Southeast BBQ & Golf Crawl
Texas to Alabama
Travel Channel, 2013
Fat Guy Notes : If you've ever watched any of the various barbeque competition shows like BBQ Pitmasters on Destination American network, you'll probably recognize the beefy blond Canadian star of Travel Channel's BBQ Crawl , Danielle Dimovski, better known as Diva Q. The show follows her on a road trip across the American Southeast as she travels the barbecue competition circuit and hits some of the best 'que joints in the country along the way.
As a fat guy and a barbecue aficianado, I really should love this show. I dig seeing the various BBQ stops she hits along the way, but there's just something about miss Diva Q that's a little too 'masculine truck driver' for me. I could care less about her sexual orientation, I'd just rather not have to watch her consciously fighting the urge to lick her fingers after every bite and listen to her talking like Wilbur from down the gas station.
Host critique aside, Danielle does hit some great barbeque stops in her travels, so take a page from her book and turn it into a happy-gut golf trip that'll leave you grinning from mouth to ear. Just be sure to get your clubs re-gripped after you get home... all that BBQ sauce makes everything icky and sticky, and not in a good Lester-Hayes-Stickum kinda way.
Southeast BBQ & Golf Crawl
Golf options Added by Fat Guy
Jukeboxes, smoke-stained walls, barn-board floors … these are the bones of barbecue history. Louie Mueller BBQ is legendary, and the food keeps ‘em coming back after 50 years.
206 W. 2nd St
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. Architect: Arthur Hills, 2006. Yardage: 7,205. Par: 72. Slope: 137. Greens Fees: ~$89-$165. Contact: 575 Hyatt Lost Pines Road, Lost Pines; 512-308-1234, www.lostpines.hyatt.com
Owned by the rebellious grandson of Texas BBQ legend, Louie Mueller, John famously left the family business to break out on his own. His set-up is simple: a trailer, picnic benches and beef ribs and brisket so good people line up around the corner.
2500 E 6th St
Austin, TX 78702
Local Ben Crenshaw likes the old Austin CC, now known as Riverside GC . It's a Perry Maxwell design that Tom Kite and I played a lot growing up, taking lessons from Harvey.
Known as being the oldest BBQ joint in Texas, Southside Market has sausages that are famous all over the world.
1212 U.S. 290
Elgin, TX 78621
Head west for ColoVista Country Club ( www.colovista.com ) in Bastrop, thirty miles east of Austin. It features a pine-draped back nine and a majestic vista of the Colorado River at the par-three fifteenth. [ T&L Golf ]
McClard’s BBQ is a family-owned joint -- 4 generations keeping one heck of a sauce recipe under wraps from prying eyes. It’s BBQ folklore in these parts.
505 Albert Pike Rd
Hot Springs, AR 71913
Family-owned Stubby’s BBQ is a purist BBQ joint -- there isn’t a thing in the restaurant that’s not smoked on the pit! And their “supreme potato” alone is worth the drive.
3024 Central Ave
Hot Springs, AR 71913
Hot Springs Country Club features two 18-hole courses: Arlington and Park. The challenging Arlington course rambles over 6,690 yards of the Ouachita foothills. Built in 1927 by William Diddel and renovated by two-time Masters champion Ben Crenshaw and his partner Bill Coore in 1994, the course features a series of undulating bent grass greens and steep, narrow Bermuda fairways. The Park course was constructed by Willie Parks, Jr. Extensive renovation by Coore and Crenshaw completed in 2008 provided for 6,852 yards of lush fairways, watery challenges and breathtaking vistas of surrounding lakes and mountains.
Danielle is made an honoree “Shed Head” as she hangs out and chases alligators. Then she joins the Shed family for Operation BBQ Rescue as they deliver BBQ to families in need who have been hit by the hurricane.
7501 Mississippi 57
Ocean Springs, MS 39565
From one end of the spectrum to the other, head for the Palace Casino Resort ( www.palacecasinoresort.com ) to play golf, booze, and crash. The Palace's Preserve GC ( www.preservegc.com ) is a Jerry Pate design in great condition, with plenty of water, wetlands and bulkhead greens.
Ubon’s is a tiny joint at the side of the highway in rural fly-swattin’ Mississippi. A father and daughter run it, and they know Danielle from the competition world … in fact, they’ve beaten her a few times!
801 Jerry Clower Blvd
Yazoo City, MS 39194
Yazoo City is halfway between Jackson and Indianola... In other words, it's in the middle of nowhere in eastern Misissippi. So you're gonna have to drive about 40 miles S/SE towards Jackson to tee it up at The Refuge GC ( www.playthefuge.com ), ranked #4 public in the state by Golflink. A thinking man's course routed through water and wetlands, and greens fees under $50.
At Big Bob Gibson’s, a famous Birmingham-based BBQ restaurant, they baste their chickens in a unique mayonnaise-based sauce -- a local favorite.
1715 6th Ave SE
Decatur, AL 35601
Local boy Steward Cink says, "There are two courses that recently opened that are affordable and the newest members of the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail -- The Shoals . One's called Fighting Joe , named after Joseph Wheeler, the only Confederate general to attain the same rank in the post-war U.S. army. It's more of a links-style layout compared to the other course, the Schoolmaster , which was the nickname for President Woodrow Wilson, who helped get the nearby Wilson Dam built. The Schoolmaster works its way through the topography of the Tennessee Valley. Both are big courses, although the yardages from the tips (8,092 and 7,971 yards, respectively) are a little bit of a gimmick. Still, both are very nice."
An institution in Alabama, Bob Sykes is not a chain, it’s just a good old-fashioned joint with a pig sign and a happy man running it. The BBQ pit is the first thing you see when you enter and Van Sykes will tell you all about it if you ask.
1724 9th Ave N
Bessemer, AL 35020
T&L Golf says be sure to buck up for Ross Bridge ($80-$115) outside Birmingham, a newcomer that has quickly become the flagship couse on the RTJ Trail. It was also named as Golf Digest's 2007 #39 Toughest Course in America. "It's what Trent would be building if he were still alive--impossibly long with enormous greens and bunkers." Ross Bridge's bar also made Golf Digest's 2008 Best 19th Holes list: "After playing the 8,191-yard course (one of the world's longest), the hospitality will bring you back from exhaustion; it's 'clean, open and comfy' (fireplace and plasma TVs); 'gotta try the shrimp and grits'; overlooks the resort's pool, 'so try not to stare.' " There's also a nice hotel on-site.