Burger Golf Trail

The burger at Bolero's Restaurant , Seville G&CC , Gilbert AZ ( www.clubcorp.com )

GQ , 2/06

Travel Channel's Hamburger Paradise & Hamburger Paradise 2

Cooking Channel

Golf options and other burger joints added by Fat Guy

[Note:  This page still under construction.]

Fat Guy Notes :  In 2005, GQ writer Alan Richman traveled 23,750 miles and consumed more than 150,000 calories while taking measure of 162 burgers at 94 burger joints across the country.  This is his list of America's best burgers.  (Note:  For some reason he has weird prejudices against most condiments, including ketchup, mustard, and pickles).  Plus Travel Channel's Hamburger Paradise lists, and Fat Guy's Top 5 Burgers On The Planet.

The 20 Hamburgers You Must Eat Before You Die

by Alan Richman, GQ , Feb 2006

20. Hamburger Sandwich, Louis' Lunch
New Haven, CT

The crew numbers two. A young man takes your order and makes change. An elderly woman in elastic-waist slacks makes the toast, forms the patties, broils the meat, assembles the burgers (with a schmear of something like Cheez Whiz, a tomato slice, and raw onion), slices them in half, sets them on the counter. She’s fast, real fast. In a senior-citizen table-tennis tournament, I’d put my money on her. There are no buns, no fries, no ketchup. Louis’ Lunch claims to have made America’s first hamburger sandwich, back in 1900. If it’s true, it was as significant a moment as the discovery of fire.

Alling Memorial GC is the only public golf course actually located within the boundaries of New Haven. Tee times are only accepted for weekend play; it's first-come/first-served during the week. Alling underwent an extensive renovation in 2005, and dollar-for-dollar it's a very good value despite pace of play issues.

19. Our Famous Burger, Sidetrack Bar and Grill
Ypsilanti, MI

Here is one of my core culinary credos: The closer you come to a college campus, the worse burgers get. Sidetrack Bar and Grill—named for its location next to an old railroad siding—is an exception. This modern-looking pub, around since 1850, doesn’t seem concerned with pleasing undiscerning Eastern Michigan University freshmen. “We don’t get much of a young crowd,” my waitress said. The meat, a secret blend, tastes like chuck. The sesame-seed bun is small, soft, and grilled. I recommend a visit to the automobile museum across the street, although they won’t let you play drive-in and eat your burger in a vintage car.

Ypsilanti is a suburb of Ann Arbor, so as a die hard Penn State fan, I guess I'll forgive you for wandering into Wolverine country. Just down the street from the Sidetrack you'll find Eagle Crest Resort and Eastern Michigan University's Eagle Crest Golf Course ( www.eaglecrestresort.com ), a flat, watery Karl Litten design alongside the Huron River.

18. Hamburger, Poag Mahone's Carvery and Ale House
Chicago, IL

The television, tuned to a Cubs game, was so loud I had to scream my order several times, and all I was trying to say was “hamburger.” I know everybody in Chicago is depressed because the Cubs never win. I never realized they were also deaf. I’d be disheartened, too, if I had to eat burgers in Chicago—Poag Mahone’s was the only place I found that did burgers right. Good bakery buns, soft and sweet. Tasty ground sirloin given a nice char on an indoor grill. Even a “Burger Eater’s Bill of Rights.” Poag Mahone’s lived up to most of its promises, although the pickle spear, guaranteed “crisp and cold,” was a tad warm.

This is the Windy City, so there's a decent chance the weather will be inhospitable for golf during your visit to Poag Mahone's.  Weather-proof your golf outing at Play18 Chicago ( www.play18chicago.com ), with indoor simulators, driving bays, pool tables, a full bar and lounge, and valet parking.

17. Double Bacon Deluxe with Cheese, Red Mill Burgers
Seattle, WA

I got up to leave. My friend, a Seattle resident, yanked me back. I’d just finished eating the basic Red Mill Burger, which is an overdone quarter-pound patty with lettuce and a light, spicy mayo dressing that turned the meat white. Just in time, she remembered what she loved: the burger with everything. The American cheese is artfully melted, the thick pepper bacon superb, the soft roll pretty wonderful, the red onion sweet, the lettuce and tomato good enough, and the mayo dressing just right with this pile of ingredients. It’s a first-rate burger, provided you ask for your meat rare. It won’t come rare, but it will be juicy.

