College football and golf Follow your team bring your clubs
The only thing better than visiting Hawaii is following your football team there.
This holiday season, nearly two million college football fans will follow their favorite team to a bowl game. But while the teams themselves are all business, the fans get to enjoy a few days of fun in the sun. Before you leave don't forget to grab your golf clubs. Here's your guide to where to play golf in each bowl game destination:
New Mexico Bowl, Dec. 18
The Albuquerque area is home to what many call New Mexico’s top golf course, Paa-Ko Ridge, a Ken Dye design set high in the mountains and features loads of elevation changes.
The University of New Mexico Championship Course is a worthy runner-up, also conveniently next the airport if your team gets blown out and you want to make a quick escape out.
R + L Carriers New Orleans Bowl, Dec. 18
Allstate Sugar Bowl, Jan. 4
Current host of the PGA Tour Zurich Classic of New Orleans, TPC Louisiana is a stadium-style, Pete Dye design with plenty of high drama cut through wetlands. And it's a TPC property that offers public tee times.
A more affordable option is Stonebridge Golf Course, a links-inspired, 27-hole course full of water canals and sand traps. For a quick golf fix before football, the most affordable option right in the heart of the city is Audubon Park G.C., an 18-hole executive track.
Beef 'O Brady's St. Petersburg (Fla.) Bowl, Dec. 21
There’s a lot of affordable golf in Tampa and St. Pete, though four-course Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club steals the show with its PGA Tour-adored Copperhead course. All four courses have a sandhills-like terrain over the flatter land surrounding them.
For more affordable but above-par daily fees, try Cove Cay Country Club or Seminole Lake Country Club.
MAACO Las Vegas Bowl, Dec. 22
For luxurious golf that's right on the Strip, tee it up a Bali Hai Golf Club, a Polynesian-themed course full of palms, sand and water. Or if you're a guest of the Wynn resort and have deep pockets, play their Tom Fazio design, Wynn Golf Club, right behind the hotel.
Beyond the Las Vegas Strip, you can play some top desert golf courses, like Rio Secco Golf Club, Badlands Golf Club or Jack Nicklaus' Bear's Best Golf Course.
San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl, Dec. 23
Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl, Dec. 30
San Diego hosts two bowl games, and with such fantastic winter weather, golfers can rejoice. U.S. Open and PGA Tour host Torrey Pines South and North make for one of America's most coveted municipal facilities. If you want muni value but can't get on Torrey, try the area's best value course, Coronado Municipal Golf Course.
Elsewhere, check out The Crossings at Carlsbad, another good San Diego-area value with fees under $110 for non-residents, or splurge at nearby Aviara, part of a Four Seasons resort.
Sheraton Hawaii Bowl, Dec. 24
If you're heading all the way out to Hawaii to catch football action, it'd be ridiculous not to book some tee times on Oahu. Turtle Bay Resort features 36 holes of resort golf, with 18 by Arnold Palmer and a more traditional 18 from George Fazio.
Oahu is also loaded with daily fees. For a mighty test, try one of Hawaii's toughest, Ko'Olau Golf Club, a severe Pete Dye jungle excursion. Or try Royal Kunia, which opened in 2003 on the Leeward Coast and features spectacular backdrops from many holes.
AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl, Dec. 27
Louisiana gaming hotbed Shreveport has a handful of golf courses worthy of a tee time, such as 27-holer Olde Oaks, designed with player consultant Hal Sutton. Or try the semi-private Golf Club at Stonebridge designed by Gene Bates and Fred Couples.
Champ Sports Bowl, Dec. 28
Capital One Bowl, Jan. 1
For luxury resort golf, stay-and-play at Arnold Palmer's home, Bay Hill Club and Lodge. Or for a taste of something new in the Orlando golf scene, try the new Waldorf Astoria Resort and Golf Club.
For more daily-fee type courses, try MetroWest Golf Club or Celebration Golf Club, both Robert Trent Jones family designs. East of Orlando, Harmony Golf Preserve is a big, free-swinging Johnny Miller design run by Troon Golf that is certainly worth the 40-minute drive.
Insight Bowl, Dec. 28
Tempe has its own, more affordable courses worth playing if you're not up for Scottsdale swank, starting with the Arizona State University Karsten Golf Course, a formidable Pete Dye design that's regarded as one of the top ten college golf courses.
