, a bulldozer his paintbrush. At Caledonia Golf & Fish Club in the Myrtle Beach area, he created a masterpiece. He later did the same with nearby True Blue.

Short in stature at 6,526 yards, but long on challenge (140 slope), Caledonia is my favorite course on the Grand Strand, thanks to a thinking man's shot values and Lowcountry aesthetics, with holes zigzagging between live oaks and edging the Waccamaw River.

Caledonia Golf Vacations' Grand Slam Package embraces the value and variety that define Myrtle Beach. This is one great deal. Included are three nights' accommodations at either True Blue Resort on the South Strand or Barefoot Resort in North Myrtle Beach. You get four rounds of golf, one each at Caledonia and True Blue and two more from among the four superb Barefoot courses, designed respectively by Greg Norman, Davis Love, Tom Fazio and Pete Dye.

Many hail the Fazio and Dye offerings as best, but I love the Love, with its Donald Ross–inspired greens and faux antebellum ruins.

February rates start at $469, based on quadruple occupancy in villa or condominium accommodations. 866-954-8311,

For more exclusive travel deals and packages, go to iTunes and download Golf Magazine's Front9 app, available for use on the iPad and iPhone.

(Photo: Michael Slear/The Brandon Agency)

February 23, 2012

Ask Travelin' Joe: Ft. Lauderdale and Hilton Head, plus what makes a great match-play course

Posted at 3:52 PM by Joe Passov

Hi Joe,
A group of friends and I will be in Ft. Lauderdale and we would like to catch a good round of golf at a PGA-level course, or something similar you recommend.

Sergio Torres
Atlanta, Ga.

There are no “must-plays” in Ft. Lauderdale, but there are definitely a fistful of solid choices that fit your description. Start with the Club at Emerald Hills ($45-$125; 954-961-4000,, in nearby Hollywood, a water-loaded, 1970 Devlin/Von Hagge creation that boasts surprising elevation changes for South Florida and is fearsome challenge as well, as evidenced by the 76.1 rating and 145 slope from its 7,368-yard tips. In February and March, you can play it after noon during the week for $90.

An option with a serious tournament pedigree is Inverrary Country Club’s East course ($35-$70;954-733-7550, in Lauderhill. Host to the PGA Tour’s Jackie Gleason event from 1972 through 1983, forerunner to the current Honda Classic, this 42-year-old Robert Trent Jones Sr. design witnessed winners such as Lee Trevino, Johnny Miller and Jack Nicklaus during its run. Nicklaus’s 1978 victory featured birdies on the final five holes, one of the Golden Bear’s most dramatic regular tour wins.

Finally, if you love sand, you’ll warm to Heron Bay ($85-$105; 954-796-2000, in Coral Springs, which played host to the PGA Tour’s Honda event from 1997 through 2002, back when the course fell under the TPC umbrella. Vijay Singh, Matt Kuchar and Mark Calcavecchia were among the men who won titles here. The conditioning, service and facilities are top-notch, but if you’re allergic to bunker play, find somewhere else.

Hi, Joe
I am headed to Hilton Head in March and was hoping you could give me the best course or two to play there. Thanks.
Grant Ainsley
Alberta, Canada

How much do I love Harbour Town? Let me count the ways. Don’t tell me there’s no strategy because the fairways are flat and narrow. Don’t tell me the greens are too small and plain. I don’t want to hear that it takes too long in the round to encounter the Calibogue Sound. And spare me the withering snipes about its conditioning woes. I just played there again in November and the renewed emphasis on course maintenance has me sold.

A PGA Tour staple since 1969 and a fixture on GOLF Magazine’s Top 100 Courses in the World, Harbour Town ($139-$259; 866-561-8802, is technically part of Sea Pines Plantation, but as a destination, it’s completely on its own. The Pete Dye/Jack Nicklaus collaboration set design on its ear when it debuted more than 40 years ago, and today, it remains an absolute treat.

It’s so refreshing to play a course that calls for supreme thought and precision with every shot. It’s a joy to duel with a layout that demands the ability to work the ball, to show restraint on many occasions, but courage on many others, especially on the glorious quartet of par 3s. This isn’t firm and fast linksy stuff, with gigantic undulating greens, nor is it swing-from-the-heels, 7,800-yard bomb-and-gouge stuff. It’s old-fashioned shotmaking, which can occasionally frustrate the modern driver—and I love it.

A second choice might be Harbour Town’s underrated sibling, Heron Point by Pete Dye ($55-$139; 866-561-8802, I still think it’s hamstrung by some old routing issues, resulting in a few funky holes, but as a test of golf that moves the needle on challenge and aesthetics, it’s a winner.