You're a bit land-locked in downtown Seattle between Puget Sound and Lake Washington, so it'll be a bit of a drive for quality golf. Take a drive east out into the country for Newcastle GC ( www.newcastlegolf.com ), a gorgeous Bob Cupp design with 36 holes winding through mounds and rocks, great Seattle skyline vistas, and an outstanding 19th hole.

16. Hamburger & Fries, Burger Joint
San Francisco, CA

No place looks less like a joint. It should be renamed the Obsessive-Compulsive Café. It’s neat. It’s scrubbed. The decor is fake ’50s, with overhead Jetsons-style light fixtures plus red vinyl and stainless steel. The burger is so artistically presented it could be Japanese. (Do the Japanese have burger joints?) Neatly set on a stainless-steel plate is a sheet of waxed paper, and atop that rests a deconstructed burger, with a dollop of mayo on the top half of the grilled sesame-seed bun and a burger made from Niman Ranch beef on the bottom half. Lettuce, tomato, red onion, and pickle sit in one orderly pile, fries in another. The people who run the Burger Joint have gotten everything right, except the name.

TPC Harding Park ( www.tpc.com ) is overpriced for non-residents, but this is San Fran, so expect to pay a pretty penny for any round in the area.  The last 6 holes will make it seem almost worth the greens fees, and make sure to bring your camera.

15. Build Your Own Burger, The Counter
Santa Monica, CA

I asked the young girl taking orders if she had ever seen a burger duplicated. “Not really,” she replied. “You think it might happen, and then somebody adds avocado.”

By the owner’s calculations, this spot offers more than 300,000 possibilities. At the minimum, you can ask for a one-third-pound plain burger on a regular bun. At the extreme, you can have, for example, a two-thirds- pound veggie burger topped with herbed-goat-cheese spread, roasted-corn-and- black-bean salsa, hard-boiled egg, and dried cranberries on a honey-wheat bun. At least you can. I wouldn’t.

You're right in the wheelhouse of all the star-laden L.A. country clubs like Riviera and Bel-Air.  Head for Duffy Waldorf's childhood stomping grounds at Rancho Park instead ( www.rpgc.org ) for tiny greens that will be sure to dial in your iron game.

14. Hamburger, J. G. Melon
New York City

“The best burger is the one you want the minute your plane touches down after you’ve been in Europe for three months,” said a friend of mine, an Upper East Sider with the money to do exactly that. “For me, this is the one.” J.G. Melon’s burger is a Manhattan benchmark. The bun is nicely toasted. The meat is juicy but doesn’t drip. The red onion is thinly sliced. Like well-to-do people with manners, the burger is perfectly correct. The bar scene is a bit annoying—too many yuppies on cell phones, reminding one another how well they’re doing—but otherwise democracy prevails: no reservations, no credit cards, no playing favorites.

It's New York City.  Head for the range and indoor simulators at Chelsea Piers , or Dyker Beach GC in Brooklyn.

13. Cheeseburger, White Manna
Hackensack, NJ

The burgers here are small, and when I asked what the record was for the most eaten at one sitting, the grill cook told me that some guy had managed thirty-two. I was awed, not because somebody ate thirty-two burgers of about two ounces each but that this superhero also ate thirty-two potato rolls, and they looked full-size to me. New Jersey is one manly state. It’s also a legendary diner state, boasting some of the best in America. White Manna is a 1930s artifact with a horseshoe-shaped counter that seats twelve. In the middle of the horseshoe stands the grill cook, behaving like a sushi chef, molding, cooking, handing out the burgers. Ask for cheese and onion and the too-big roll fills up amazingly well.

Tee it up at nearby Van Cortland GC ( www.golfnyc.com ), a classic North Jersey experience.

12. Hamburger, Bobcat Bite
Sante Fe, NM

Although Bobcat Bite is famous for its green-chili cheeseburger, its best burger comes unadorned and is a mix of chuck and sirloin, the perfect blend. My admiration for this burger may also have been elevated by the tiny restaurant’s unsurpassed ambience. It stands between the Jemez Mountains and the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, which glow red when reflecting the setting sun. While I was waiting for a table, some kindly locals pointed out the high-desert flora to me. Or maybe it was the fauna. I think one is meat, the other condiments.

Take a bite out of nearby Marty Sanchez Links De Santa Fe ( www.linksdesantafe.com ).  Named after local golf legend Marty Sanchez, the name sounds halway like a joke, but this 7400-yard desert test by Baxter Spann features great vistas, scrub-lined holes, and rolling elevation changes.