Also nearby is a local favorite: Longbow Golf Club in Mesa, recently redesigned by Ken Kavenaugh. Or play Phoenix's historic municipal, Papago Golf Course, near Sky Harbor Airport.
Military Bowl, Dec. 29
If the weather is cooperating this late into winter you can play city-run East Potomac Golf Course, one of the more convenient options located right on the banks of the Potomac. Langston Golf Course, another municipal, is even closer to host RFK Stadium.
A little further away in College Park is the University of Maryland Golf Course, a step up from the city courses and worthy of hosting top collegiate teams.
Texas Bowl, Dec. 29
One of the top golf experiences in town is the PGA Tour Shell Houston Open host, Redstone's Tournament Course. This Rees Jones design opened in 2005.
Houston residents also adore Memorial Park Golf Course, an affordable muni in the heart of the city.
For something between Memorial Park and Redstone, Augusta Pines features a country club feel and top conditions.
Valero Alamo Bowl, Dec. 29
There is plenty of golf to choose from in San Antonio, starting with the brand new 36-hole TPC San Antonio, new host of the Valero Texas Open. The former host, La Cantera, features 36 holes of its own, an entirely different type of Hill Country golf.
For daily-fee options, try The Republic Golf Club or historic Pecan Valley Golf Club. The most historic of them all is revamped municipal gem Brackenridge Park G.C., designed by A.W. Tillinghast.
Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl, Dec. 30
TicketCity Bowl, Jan. 1
If you're in Big D for football, you probably want to play Cowboys Golf Club in Grapevine, a big, luxurious tribute to the team and its fans, opened in 2001. Other top Metroplex golf options include the newly-renovated TPC Four Seasons Las Colinas or Tangle Ridge.
The Old American Golf Club just debuted a brand new Tribute Course, a Golden Age-inspired design by Justin Leonard and Tripp Davis on the shores of Lake Lewisville.
Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl, Dec. 30
You'll find good bang-for-your-buck on the golf course in Music City. Nashville’s top resort golf is at the Hermitage, a former LPGA venue that is home to 36 holes of golf, General's Retreat and President's Reserve. In Springhouse, Gaylord Springs Golf Club is a links-inspired design that follows the Cumberland River.
Locals stick to traditional Nashboro Golf Club in the heart of the city, or Buford Ellington Golf Course at Henry Horton State Park, which plays over 7,000 yards through forest.
Meineke Car Care Bowl, Dec. 31
Public golf in Charlotte is a bit of a letdown compared to so many other great pockets of golf in North Carolina. The new Rock Barn Golf & Spa features a Robert Trent Jones Jr. design that hosts the Champions Tour.
If you've never been this close to the Carolina Sandhills and the golf-loaded, Aberdeen-Village of Pinehurst-Southern Pines triangle, consider a side trip 90 miles east to the area's historic golf mecca.
Hyundai Sun Bowl, Dec. 31
El Paso, Texas
When in west Texas, you can check out one of the great new municipal courses in the country, Butterfield Trail Golf Club, which was designed by Tom Fazio, who sculpted a course out of the natural sand dunes of West Texas and also boasts bentgrass greens.
If Butterfield Trail is booked, try 27-hole Painted Dunes Desert Golf Club, a tournament tested, Ken Dye/Jeff Bauer design that plays over 6,900 yards in any 18-hole combination.
AutoZone Liberty Bowl, Dec. 31
TPC Southwind is the top course in Memphis, but it's also private. Tunica, Miss. however is 40 miles south and is home to hotel and casino excitement, plus golf courses such as Tunica National, River Bend Links and the Links at Cottonwoods.
Chick-Fil-A Bowl Dec. 31
Atlanta is loaded with golf courses, though it can be quite a drive from one side to the other. The city's courses, like the Atlanta Athletic Club, are mostly private, though you can play recently revamped Bobby Jones Golf Club.
Further out in the 'burbs, try former Georgia Tech Club, now Echelon Golf Club, an upscale Rees Jones design on 600 acres. Bear's Best features a collection 18 of Jack Nicklaus' finest holes throughout the world.
Outback Bowl, Jan. 1
Beyond the Innisbrook Resort, try the TPC Tampa Bay, a PGA Tour-worthy Bobby Weed/Chi Chi Rodriguez design that invites public play.
Or, for something truly un-Florida-like, head about an hour north to remote World Woods, home to two Tom Fazio designs, including the highly touted Pine Barrens course, which offers a little slice of Pine Valley.