For a more graceful, even prettier course, try May River at Palmetto Bluff ($175-$260; 866-706-6565, Ostensibly it’s private or resort guests-only, but call ahead and you’ll have a fighting chance to climb aboard. It’s just a gorgeous walk, with beautiful splashes of sand and a couple of holes that edge the May River. It’s easily one of my favorite Jack Nicklaus designs.

Geoff Ogilvy on What Makes a Great Match Play Course
Not long ago, I asked Geoff Ogilvy as to whether there was such a thing as a good match-play course—and if so, what elements go into making a good match play course? Ogilvy, a two-time champion of the WGC-Accenture Match Play event and once a runner-up, is also an astute golf course critic. Here were his typically insightful thoughts.

“I guess there are probably good courses for match play,” said Ogilvy. “Four par 5s that people can get to is a good start. If there are holes that people have to make decisions, it’s going to be a good match play course because there might be a guy who wants to lay it up on a par 5, and if his opponent has pulled a 3-wood and hits it on the green, then he has to go for the green. I mean that sort of stuff—it’s interesting—whereas if it’s just an obvious play, where everybody lays it up and where everybody hits the same shots all day, then it’s not going to create the excitement and the decisions.”

Clearly warming to the topic, Ogilvy continued. “The funnest part of golf is watching us struggle with the decision whether to go over the water or not go over the water—should I go for it or not go for it—then go for it. That’s the funnest part of watching golf, isn’t it? If you’ve got four par 5s that you can reach and two par 4s that you can drive it on, then you’ve got decisions. It’s nice to have a few holes like that. Whenever you have golfers making decisions they don’t want to make, golf is a better game to watch.”

(Photo: Heron Point)

February 10, 2012

Course Spy: The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island

Posted at 6:45 PM by Joe Passov

Kiawah The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Resort
Kiawah Island, S.C.
7,356 yards, par 72
Green fees: $208-$350

What is it you require? An impeccable practice range? Five-star assistance at the bag drop? A helpful, laconic caddie who knows every wrinkle in every green? At this, the highest of high-end resort courses, your every need is attended to with detail.

Pace of Play
Tee times are spread out (10-minute intervals), but the layout is too challenging to whip through at full-throttle. On our visit, no golfers blocked our progress, and we finished in four hours. It may take you more time; don't expect it to take any less.

If you've played other marquee Pete Dye tracks (such as TPC Sawgrass) some shot requirements will ring familiar (the man enjoys his watery, late-round par 3s). Kiawah is set apart by its coastal setting, with the Atlantic lurking and the wetland grasses waving around you.

They ask a healthy price, but you get what you pay for: a pedigree layout in spit-shined shape, in a setting that's the essence of Southern elegance. Bonus points: You get to brave the watery par-3 17th, which made Calc's knees buckle in the pressure-packed climax of the 1991 Ryder Cup.

You need not be an unrepentant trophy hunter to want to add this prey—which will challenge the best at this year's PGA Championship—to your list of kills. No matter your skill level, if you love a tough test and have a sense of golf history, the Ocean Course is a must-play.

(Photo: Kiawah Island Resort)

May 28, 2011

Ask Travelin' Joe: Hazelton, Pa.; Pawleys Island, S.C.; Fort Myers, Fla.

Posted at 9:55 AM by Joe Passov

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

Eaglerock Dear Joe,
We are looking for some excellent golf courses near Hazelton, Pa. We are two couples who have handicaps between 8 and 10 and we like very nice courses. We saw Eagle Rock Resort and we were wondering if that is good and if there are courses nearby that would meet our criteria. We belong to private golf clubs and could possibly get on through reciprocity. We would be traveling by car from New York. Please let us know your thoughts.
Aimee Bieber
Via email

Aptly named Eagle Rock ($45-$75; 570-384-6616, is your best base of operations as it’s very close to the heart of Hazelton, in the Blue Mountains, roughly 50 miles northwest of Allentown. This 11-year-old Arnold Palmer co-design features boulder work throughout, shoring up elevated greens and serving as unyielding, if handsome hazards. Your eagles might fly at round’s end, where the par-4 17th is just 324 yards from the tips and the par-5 18th is 468 yards. There’s another shortish, but challenging nine-holer on the property as well.

