If you want to ask Travelin' Joe a question, e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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?
Off the beaten path but worth howling about is Wolfdancer (512-308-WOLF, wolfdancergolfclub.com; $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.
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.
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, sedonagolfresort.com; $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, oakcreekcountryclub.com; $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.
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?
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, bardmoorgolf.com; $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, tpctampabay.com; $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.