Gator Bowl, Jan. 1
The First Coast is full of options. From Jacksonville, head a few miles south to TPC Sawgrass. Even if you don't play the famous Stadium Course, the neighboring Valley Course is another Pete Dye design with its own formidable challenges.
You can also swing by the World Golf Village's Hall of Fame in St. Augustine for a history lesson – or play golf at one of two championship courses there, the King & Bear and Slammer & Squire.
Rose Bowl, Dec. 1
Considering how many golf courses there are in SoCal, the Pasadena area doesn't have a lot to offer. Next door to the Rose Bowl is Brookside Golf Club, an historic 36-hole facility, but be sure to call ahead because it closes a day or two before the game to make way for Rose Bowl festivities.
About an hour's drive from the Rose Bowl is scenic Simi Valley, which is home to a few good tracks, including the Pete Dye-designed Lost Canyons.
Discover Orange Bowl, Jan. 3
The obvious option for golf in Miami is five-course Doral Resort & Spa, home of the TPC Blue Monster plus four other courses, including the new Jim McLean Signature Course (formerly called the Silver Course). The Fairmont Turnberry Isle also offers posh accommodations and course conditions on 36 holes just off the beach.
For a top daily-fee option, head to Crandon Park Golf Course, the city's beloved municipal play on Key Biscayne.
GoDaddy.com Bowl, Jan. 6
Down on the Gulf Coast, Mobile is a hotbed for fishing and offers some value-laden courses to play too. Kiva Dunes headlines the bunch, set on sandy land on Mobile Bay. Josting with Kiva for the toast of Mobile is Peninsula Golf & Racquet Club, a 27-hole course with amenities worthy of a private club.
AT&T Cotton Bowl, Jan. 7
With Arlington's location between Fort Worth and Dallas, you have boundless options for golf in the Metroplex, but that's not to say there aren't good options right in Arlington. Spread out over 250 acres, the well-run Tierra Verde Golf Club is the first municipal course to earn Audubon Sanctuary certification.
There are two other, less expensive municipal facilities worth trying in Arlington: Lake Arlington and Chester W. Ditto Golf Course.
BBVA Compass Bowl, Jan. 8
Part of the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, 54-hole Oxmoor Valley Golf Club is a solid mid-priced option near Birmingham. The newest addition to the Trail, Ross Bridge, is a short drive outside the city and boasts an eye-popping 8,100-yard championship tee if you dare.
The best non-Jones course is about a half hour's drive north of the city; Limestone Springs, a Jerry Pate design on 225 scenic acres in the Appalachian Mountains.
Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, Jan. 9
Historic, municipal TPC Harding Park has not only become part of the TPC network, but is shining bright as ever following massive renovations prior to the 2009 Presidents Cup. Also right in the heart of the city is Presidio Golf Course near the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge.
Of course, you're just a two hours drive north of the Monterey Peninsula, or about an hour from oceanside, 36-hole Ritz-Carlton at Half Moon Bay, as well as historic Pasatiempo Golf Club, an Alister Mackenzie design.
Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, Jan. 1
Tostitos BCS National Championship game, Jan. 10
By January, it's prime winter golf season in the Valley of the Sun. Courses are wall-to-wall over-seeded and plush from tee to green.
Though not as loaded as Scottsdale to the east, Glendale in the northwest has a few of its own worthy, less expensive courses near the University of Phoenix Stadium. The Legend at Arrowhead is a traditional-styled Arnold Palmer design with plenty of grass and six lakes. Or for resort golf, stay and play at Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort and play Lookout Mountain Golf Club, a resort-style course with top conditions and water features bordering the Phoenix Mountain Preserve.
Pregnant Lewis playing final events before break
Stacy Lewis will be looking to make the most of her last three starts of 2018 in her annual return to her collegiate roots this week.
Lewis, due to give birth to her first child on Nov. 3, will tee it up in Friday’s start to the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship at Pinnacle Country Club in Rogers, Arkansas. She won the NCAA individual women’s national title in 2007 while playing at the University of Arkansas. She is planning to play the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship next week and then the Marathon Classic two weeks after that before taking the rest of the year off to get ready for her baby’s arrival.
Lewis, 33, said she is beginning to feel the effects of being with child.
“Things have definitely gotten harder, I would say, over the last week or so, the heat of the summer and all that,” Lewis said Tuesday. “I'm actually excited. I'm looking forward to the break and being able to decorate the baby's room and do all that kind of stuff and to be a mom - just super excited.”