It’s only about 40 miles east to the Poconos, where a treasure trove of courses awaits. Jack Frost National ($40-$70; 570-443-2414, is even closer, a 25-mile drive to a ski/golf facility in Blakeslee, not far from the Pocono International Raceway. At 7,256 yards, this Terry Lagree/Mark Brown design features all of the challenge and panoramas you’d expect from mountain golf, but embraces strategy and fairness in equal measures.

Finally, try your private club connections at Huntsville Golf Club ( in Lehman, a few minutes northwest of Wilkes-Barre. This brawny, beautiful Rees Jones design is draped seamlessly atop rolling terrain and overflows with solid, striking holes.

Hey, Joe,
I’m sure you get hundreds of these requests for recommendations a day, so I’d be amazed if I got a response. My wife and I are interested in taking a week-long trip to “somewhere” in early June for some golf, relaxation and to celebrate our anniversary. We don’t mind a bit of a drive from down here in south Georgia. We both want to play quality courses but value a relaxing atmosphere above all else. This trip is not a golf death march, just a few rounds spread over the week. We really don’t want to spend more than $300-$350 a day on golf and lodging. Somewhere with a beach and decent, nearby food would be nice, too. Any recommendations?
Michael Misinco
Byromville, Ga.

Prepare to be amazed! The best all-around value for your requirements is Litchfield Beach and Golf Resort (888-766-4633, in Pawleys Island, S.C., about 30 miles south of Myrtle Beach. Litchfield is right on the beach, with a variety of accommodations, plus on-site golf—with a half-dozen other fine tracks within a mile. In early June, you can reserve a one-bedroom oceanfront suite at Litchfield’s Bridgewater and combine with golf for just what you’re looking to spend. Sure, it’s a 330-mile drive, but what you get is a gorgeous beach, a buffet of terrific, scenic courses, superb nearby dining and plenty of entertaining attractions. You’re also sufficiently removed from the maddening downtown Myrtle Beach crowds.

Among the couples-friendly courses within a mile or two are Litchfield C.C., Tradition Club and Willbrook Plantation, and of course, don’t miss Caledonia Golf & Fish Club, which zigzags through live oaks and edges the Waccamaw River. I can recommend Frank’s for special occasion Lowcountry fare that’s within a half-mile of your hotel. Away from the beach and golf course, check out Brookgreen Gardens, one of the South’s most memorable collections of flora and fauna, and shop locally for two of the state’s most famous exports, rope hammocks and sweetgrass baskets.

If that drive sounds too daunting, try Palmetto Dunes Resort ( on Hilton Head Island, approximately 200 miles from your home. A three-night, three-round golf package, in a 2-bedroom villa, starts at $178 per person, per night, which is pretty close to your $350 daily limit.

Hi Joe,
Me and my buddies are going to Ft. Myers and are looking to play three or four courses in three days. I’ve heard good things about Old Corkscrew and don’t mind the rate but was wondering if you had some other reasonable options. Thanks for the help.
Derek Rochester
Via email

Old Corkscrew (239-949-4700, is indeed your starting point. Situated 25 miles south of Ft. Myers, the Jack Nicklaus-designed Old Corkscrew is a blur of sand, water, wetlands and pines, in an exciting, but exhausting package if you’re spraying it. Stay away from the 7,393-yard tips, (76.1/142) and you’ll enjoy. It’s $100 to play through May 31, $85 beginning June 1—and only $50 starting at 1:40 p.m.

Bargains in the region begin with nearby Stoneybrook ($32-$47 through May 31; 239-948-3933,, a wide but watery 7,314-yard test; Eastwood Golf Course ($25-$30 through May 31; 239-321-7487,, a Devlin-Von Hagge creation that demands precision both from the tee and on approaches, thanks to doglegs, lakes and bunkers at every turn; and Riverwood ($50 in May and June; 941-769-6661,, a Gene Bates design that traverses salt marshes, which is definitely worth the hour-long journey north to Port Charlotte.

(Photo: Courtesy of Eagle Rock Resort)

April 28, 2011

Ask Travelin' Joe: Hilton Head, Scottsdale and The Greenbrier

Posted at 1:04 PM by Joe Passov

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

Seapines Hi Joe,
We subscribe to GOLF Magazine and we have a book called "Golf's Best New Destinations" by Brian McCallen. After looking through that book, I was surprised not to see a course in South Carolina! We are planning a trip in June (hubby, wife, 11-year-old, 3-year-old, 1-year-old and a grandparent). We assumed South Carolina would be the best place in the U.S. to go for an awesome family resort, great beach, amenities, and of course amazing golf! We recently moved from SoCal and are in Ohio now. We figured somewhere on the East Coast would be best to avoid long flights and time changes withy the kids. Can you recommend a destination for us? Thank you!
Christina Mavrakis
Via email

Wow — a lot to cover! First, I have Brian McCallen's excellent book in my own collection. In Brian's defense, he devoted the text to new and emerging destinations, rather than established venues. I would lump South Carolina's prime three golf destinations, Myrtle Beach, Charleston and Hilton Head as "established," rather than new.