11. Grilled Bistro Burger, Bistro Don Giovanni
Napa, CA

Although this supremely cute spot does everything skillfully, I don’t recommend ordering your burger any which way but plain. It’s just too good to dress up with grilled onion or cheese or garlic-mayonnaise. The meat is chuck, and the roll a subdued version of focaccia, which is bread brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with salt. The burger is perfectly cooked on an indoor mesquite grill, and not much food is more delicious than that. Sure, you can charcoal-grill at home, but then you have to worry about famished neighbors climbing over your fence.

You're just down the road from Johnny Miller's revamped Silverado Resort .  Play the North Course for an exacting test.

10. Number Five, Keller's Drive-in
Dallas, TX

The lady in the red Lexus that was parked alongside me leaned out the window and said, “If you come here with a friend who has a convertible, you can sit all night. It’s better than going to a nice restaurant.” Keller’s, out on Northwest Highway, is the best drive-in I’ve ever seen, and I try not to miss many. Flash your lights and out come the carhops, who aren’t dolled up and aren’t on roller skates, although they will call you “sweetie.” They’re also strong enough to lug cases of beer out to waiting cars. (Not many restaurants specialize in beer by the case.)

Keller’s is filled with guys hanging out. They sit on the tailgates of their pickups, feet up on coolers. The burger of choice is the Number Five, made exactly the way hamburgers were back when drive-ins first appeared, about a half-century ago. At $2.38, it’s not priced a whole lot more than it would have been back then. The Number Five includes two beef patties, shredded lettuce, tomato, American cheese, and a Thousand Island–style “special sauce” on a soft grilled poppy-seed role. The meat’s overcooked, but that doesn’t diminish the nostalgia, maybe the best in the burger world. Keller’s even has a galvanized tin roof to protect cars. I suggested to my waitress, Lana, that it probably sounded awfully loud when it rained. “It’s not so bad,” she replied, “but you should hear it when it hails.”

There are 3 Keller's locations in Big D, but head for the Garland Road location to be close to Tennison Park , a legendary old Texas muni.

9. Cheeseburger, Burger Joint, le Parker Meridien Hotel
New York City

This spot is supposed to look like a small-town ’50s burger hangout, but it doesn’t. It looks like a small-town ’50s pizza hangout. (Burger joints had more chrome.) Still, it’s masterfully geeky, with hideous fake-wood paneling. I thought a particularly nice touch was a Christmas wreath in June. The burgers, however they’re ordered, will have you dancing the jitterbug. The day I stopped in, a hotel chef by the name of Rudi—the name was stitched on his fancy chef’s whites—was cooking, and he got them exactly right. The plain burger on an Arnold bun was the essence of classic simplicity. The cheeseburger with the works—tomato, lettuce, onion, pickle, ketchup, mayo, and mustard—was even better, especially when the counterman didn’t overdo the mustard-mayo- ketchup amalgam. (Very few restaurants leave the vital job of accessorizing to customers.) The burger joint has quickly become a Manhattan icon, where persons of all economic stations gather to eat in peace. Or maybe it’s more like a jungle watering hole, where the animals wait until they’ve departed before they start tearing one another apart.

It's New York City. Head for the range and indoor simulators at Chelsea Piers , or Dyker Beach GC in Brooklyn.

8. Hamburger, Miller's Bar
Dearborn, MI

Miller’s is a blockhouse of a bar, gloomy outside and not much better inside. It appears to be a place where people vanish and don’t reappear for days, but locals don’t come here to drink. The day I visited, everybody was bellied up to the bar, eating burgers.

They’re made from ground round, which is lean and usually flavorless. Here it’s been used for burgers since the ’50s, so I was willing to try one, figuring Miller’s might know something I didn’t. I ended up eating three. I ordered the first medium-rare, and it was very good, made from the juiciest round I’ve ever tasted. I ordered the second rare, and it was sensational. The cheeseburger, topped with Velveeta, a variation on American cheese, was darned good, too. When I asked my waitress what made the burger so special, she suggested it might be the well-seasoned grill, which had been replaced only once in the fifteen years she’d worked there. Miller’s has no menu, no tomatoes, no lettuce, no plates, no utensils, and no check—it’s all on the honor system. When I asked the bartender to explain the fortress-like look, he told me with a straight face that cars speeding down Michigan Avenue were always crashing into the building, so the owners decided to make it impregnable.

Just down the road is Dearborn Hills ( www.dearbornhills.com ).  This 1922 Robert Herndon design is reputed to be Michigan's oldest, and it received 3.5 stars from Golf Digest after a major makeover back in the '90's.