Lewis says she is managing her energy levels, but she is eager to compete.
“Taking a few more naps and resting a little bit more,” she said. “Other than that, the game's been pretty good.”
Lewis won the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship in 2014, and she was credited with an unofficial title in ’07, while still a senior at Arkansas. That event was reduced to 18 holes because of multiple rain delays. Lewis is a popular alumni still actively involved with the university.
Just like last year, Spieth in desperate need of a spark
CROMWELL, Conn. – Jordan Spieth has arrived at the Travelers Championship in need of a turnaround. Again.
Spieth’s playoff victory last year over Daniel Berger, complete with a bunker hole-out and raucous celebration, went down as one of the most electrifying moments of 2017. It also propelled Spieth to some more major glory, as he won The Open in his very next start.
So it’s easy to forget the state of Spieth’s game when he first stepped foot on the grounds of TPC River Highlands a year ago. Things were, quite plainly, not going well.
He was struggling on the greens, even going so far as to switch putters at the AT&T Byron Nelson. He then failed to contend at Erin Hills, only netting a T-35 finish thanks to a final-round 69 that came hours before the leaders teed off.
So here we are again, with Spieth in search of a spark after a series of underwhelming performances that included last week’s effort at Shinnecock Hills, where he bogeyed the last two holes of his second round to miss the cut by a shot. Except this time, the climb back to the top may be even steeper than it was a year ago.
“I’m not sure where the state of my game is right now,” Spieth said. “If I strike the ball the way I have been this year, then the results are coming. But the last couple weeks I’ve played Muirfield and then the (U.S.) Open, and I hit the ball really poorly and didn’t give myself that many opportunities to let the putter do the work.”
While many big names play sporadically in the time between the Masters and U.S. Open, Spieth remained as busy as ever thanks to the Tour’s swing through Texas. So even after failing to contend much in the spring outside of a memorable finale in Augusta, and even after struggling for much of his week at TPC Sawgrass, Spieth looked out at his schedule and saw a myriad of possible turning points.
There was the AT&T Byron Nelson, played in his hometown and at a venue on which he was one of only a handful with any experience (T-21). Then a trip across town to Colonial, where he had beaten all but two players in a three-year stretch (T-32).
Throw in the missed cuts at Muirfield Village and Shinnecock Hills, and Spieth has made it to the last leg of a six-event stretch that has included only one off week and, to date, zero chances to contend come Sunday.
“I think here this week, the key for me is just to get out in the first round and try not to do too much,” Spieth said. “I mean, 90-plus percent of the tournaments the last two years I’ve thrown out my chances to win a golf tournament on Thursday. I’ve had too much to do from here on.”
That was certainly the case last week on Long Island, where Spieth’s hopes for a fourth major title evaporated well before course conditions became a focal point over the weekend. He was 4 over through his first two holes and spent much of the next 34 stuck in a fit of frustration. He gave himself a glimmer of hope with four late birdies Friday followed by a pair of bogeys that snuffed it out with equal speed.
Spieth has continued to preach patience throughout the year, but there’s no getting around some eye-popping stats; he's 188th on Tour this year in strokes gained: putting and 93rd in fairways hit. It can foster a pressure to find a cure-all in any given week, especially given how quickly he got a middling summer back on track last year.
“It’s something that you fight, sure,” Spieth said. “It’s been that way just about every tournament except Muirfield, because then you go to the U.S. Open and think you don’t even have to shoot under par to win this golf tournament. So as much as that kind of comes into your head, it’s not bothering me this time. I’m going to try and have fun, and make progress.”
After this week, Spieth will have some down time with family before making the trip overseas to Carnoustie. He plans to have a few private dinners accompanied by the claret jug, one last toast to last year’s success before turning the trophy back over to the R&A.
But even Spieth admitted that as it pertains to his chances to follow in Brooks Koepka’s footsteps by successfully defending a major title, he’ll be greatly aided by working his way into the mix this weekend. It represents the last chance in this early-summer swing to get his name back on the leaderboard, an opportunity to light fire to a pedestrian campaign like he did a year ago.
“It’s your basic stuff that sometimes gets off, that the harder you try to get them back on sometimes, the worse it gets,” Spieth said. “It can be frustrating, or you can just kind of wait for it to come to you. I think I’m OK with where things are, whether it’s the rest of this year or next year. I feel like there are good scores coming.”