A fistful of quality golf and family retreats await as you work your way down the coast. Charleston is one of my favorite cities, and its golf resort offerings, from Kiawah to Wild Dunes, are marvelous — and very family-friendly. That said, I might wait until the kids are a wee bit older so that you can all appreciate the historical, cultural and culinary charms for which Charleston is famous.

As destinations go for families and serious golfers, it's impossible to beat Myrtle Beach for quality and value. There's something for every taste and price range along the Grand Strand — and it's closest to Ohio, so you'll save on travel time as well.

That said, many prefer the more low-key atmosphere of Hilton Head Island. I'm really fond of two plantation resorts, Palmetto Dunes (866-380-1778, and Sea Pines (866-561-8802, As a kid, I vacationed at Sea Pines with my parents, little brother and two little sisters, and we were all smitten. As an adult, I've enjoyed both properties immensely. Both Palmetto Dunes and Sea Pines feature villas which are perfect for your brood, but traditional hotels are available, too. You can understand why the PGA Tour pros are so fond of Sea Pines, where they play the Heritage event. Sea Pines is safe, clean and quiet (except for the rockin' Quarterdeck next to the iconic lighthouse), with terrific beaches, restaurants and family activities from bicycling to horseback riding. Toss in one of the most beautiful, well-respected courses on Tour, Harbour Town, and Sea Pines soars. Palmetto Dunes boasts an all-star lineup as well, including its Robert Trent Jones course, which features one of Hilton Head's only oceanfront holes, as well as a set of kids' tees measuring a sensible 2,625 yards.

Dear Joe,
Eight of us are headed out to Scottsdale this year for our annual Memorial Day Weekend Golf Trip (we usually head to Myrtle). Four days, six rounds. We were thinking the following lineup: Troon North Pinnacle, Grayhawk Talon & Raptor, Southern Dunes and We-Ko-Pa Cholla & Saguaro. Thoughts?
John Creed
Via email

Sensational slate! Bring plenty of sunscreen.

Hi Joe,
I want to say I love your column in GOLF Magazine. My question to you is regarding the Greenbrier Resort. If I have two rounds to play, which of the three courses would you recommend to play? Thanks!
Eli Hassif
Rockville, MD

Take the service and amenities of Manhattan's finest hotels, blend them with equal parts of historic West Virginia and rural mountain charm, then toss in a remarkable golf complex and you have The Greenbrier (800-453-4858, Kudos to native son Jim Justice for bringing back The Greenbrier to the Platinum status it deserves among American resorts.

Without question, start with the Old White course. Newly re-branded as The Old White TPC, this C.B. Macdonald/Seth Raynor classic was restored to its 1914 roots by Lester George in 2006, and proved a retro hit for the PGA Tour in 2010, when Stuart Appleby captured the Greenbrier Classic. From the elevated tee at the 1st, to the tranquil, wooded terrain that greets you thereafter, it's a round of pure pleasure, with many holes patterned after legendary British designs. The Old White TPC may lack modern drama, but it's good fun no matter what your skill level.

Your second choice depends on your playing ability. If you can comfortably handle forced carries on approaches to the greens, definitely do the Greenbrier course. This 1977 Jack Nicklaus redesign played host to the 1979 Ryder Cup and the 1994 Solheim Cup. Narrow, tree-lined fairways and greens perched above the fairway, often protected by bunkers or water, characterize this short layout that seems to play much longer.

If the hard, but handsome Greenbrier course sounds like too much golf to take on, sample the underrated third track at the resort, called the Meadows. Crafted by Dick Wilson in the early 1960s, then redesigned by Bob Cupp in 1999, the Meadows measures a sturdy 6,795 yards from the tips, but is only sloped at 129, with more width and fewer hazards than the other two layouts. Still, it's a legitimate entry in the Greenbrier golf family and starts and finishes at the same clubhouse that serves the other two courses. Meadows lacks the excitement and tournament pedigree of the Old White TPC and Greenbrier spreads, but if your goal is for a relaxing round with lost balls at a minimum, the Meadows is as soothing as it sounds.

(Photo: The Sea Pines Resort)


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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