7. Buckhorn Burger, Buckhorn
San Antonio, NM

No burger has bigger flavors than the legendary New Mexico green-chili cheeseburger. Basically, it’s too much of everything on a bun: ground beef, green chilies, mustard, tomato, lettuce, chopped onion, and pickle. Such a combination makes no culinary sense, but at Buckhorn, which makes the best green-chili cheeseburgers in a tiny town devoted to little else, the result is spectacularly tasty and eminently coherent. The too strong onions, hot-pungent chilies, and potent mustard all battle to a spectacular draw. The cheese is the binder and the pickle the crunchy refresher, while the lettuce and tomato hang on for dear life and the coarsely ground beef acts as a solid, sensible underpinning.  Buckhorn tavern, which naturally calls its green-chili cheeseburger a Buckhorn Burger, offers a great mouthful of hot, sweet, juicy, chewy flavors. It’s the ultimate in a burger with a burn.

Less than 5 miles away is one of the most visually stunning courses in the country. Head for San Antone's Quarry GC ( www.quarrygolf.com ) for quarry holes unlike anything you've ever seen.

6. California Burger, Houston's
Santa Monica, CA

When you figure how many millions of burgers emerge from chain-restaurant kitchens, it’s not surprising that one of them gets it right. Houston’s, a big, bustling, commercial spot, nails its California Burger.

This burger had no flaws. Zero. The roll: soft and sweet, almost like brioche. The meat: coarsely ground and flavorful. The red onion: mild and crunchy. The cheese: fully melted Monterey Jack. The condiment: a touch of mustard-honey dressing. Avocado and arugula are another great touch. Houston’s California Burger is a rainbow of colors, and it’s comforting, perfect for soothing Santa Monica working stiffs after a hard morning at the macramé shop. And talk about burger engineering. I asked the manager about the sliver of greenery under the burger, and he said it was cabbage, put there to avoid untoward sogginess at the base of the bun.

Tee it up at the nearby Links At Victoria ( www.linksatvictoria.com ), a 1966 William Bell design that got a re-do back in 2001.  It's no joke at 6,800 yards from the tips.

5. Kobe Sliders, Barclay Prime
Philadelphia, PA

A slider is the small and rather grotesque (but nonetheless tasty) burger bagged by the bunch at White Castle. The meat in a genuine slider is square, steam-fried, overdone, and punctured with tiny holes, as though it had been attacked by a vampire. Hamburgers on naval vessels are sometimes called sliders. All in all, sliders aren’t esteemed in the gastronomic firmament.

At Barclay Prime, a new steak house, the small burgers are inexplicably referred to as sliders, but they’re not sliders at all. They’re a mighty three inches tall. Each is made with two ounces of Kobe beef, and they come two to an order, on miniature, exceptionally buttery brioche buns. One is topped with sliced tomato and marinated shallots, the other with caramelized onion and Gruyère. They may be the most succulent burgers in America, and they’re automatically prepared medium-rare. I asked our waiter why a steak house would have a need for sliders, and he replied proudly, “They’re like little protein appetizers. It’s amazing how perfectly they get the palate ready for a big steak.”

Barclay Prime is one of a bevy of high-end steakhouses that exploded onto the Philly restaurant scene after fishhouse institution Bookbinder's faded from glory to tourist trap to distant memory, and Philly morphed from a seafood town to a steakhouse town.  Done by local restaurant maven Stephen Starr, you won't be disappointed.  Tee it up across the river at Scotland Run GC ( ) in Williamstown NJ.  Routed through Jersey pine barrens and a former sand quarry, it's like playing a crazy Golden Tee routing for real, and one of Fat Guy's favorite courses anywhere.  A grin-inducing 18 holes of adventure that will reconnect you with your love of the game.

4. Rouge Burger, Rouge
Philadelphia. PA

The clientele appears to consist primarily of aging men of means, each one accompanied by an Eastern European model/actress. (Who knew that white slavery lived on in stuffy old Philadelphia?) Do these people care that they’re eating the best cheeseburger in America? Rouge is so chic I’m surprised that anybody pays attention to the food. I’m sure they admire the staff, all in black. They probably enjoy sitting outside, right on Rittenhouse Square. Back when I was growing up in the city, outdoor dining didn’t exist.

How is a simple, plump cheeseburger able to compete with all this stylishness? The Rouge Burger does just fine. The aged Gruyère cheese is strong, nutty, and pungent. The caramelized onion is judiciously applied. The bread is toasted brioche. The fries are good. The well-salted sirloin is very lean, so it’s best ordered rare. I could swear the hostess, to stand out from her minions, was wearing pink pajamas, but maybe I was dizzy with pleasure from dining at Rouge and encountering a Philadelphia I never knew.