Twice winner Kizzire on missing U.S. Open: 'Fuel to my fire'
CROMWELL, Conn. – Based on recent form, there likely wasn’t a more decorated player watching last week’s U.S. Open from home than Patton Kizzire.
Kizzire is in the midst of a breakthrough season that has already included two wins: a maiden victory at the OHL Classic at Mayakoba in November, and a marathon playoff triumph over James Hahn at the Sony Open in January. While those titles got him into the Masters and the PGA Championship, they didn’t mean an exemption to Shinnecock Hills.
Kizzire got as high as 51st in the world rankings after his win in Honolulu, but his game started to turn shortly thereafter. A T-12 finish at the WGC-Mexico Championship is his lone top-25 finish in 12 starts since his Sony victory, and he missed four straight cuts from the Masters to The Players Championship.
The U.S. Open grants exemptions to the top 60 in the world at two different cutoff points close to the tournament. But in the midst of a cold streak, Kizzire was 63rd and 65th at each of those deadlines. He attempted to earn a spot at sectional qualifying in Columbus, only to find that his score of 5 under was one shot too many.
“I guess just adding a little fuel to my fire, adding insult to injury,” Kizzire said. “Just to have narrowly missed several different ways of qualification was disappointing. But I just tried to spin it as a positive. I got two weeks off, and I did watch those guys struggle a little bit. I wasn’t struggling at home, we’ll just say that.”
Kizzire hopes to put the disappointment behind him this week at the Travelers Championship, where he finished T-53 a year ago. And while his pair of trophies didn’t get him a tee time last week – or guarantee him a berth in The Open next month – they put him in prime position to make the season-ending Tour Championship, which would mean spots in the first three majors of 2019.
The combination of two recent wins and a ranking outside the top 60 isn’t one that comes up often on Tour, but Kizzire maintains a balanced perspective as he looks to get back to playing the kind of golf that will ensure he doesn’t miss any more majors in the near future.
“If I would have played better in between the U.S. Open and my last win, I would have gotten in. So my play was the reason I wasn’t in,” Kizzire said. “You certainly could look at it and say, ‘This guy’s got two wins, he should be in.’ But I’m not making too much of it.”
Masters, Players and U.S. Open champs grouped at Travelers
CROMWELL, Conn. – Fresh off a second straight U.S. Open victory, Brooks Koepka is getting right back to work at the Travelers Championship.
Koepka has stood by his commitment to tee it up at TPC River Highlands, becoming the first U.S. Open champ to play the following week on the PGA Tour since Justin Rose played the Travelers after his 2013 win at Merion. Koepka will play the first two rounds alongside Masters champ Patrick Reed and Webb Simpson, who captured The Players Championship last month.
Here’s a look at some of the other marquee, early-round groupings for a star-studded field outside Hartford (all times ET):
7:50 a.m. Thursday, 12:50 p.m. Friday: Jason Day, Xander Schauffele, Daniel Berger
Day is making his second straight Travelers appearance, having missed the cut both last year in Cromwell and last week at Shinnecock Hills. He’ll be joined by reigning Rookie of the Year Schauffele and Berger, who took home ROY honors in 2015 and last year was on the losing end of Jordan Spieth’s playoff dramatics at this event.
8 a.m. Thursday, 1 p.m. Friday: Brooks Koepka, Patrick Reed, Webb Simpson
Koepka is making his third tournament appearance overall, but his first since a T-9 finish in 2016, before he had either of his two U.S. Open trophies. Reed has become a regular at this event and enters off a fourth-place showing on Long Island, while Simpson cruised to victory last month at TPC Sawgrass and tied for 10th last week.
12:50 p.m. Thursday, 7:50 a.m. Friday: Jordan Spieth, Marc Leishman, Russell Knox
This was the tournament that turned things around last year for Spieth, who took home the title in his debut thanks to one of the most dramatic shots of the year in a playoff against Berger. He’ll start his title defense alongside a pair of past champs, as Leishman won here for his first Tour title back in 2012 and Knox was a winner two years ago when the tournament was played in August.
1 p.m. Thursday, 8 a.m. Friday: Bubba Watson, Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas
This group should get plenty of attention in the early rounds, with Thomas entering as the highest-ranked player in the field at No. 2 and joined a pair of players who will launch drives all across TPC River Highlands. Watson has feasted on this layout, winning in both 2010 and 2015 among five top-10 finishes, while McIlroy tied for 17th last year in his tournament debut but missed the cut last week at Shinnecock.