Most accessible TPC golf course

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Of the 32 facilities in the TPC network, 13 are open to the public. In this edition of Travel Punch Shots, travel editor Erik Peterson and TravelGolf.com senior writer Mike Bailey make their case for the most accessible TPC golf course.

By ERIK PETERSON

When it comes to golf courses, the three elements of accessibility are price, location and busyness. And though all these barriers are important, the most significant is price, which is the main reason why TPC Louisiana should be considered the most accessible of the 13 public facilities in the TPC network.

For most of the year the rate at the TPC Louisiana is $110, which certainly isn’t cheap, but it’s easier to digest considering it’s a Pete Dye-design that hosts the PGA Tour Zurich Classic of New Orleans. Although TPC Myrtle Beach and TPC Tampa Bay are similarly priced, TPC Louisiana has better deals for local, junior, twilight and replay rounds.

As for location, TPC Louisiana is situated 20 minutes south of New Orleans in Annondale. While it’s not exactly the epicenter of golf in America, it’s a short distance from the Louis Armstrong Airport. Not bad.

In terms of how busy it is, TPC Louisiana is easy on the traveling golfer due to its location in a city that’s better known for food-and-drink tourism than golf tourism. Granted, utilizing the earlier part of the course’s 30-day booking window is suggested, but you won’t experience the same hustle and bustle as you'll find at such TPCs as Scottsdale, Blue Monster and Sawgrass.

My final argument for TPC Louisiana’s accessibility is the fact that it’s a stand-alone property, so there’s no need to stay in a hotel in order to get the best rate. Just park your car, walk inside, slap your money on the counter and off you go.

TPC Louisiana isn't my favorite TPC, but there’s no question it’s the most accessible.

By MIKE BAILEY

Among the TPC network, no facility is more golf-centric than TPC Scottsdale. It's right in the middle of golf Mecca, surrounded by at least 100 other golf courses in the immediate vicinity, and nearly 200 in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area.

Along with that comes an endless array of accommodation options, including the TPC's lodging partner, the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, as well as the Xona Resort Suites next door. The Fairmont offers golf packages, but you don't have to stay there to play the course. In fact, you can book the Stadium Course at TPC Scottsdale 90 days out.

And while it costs $300 to play this Jay Morrish/Tom Weiskopf-design course in season, if you're willing to brave the heat, you can get on for a third of that price (or perhaps even less) during the summer months.

Let's face it: It's not cheap to play golf at any of the TPC courses that host PGA Tour events, so nobody should get sticker shock when they plop down $200 or $300 in the golf shop for a round. For most golfers, playing a TPC course is a once- or twice-in-a-lifetime treat, an opportunity to say you walked the same fairways that Phil Mickelson missed, and a chance to be treated like a pro for a day.

TPC Scottsdale is a great example of the above experience, and not only does it have the Stadium Course, but it also has an additional 18 holes, the Randy Heckenkemper-designed Champions Course, which some players find just as enjoyable.

In fact, you can play the Champions Course in season for around $136, much less after June. Put the two of them together, and you have quite the enjoyable 1-2 punch, no matter what time of year you play.