After burgers at Barclay Prime and Rouge, you'll need to burn off some of those calories.  Head for Glen Mills GC down near the Philly airport.  Designer Bobby Weed likes to leave the rough edges of the natural landscape, and he maxed out the natural features of the hilly boys' school grounds.

3. Not Just a Burger, Spiced Pear Restaurant at the Chanler Hotel
Newport, RI

This burger doesn’t taste like a burger. It’s more in the North Carolina pulled-pork family, even though it’s all Kobe beef. (Kobe beef has a lot of the qualities of pork—it’s soft and sweet.) Chef Richard Hamilton, who has big-time talent, makes the best high-concept burger in America. His roll, which is a bit towering, worried me at first, but it flattened beautifully and didn’t get in the way. The burger, which consists of barbecued Kobe brisket surrounded by chopped Kobe beef, is topped with enormously complex but not overpowering coleslaw and sits on a tomato-onion jam that’s sort of a cross between ketchup and barbecue sauce.

The twelve-ounce creation isn’t so much a juicy burger as a mouthwatering, heart-stopping, wildly rich chopped-beef sandwich every bit as satisfying as the best sandwich you’ve ever eaten down south. It’s a burger breakthrough, and the accompanying garlic-basil-Parmesan potato chips are awe-inspiring.

For upscale, Newport's best course is Newport National's Orchard Course ( www.newportnational.com , $150 prime time, Arthur Hills). A private club vibe and conditions, massive tee boxes, squarish greens, minimalist bunkering, and a uniquely New England links feel, but it's no slouch at a 74.4 rating and 138 slope from the tips. The 200-acre property was a former shrub and tree nursery with sweeping views of the Sakonnet Passage, Atlantic Ocean, and Narragensett Bay.

2. Luger Burger, Peter Luger Steak House
Brooklyn, NY

The legendary Peter Luger is celebrated for its porterhouse, which is buttered, seared, and sliced. But consider this: Its burger (available only at lunch) may be even better than the steak.

At first glance, the roll seems too large, as it is at most steak houses. It isn’t. The half pound of beef, so charred on the outside it appears overcooked, isn’t. The magnificent roll settles beautifully around the succulent, juicy burger, assembled from prime aged-porterhouse trimmings and prime chuck. You can get raw onion. Don’t. It comes with steak sauce. Superfluous. You can have cheese. Unnecessary. There’s a bacon option. Hold on. The bacon, three-eighths-inch thick, slightly blackened, smoky, and chewy-tender, complements the beef the way mustard accents a hot dog. I can never decide: With bacon? Without bacon? Both ways are just right. The fries are among the best in America. One warning: While you’re waiting for your burger to arrive, try not to eat the entire basket of irresistible bread.

It's New York City. Head for the range and indoor simulators at Chelsea Piers , or Dyker Beach GC in Brooklyn.

1. Sirloin Burger, Le Tub
Hollywood, FL

This is a dream of a dump, located on the site of a former Sunoco gas station. Outside there’s assorted porcelain—toilets, sinks, tubs. Most have plants in them, and a lot of the plants look dead. Inside is a pool table, a jukebox, and tables reminiscent of the ones at highway rest stops. The view is magnificent, the Intracoastal Waterway at its broadest and most dramatic. Le Tub doesn’t take credit cards, and it has signs everywhere reinforcing that rule. I’m surprised anybody who eats here qualifies for a credit card.

The menu is big, and the food isn’t bad, except for the Sirloin Burger, which is magnificent. It’s slowly seared on an indoor grill, crusty on the outside, juicy inside, always perfectly cooked. At eight to ten ounces, it’s ideal big-burger size, and it’s shaped like a pincushion, with sloping sides, which means you get a nice gradient of doneness. The bun has a few poppy seeds and looks like a kaiser roll, but it’s smaller and softer. It’s just right for enveloping the meat, which is judiciously seasoned and spiced, mostly with salt and pepper, I suspect. That’s all it needs. No cheese or condiments required.

I don’t understand how this spot came to have the best burger in America, but it does. Regardless of where I am in South Florida, I always make my way here for lunch. I sit at the bar and watch yachts that cost millions drift by, draped with women who cost more, and I think to myself how lucky I am to be at Le Tub.

Play and crash at Hollywood Beach GR ( www.hollywoodbeachgolfresort.com ).  The routing is laden with palm trees and fountained ponds, keeping this resort gem feeling like Old Florida.

