Take Me Out To The Golf Course!
Here's our dome-free, natural-grass-biased rundown of the ten best ballparks in the major leagues, matched with our recommendation of a splendid golf course nearby.
1. Wrigley Field (1914): Home of the Chicago Cubs and on every serious fan's top-three list. Outfield wall ivy. Home-run chasers on Waveland Avenue. Tradition. Cog Hill Golf Club, Dubsdread course 6,940 yards, slope 142; $120; 630-257-5872. Thirty-two miles southwest of Chicago in Lemont, Illinois; consistently among America's top hundred courses; home to the PGA Tour's Advil Western Open.
2. Fenway Park (1912): The Boston Red Sox's home, intimate and quirky. See the majors' oldest park before it's gone. George Wright Golf Course 6,440 yards, slope 129; $25-$28; 617-361-8313. A hilly Donald Ross gem, circa 1938, within ten miles of Fenway.
3. Oriole Park at Camden Yards (1992): Home of the Baltimore Orioles and the first "renaissance" ballpark. Waverly Woods Golf Club 7,024 yards, slope 132; $22-$64; 410-313-9182. Ten miles west in Marriottsville, Maryland. A 1998 Arthur Hills design, almost bunkerless, with fast greens.
4. Coors Field (1995): The Colorado Rockies' home, with mile-high homers and Rockies' sunsets. Riverdale Golf Courses, Dunes course 7,067 yards, slope 129; $31-$33; 303-659-6700. Twenty-five miles north of stadium near Brighton. A linksy, 1985 Pete Dye course that has hosted the Nike Tour.
5. Dodger Stadium (1962): Home of the Los Angeles Dodgers, rich with memories of Koufax, and maybe the best concessions in baseball. Pelican Hill Golf Club, Ocean North course 6,856 yards, slope 133; $175-$270; 949-760-0707. Forty-five miles south of Los Angeles in Orange County. Gorgeous overpriced Tom Fazio job that gazes upon the Pacific.
6. Kauffman Stadium (1973): A purist's delight, home of the Kansas City Royals, without theme-park pools, trains and silliness. Shirkey Golf Club 6,997 yards, slope 139; $25-$30; 816-470-2582. Thirty-two miles northeast of Kansas City in Richmond, Missouri. Zoysia fairways, splendid greens, great value.
7. Yankee Stadium (1923): Home of the New York Yankees, where tradition lives. Spook Rock Golf Course 6,807 yards, slope 127; $52-$67; 845-357-6466. Thirty minutes northwest of Manhattan in Suffern, New York. A classic Westchester-style design with big greens; fits all abilities. Impeccably maintained and often ranked as one of the top public courses in the state.
8. The Ballpark in Arlington (1994): Home of the Texas Rangers, it's a fine retro-style park that sits Oz-like on a hill. Skip the one-hundred-degree summer, though. Texas Star Golf Course 6,936 yards, slope135; $57-$77; 817-685-7888. Eight miles north of the stadium in Euless, Texas. Diverse, difficult holes in a natural prairie setting. This is one of Keith Foster's best.
9. Pacific Bell Park (2000): Home of the San Francisco Giants; most seats provide views of the Bay. Its small capacity makes it wonderful. Presidio Golf Course 6,477 yards, slope 136; $42-$92; 415-561-4653. About ten miles from the stadium in San Francisco. More than a century old, it's hilly, sometimes foggy and often awesome.
10. Turner Field (1997): Home of the Atlanta Braves, it has almost too many non-baseball distractions but is still a great venue. Cobblestone Golf Course 6,759 yards, slope 140; $52-$59; 770-917-5151. Twenty-five miles north of the stadium, in Acworth, Georgia. Best daily-fee course in the area, designed by Ken Dye of Piñon Hills and Paa-Ko Ridge fame.