Courses & TravelFebruary 6, 2008

This is an Assignment I Can Handle

You want me to do what? Travel the world and tell Golf Digest readers where to play, where to stay, where to eat and the best way to get there? (Cue the sound of the door hitting me in the travel bag on my way out of the office.)

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I've had the privilege of working for Golf Digest and Golf World for the past six years producing photo shoots as the Director of Photography. I have worked with the best. The best photographers, writers and editors. Oh yeah, and the players themselves. I have found myself picking out shirts in Tiger's house, exchanging e-mails with Annika, hanging out with Sergio in Spain, talking pink with Paula, sitting at Jack's desk and sharing a sandwich with Ernie in his office just outside of London. I was lucky enough to get to play a round of golf with Phil. He's not the only guy I know who goes for the green from the tee on a 325-yard par 4. He's just the only one who hits the first attempt out-of-bounds, re-tees, hits the green and then makes the 20-foot putt. I think I said something like, "Nice par."

I've covered the last 11 Masters, 10 U.S. Opens and every Ryder Cup since 1997. My top five favorite courses are Turnberry, Pebble, Pine Valley, Tralee and Lahinch. My favorite you've never heard of is arguably the toughest 5,900 yard course in America, tucked into the redwoods in Arcata, Calif.--Baywood Golf and Country Club. I've gone there every year since high school to play in a pro-am with my uncles and some of my best friends. The pros are a group you've never heard of and yet they are pros. They make a living playing and/or teaching the game. A good chunk of them can't break 80 at Baywood. Neither can I, but I'll go back every year and keep trying.

The top five courses I haven't played but are on my priority list: Augusta, Cypress, Shinnecock, Sand Hills and the Olympic Club (I'm a Bay Area guy).

Wondering where to go on your next buddies golf trip? Looking for a good place to take your kids? Curious about where you'll find the best values in golf travel today? I'll aim to answer all your questions, and many more, in the pages of Golf Digest* *and on golfdigest.com.

I've been on the road enough to know that travel isn't always easy. If you have a travel frustration, let me know about it and hopefully we can solve the problem. Bug bites, the airline lost your clubs, an expensive course refuses to give a rain check on a day a duck might drown . . . these sorts of problems are what I will be addressing in the monthly feature we call Travel Trouble. Click here to share your travel frustrations.

What I'll be doing is hardly work. A better term might be hustle. I remember getting a trophy one year from a Little League baseball coach. The bottom of the trophy read: Matt Ginella--"Charlie Hustle." I figured that was a courtesy award. Something they come up with because everyone gets a trophy at those awards banquets. Now I'm on your team and I'll be acting as Charlie Hustle on your behalf.

*Matt Ginella

Senior Editor, Travel*

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