Hamburger Paradise 1

Travel Channel

White Castle
Columbus, Ohio

White Castle started the very first fast-food hamburger chain, in 1921. What makes a White Castle hamburger unique? It's all about the holes. Five holes are punched into each patty. Why the holes? They allow each patty to absorb the flavor of the onion placed on top. Best of all, because they are small, White Castle burgers make the perfect on-the-go snack.

The original White Castle was actually located in Witchita KS, though there's no longer a White Castle in all of Kansas.  Head for their corporate headquarters in Columbus OH, and hit any of their 15 locations in town.  Give yourself time to digest that sack of mini-burgers during the drive 45 miles east to Longaberger ($59-$99; 740-763-1100, www.longabergergolfclub.com ) in Nashport, the Arthur Hills design that rates as Ohio's best public course.

All-American Drive-In
Massapequa, New York
Regulars have been eating burgers at the All-American since the drive-in opened in 1963. A burger at the All-American is as classic as it gets -- a simple grilled patty made with the freshest ingredients. Hamburger-craving celebrities, including the Baldwin brothers, Jerry Seinfeld and Brian Setzer, often frequent this popular spot.

You're a mere 6 miles from a public course that's hosted two recent U.S. Opens, so head for Bethpage Black .  See my Bethpage page for how to get on.

Bob's Big Boy
Burbank, California
Bob's Big Boy opened in 1936, when Bob Wian sold his car for $350 and opened up a hamburger stand called Bob's Pantry. Big Boy is the original name for the double-decker burger, but since customers always came back for it, he renamed the stand "Bob's Big Boy." The Bob's Big Boy in Burbank was built in 1949. Ever since then, its iconic big boy in checkered pants stands watch over all customers.

Tee it up at Wilson & Harding courses ( www.golflacity.org ).  Cuz you ain't got no other brothers in 818.

World Famous Ted's Restaurant
Meridian, Connecticut
Ted's Restaurant is home to the steamed burger. Why steam a burger? According to the restaurant's founder, Ted Duberek, the steam cooks each patty evenly, unlike grilling, which only cooks the top and bottom of a burger. Although the steamed burger draws a crowd, folks keep coming back for the local hospitality. Meridian is a friendly, blue-collar town with down-to-earth inhabitants.

Right up the road is Hunter Memorial GC ( www.huntergolfclub.com ), one of best munis in Connecticut, with prime time riding fees under $55.

Half-Moon Restaurant
Kennett Square, Pennsylvania
If you are totally over the beef, try some kangaroo. At Half Moon, you can sample a hamburger from several different kinds of meat. Known for its game burgers, Half Moon has been steaming up meat from non-farm dwelling animals for over eight years. Choose from alligator, wild boar, buffalo, kangaroo and other wild meats, which are imported from farms around the world.

Head down Route 1 South a couple exits to Oxford PA for Wyncote GC .  Inspired by the great courses of the British Isles, this former farm is about as good a "farmland links" as you'll find in the States.

Hermosa Beach, California
Vegetarians and vegans love their burgers just as much as meat-eaters.  Packed with fresh vegetable, bean, rice and soy ingredients, each veggie patty is jam-packed with flavor. Established in 1977, The Spot has been a fixture in the Hermosa Beach community ever since. Who are the biggest customers? According to owner Tonya Beaudet, carnivores come in flocks to sample the veggie burger's unique flavor.

Get more greens at nearby Chester Washington GC ( www.chesterwashington.com , $50).  Par 70, 6273, 69.5, 119, and a finalist for L.A. County Golf Course of the year for 2006.

Pop Burger
New York, New York
If you like your hamburgers hip and ready to party, check out Pop Burger in New York City. It's the ultimate place to grab a bite when the munchies take over at 2 a.m. How did Pop Burger get its name? Everywhere you turn inside the restaurant, you'll see pop art -- from the metal red ceiling to aluminum silver car paint in the billiards room. Each 3-inch patty is grilled to perfection, then topped with lettuce, tomato, cheese and a secret dressing, and served on a brioche bun. Customers like Justin Timberlake and Jay-Z are frequent customers. So, if you want to party like a rock star and eat like one, Pop Burger is the place to be.

Old Homestead Steakhouse
New York, New York
At the oldest steakhouse in Manhattan, you can find the priciest burger around. Each hamburger is made from Kobe beef, the finest hamburger meat you can get. How much for a hamburger? At the Old Homestead, each 20-ounce Kobe beef burger will set you back $41. But don't worry. After one bite, your wallet will forgive you.

