The Sweet Spot

I can't imagine why, but in thinking about this issue of TRAVEL + LEISURE GOLF it dawned on me that its three cornerstones—Monterey, Machrihanish and McCarron—all begin with "M," the middle (thirteenth) letter of the alphabet. You know: the sweet spot.

A pointless observation?Yes. But what the heck, metaphorically it's not a bad description of the mission of this publication: We look for the sweet spot. We don't attempt to cover everything in golf, just the best of everything in golf.

Take our Monterey story, the ultimate guide to one of golf's ultimate destinations. Read it only if you want to play the best courses, stay at the best lodging and eat at the best restaurants. Don't care about that stuff?Try another magazine.

Never heard of Machrihanish?You will here. Though little known, it is among the most authentic Scottish golf experiences to be found, and after finishing this issue you will include it on your next U.K. itinerary. (If, alas, you're not crossing the pond this year, we've also got a roundup of the best of the season's stateside buddy trips. Not a lineup of cheapo accommodations and second-rate courses, just great deals at places such as Pinehurst and Kiawah Island.)

Finally, take Scott McCarron—take him in your office pool. No, he's not a top-ten player (right now), but he's a fun player with heart and spirit and an interesting story that you haven't heard before. Read this piece and then tell me you're not rooting for him to win the British Open. And take it from me, in an age of pro athletes who look in the mirror and see Madonna staring back at them, McCarron is a genuinely good guy. The day before our photo shoot in Reno, Nevada, his hometown was hit with more than a foot of snow and the temp dove into the teens. But McCarron got out there in a golf shirt and a smile and nary a word of complaint.

The guy is due. Just ask his friend, the author of Golf in the Kingdom—Michael Murphy.

—John Atwood