WHERE: Kansas City, Missouri
WHEN: October 2-4, 2003
WHAT: The cook-off, in which 400 teams compete for more than $65,000 in prizes, is the hook that brings about 100,000 people into town. What they get is a beer garden, several stands selling real K.C. BBQ, cooking demonstrations, name-act concerts and the chance to sign up to be a sauce judge. Visit americanroyalbbq.com for information.
STAY: The Raphael Hotel, an old-world luxury lodging in the Country Club Plaza district, where there's shopping, art galleries and many good restaurants. Call 800-821-5343 or visit raphaelkc.com.
PLAY: Tiffany Greens, a Robert Trent Jones Jr. design that hosted the Champions Tour's TD Waterhouse Championship. A large practice facility and a fine pub in the clubhouse round out the offerings. Greens Fee: $70. Call 816-880-9600 or visit tiffanygreensgolf.com. Country-club-for-a-day Falcon Ridge sports beautiful views, wide fairways and lots of elevation changes. Greens Fees: $62-$73. Call 913-393-4653 or visit falconridgegolf.com. Veteran pro Jim Colbert's designs are known to be tough on good players yet fair to the rest and that holds true for Sycamore Ridge, which mixes links, woodland and parkland holes. Greens Fees: $52-$59. Call 913-592-5292 or visit sycamoreridgegolf.com.