It's New York City. Head for the range and indoor simulators at Chelsea Piers , or Dyker Beach GC in Brooklyn.

Hamburger Paradise 2

Travel Channel

The Apple Pan

Apple Pan is a purists paradise that has been a Los Angeles fixture since 1947. Prepare to travel back in time as you take a seat at the U-shaped counter while you sip your soft drink out of a paper cone.

10801 W Pico Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90064

You're right in the wheelhouse of all the star-laden L.A. country clubs like Riviera and Bel-Air. Head for Duffy Waldorf's childhood stomping grounds at Rancho Park instead ( www.rpgc.org ) for tiny greens that will be sure to dial in your iron game.

Casper and Runyon’s Nook

In Minnesota, they’re famous for the “Juicy Lucy,” a cheese-stuffed patty. This joint has reinvented the “Juicy Lucy,” with its “Juicy Nookie” – a burger grilled medium and stuffed with gourmet cheddar and American cheeses.

492 South Hamline Ave
St. Paul, MN 55116

Keep your juicy loosey with some swings at nearby Highland National MGC ( www.golfstpaul.org ).  This classic parkland course is lined with weeping willows, bucolic ponds, and fescue after a 2005 overhaul.  Check out the "Snoopy bunker", in honor of St. Paul's Charles Schulz, who learned to play golf here.

My Brother’s Bar

The jalapeno cream cheese burger has become a cult sensation in Denver, and you can find it on the menu at just about every burger joint in the city. But locals say the best in town are grilled up at the oldest and most eclectic bar in Denver.

2376 15th St
Denver, CO 80202

Head for nearby Common Ground (www.commongroundgc.com), a model of modern public golf. Home of the Colorado Golf Association, the course was designed by Tom Doak's Renaissance Golf Design. A playable layout routed over wide-open plains with mountain backdrops and elevated greens. Wide fairways and no surrounding trees add up to manageable slope ratings, and prime time ride fees are only $65 .

Heart Attack Grill

For those seeking the ultimate burger adventure, there’s the infamous Heart Attack Grill. Located in Sin City, this burger joint takes gluttony to a whole new level, serving up burgers big enough to add 2 pounds to your belly in one sitting!

450 Fremont St
Las Vegas, NV 89101

Keep the gluttony theme going with lush green conditions in the desert at nearby Desert Pines GC ( www.desertpinesgolfclub.com ), made to look like North Carolina with plush fairways, loblolly pines, and greens modeled after the contours at Augusta National.

Skiers, bikers and cowboys flock here for the quirky atmosphere. The wood-paneled walls are darkened by decades of tobacco smoke and adorned with game trophies, including the enormous stuffed head of a 300-pound St. Bernard named Buck.

7350 E 200 South
Huntsville, UT 84317

Experience the grandeur of Utah golf at nearby Wolf Creek GC ( www.wolfcreekgolfutah.com ).  This flat valley course features water in play on 10 holes, and gorgeous vistas of the surrounding mountain range.

Kuma’s Corner

Welcome to Kuma’s Corner, where hamburgers and heavy metal collide. The wait staff is covered in tats, the beer list is a mile long, and the burgers are crazier than Axl Rose.

2900 W Belmont Ave
Chicago, IL 60618

Head for the classic-muni-named Sydney R. Marovitz GC . The good news: Lake views, cheap greens fees. The bad news: 9 holes, bad conditions, glacial pace of play.

Krazy Jim’s Blimpy Burger

As the sign outside says, a Krazy Jim’s Blimpy Burger is cheaper than food! And as far as Michigan students are concerned, the price -- and the burgers -- are just right.

551 S Division St
Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Michigan's football program doesn't need any more cash for recruiting, so avoid UofM's course in favor of nearby Lake Forest GC ( www.lakeforestgc.com ).  The linksy front 9 gives way to a back 9 with more of an "Upper Michigan" parkland feel.

Wild Bubba's Wild Game Grill

They’ll make a burger out of anything that wanders by their hunting blind! We all know that there’s no actual “ham” in hamburger, but at Bubba’s, you can come pretty close with their signature wild boar burger.

13912 FM 812
Del Valle, TX 78617

T&L Golf loves nearby Wolfdancer Golf Club (Cedar Creek, 4-1/2 stars), secluded in pineland a short drive from Austin, and the centerpiece of the Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort and Spa . The course navigates two distinct types of terrain: high meadows above the Colorado River and sleepy pecan groves along its steep muddy banks. The first twelve holes sweep through the open hills, exposed to a frisky Texas breeze that can mean the difference between hitting a six-iron or a sand wedge. From there, the layout plunges into a valley, where errant drives ricochet among the trees. Most of all, Wolfdancer offers something that few other courses so close to an urban area manage to achieve: serenity. The only sound you hear is the wind whishing through the pine needles and pecan leaves.

Per the Cooking Channel, New York's best burger is at Minetta Tavern (Greenwich Village). Minetta has been described as a "Parisian steakhouse meets a classic NYC tavern." Think former Hemmingway hangout, former speakeasy, re-retro-ized decor with gilded gold ceilings, and an invigorated classic menu from new owners in 2008. The Minetta's Black Label burger is $26 (hey, it's New York), but it's a thing to behold. An 8-ounce patty as thick as a Stephen King paperback is hand-formed from ground dry-aged strip steak, short-rib meat, and skirt steak giving the burger a steak-y flavor that would only be spoiled by cheese or condiments. It's then seared on a specially designed extra-hot flat grill and consistently drenched in melted butter during cooking to keep the seared edges soft. It's then rested, the same as a steak should be, to allow the juices and fat to coagulate. Finally it's topped with the sweetest carmalized onions you've ever had, and served on a hearty bun with pommes frites [Fat Guy's no food critic, but I think that's French for French fries]. Oh yeah, they do their steaks with the same butter-laden TLC, and were named the best steakhouse in NYC by no less than the New York Times . A new owner is "breathing fresh life into this late 1930's relic... it's high gloss nostaglia."

It's New York City. Head for the range and indoor simulators at Chelsea Piers , or Dyker Beach GC in Brooklyn.

Fat Guy's Top 5 Burgers On The Planet

5. Gray's Coors Tavern ( 4th Street), Pueblo CO . T he old school bar at Gray's extends the length of the narrow downtown building, with as much character as any good big-city dive bar.  Order a Slopper. Imagine a fried burger bun, piled with anywhere from 2-6 real beef burger patties, topped with melted cheese and Gray's red or spicier green chile sauce, and served in a bowl with a spoon. Per our 300-pound bartender/waiter dude, "Pueblo is a green chile kinda town," so go local and order the green. It's like authentic-Mexican-Hamburger-Helper-on-steriods, and was the best meal I had in Pueblo.  Play: Pueblo West's Walking Stick Course ( ), a flat desert layout with generous fairways wound among a housing complex. It's been a perennial U.S. Open qualifying site, and was the site of the 2006 USGA Women's Amateur Pub Links Championship. Golf Digest rated it 4 stars, and it has been ranked as Colorado's best golfing value (weekend riding fees top out at ~$50).

4. Coney Island Lunch ( www.coneyislandjohnstownpa.com ), Johnstown PA .  This is a homer pick for me, but I can assure you that no burger on the planet goes down better at 3AM after a full shift of boozing than Coney Island's famous Sundowner burger, a grilled cheesburger on a bun and complimented by their famed condiment combo of mustard, Coney Island chili sauce, chopped onions, then topped off with a fried egg.  Play:  My home course, North Fork G&TC .  The bottom nine meanders alongside Stoney Creek, while the top nine is built on the side of a mountain.

3. Baby's Burgers & Shakes ( ), State College PA . Tuck into this pseudo-'50's diner on a hungover Sunday and order the miniature Whimpy's In A Basket with shoestring fries and an hand-made vanilla Coke.  Play: Penn State's Blue Course , a perpetual work in progress under constant improvement by Penn State's renowned Turf Grass Management school.

2. Altoona Curve's Natural Gas Park ( www.altoonacurve.com ), Altoona PA .  Not only is it one of the coolest minor league ballparks in the country (how many parks boast a wooden roller coaster looming right over the right field fence?), but they also serve one of the best burgers in the country.  Play:  Nearby Park Hills is short, hilly, and a bit shoe-horned, but it's fun and only one exit away.

1. Fat Guy's Best Burger On The Planet is served on the sprawling patio of the Magnolia Inn ( ) in Pinehurst NC .  Lean ground beef in a thick patty, perfectly seasoned, grilled to pefection (translation: pink, but no grease drip). Add a slice of cheese and thick-sliced bacon, and it's burger nirvana. Good service too, and an eclectic crowd of locals, landscapers, off-duty servers, blue blood early retirees, and upscale sugar babies. Play: Tobacco Road GC , Sanford NC .  My favorite golf course to go along with my favorite burger.