Brandon Tucker

Managing Editor

Brandon Tucker is Managing Editor for Golf Advisor and has been with the TravelGolf network since 2003 when he came onboard as an intern. Today, Tucker oversees the network of sites and also contributes golf and travel articles, photo essays, videos and more. To date, his golf travels have taken him to over two dozen countries and over 500 courses. Brandon graduated from the Indiana University School of Journalism with a minor in music. At IU, he was a columnist for the Indiana Daily Student, a reporter for IUSTV and hosted a radio show on WIUS. Since college, he served as a reporter and photographer for WTXL, an ABC News affiliate in Tallahassee, Fla., and as a producer of onboard television for Norwegian Cruise Lines. Tucker currently lives in Austin, Texas. He's played some great golf courses around the world, but says the northern part of his native Michigan is still his favorite golf spot. Follow him on Twitter @BrandonTucker and on Instagram at BrandonTuckerGC.

  • 4.0 stars from 5

    Jimmy Clay Golf Course
    We played in the pouring rain but conditions held up pretty good. Greens are still pretty firm and fast. Considering Mo Willy's been struggling recently, we'll be playing here and Lions for awhile in ATX. One of those annoying rounds where rain basically cleared off the whole golf course except the slow foursome ahead of us. What can you do. more »

    4.0 stars from 5

    Shingle Creek Golf Club

    "Like the new layout better than the old"

    Based on some news I saw last year, I was under the assumption that Shingle Creek was just moving a few holes during the 2016 renovation, but boy is that wrong. The new layout, done by Arnold Palmer Design and Thad Layton, is totally different, and in my opinion, it's better. The green complexes, all remade or brand new, are a totally different philosophy, with virtually no rough around them, playing more like a Pinehurst or links-style course. The approach shots and short game decision-making is now a strength of the layout, when it used to not be all that remarkable. I'm seeing a few bad reviews lamenting the design changes. It's true this isn't traditional Florida resort golf anymore. My answer is: There's no shortage of that in Orlando, you'll be fine. Tee times at Shingle generally costs less than Waldorf-Ritz-Tranquilo but a little more than Hawk's Landing/Disney World, which I think makes sense, but check stay-and-play packages for good bargains. Conditions are good at the moment but a summer of growth will serve the grounds well, as the majority of the acreage was re-turfed. Definitely put this course on your radar if you're going to be near Universal or the convention center. more »

    5.0 stars from 5

    Austin Country Club

    "Take Dead Aim"

    I finally had the chance to get inside the ropes and play ACC, about two weeks before the WGC Dell Match Play. Having walked the course last year during the event, I was obviously eager to let it fly. What struck me about the round was that while you hear from locals about how it's really difficult, there is actually a nice flow to the routing. After a tougher hole or two, there is a more reasonable birdie opportunity. There are a few short par 4s and all the par 3s are a short iron if you're playing the right tee box. The back nine (which is usually the front for members) is just so good. The little par 3s at 11 & 17 are away from the lake but still tons of eye candy, and the par-5 12th is probably the signature golf experience in Austin if you can get on. It's about as visually stimulating of a golf course as there is, between the many long canyon carries, Dye's bunker and green shaping, gorgeous backdrops, neighboring mansions, the lake and of course, Pennybacker Bridge. It commands your full attention every step of the way. Take Dead Aim. Austin is such a great golf town that it's fitting we have a top pro golf event in town on what many consider the best course around. I hope it sticks around awhile. more »

    4.0 stars from 5

    Giants Ridge Golf & Ski Resort - Quarry Course
    Played both courses back in 2013, just before Golf Advisor was launched. Both are very nice, and it was fun to see the land of Bob Dylan, walleye and giant hockey sticks. Wrote up the trip for more »

    4.0 stars from 5

    Tokatee Golf Club

    "Scenic value course around the bend"

    I played this course on my first trip to Oregon back in 2008 as part of my journey to Bandon Dunes. I ended up staying in the state for a solid two weeks. What stuck out to me was how quickly the landscape can change, and case in point is Tokatee. You're on a valley floor surrounded by mountain scenery, yet you're about an hour due east from Eugene. It's one of my favorite courses to play under $50. more »

    4.0 stars from 5

    La Costa Resort & Spa

    "Zen experience on a rainy day"

    I had this course all to myself on a rainy day this winter, hardly an atypical occasion in SoCal this year, and played pretty dang well despite the fact it was really wet. The course held up pretty well given the circumstances and I actually shot a good number and made some birdies, so my feelings are fond for this course. This course is a classic design on a valley floor framed by hillsides that feels like a PGA Tour-type tournament venue. The back nine is especially good. I like the holes in the back of the property that are framed by tall trees. It doesn't have the up-and-down of Aviara or some of the more spectacular San Diego courses but the more traditional look has its appeal. The service was excellent. The bev cart and halfway house was still operating despite the empty tee sheet. They had to have been bored. But it was a nice touch. Despite the fact it's been so wet, the grounds crew said it will be great for the soil heading into the summer. So plan on the course being in pretty great shape in the warm months. more »

    3.0 stars from 5

    Lions Municipal Golf Course

    "Greens are in great shape right now"

    I've been playing Lions about 1-2 times a month lately. It's been my go-to muni in #atx, largely because it's a confounding layout that I just can't seem to figure out. This was also my first round since covering the Ben Crenshaw restoration proposal last week, so it was a lot of fun, and kind of distracting, to think about the changes to some of the holes. I really hope it happens. Anyways, I was playing with someone from out of town, so I was glad the greens were in such great shape. I was also surprised how green the fairways have gotten in the last two weeks. It's been a wild winter in Austin, and it looks like the grass is coming out of dormancy fairly quickly. I played horrible this morning, but had a wonderful day away from the computer for $24 walking and got around in 3:30 as a three-ball. Had Maudie's Tex-Mex across the street after, and my dog, who came along for the loop, is now passed out in bed, where she'll be the rest of the day. #SaveMuny more »

    5.0 stars from 5

    Jasper Park Lodge Golf Course

    "Can't wait to get back"

    It's been a few years since I played the gem that is JPL. My memories of this course grow fonder by the season, it seems. I favor this Stanley Thompson National Park course over its neighbor, Banff Springs, as it's a routing that just flows so wonderfully. It's the perfect level of difficulty, and the hole variety couldn't be better. I've told people that it may or may not be the best course I've ever played, but there is no course I'd rather play every day, all summer long. Definitely worth the voyage up the Icefields Parkway if you're going to Banff-Canmore. more »

    4.0 stars from 5

    La Costa Resort & Spa

    "More elevation change and hazards than Champions"

    Unlike my rainy round on the Champions course, I caught the Legends on a perfect winter day. I liked this layout a lot. There's a little more roll to the land and some scenic elevated shots on the Legend course compared to the Champions course at Omni La Costa. For this reason, if you're only playing one round, I'd probably steer you towards this one. There is a lot of water and bunkers to deal with though, so bring your A-Game, especially off the tee. There's been a lot of maintenance to the grounds in the last year, and the result is a lot of native areas have been cleaned up and woodchips have replaced high native grass. My ball ended up on woodchips on more than one occasion, so I'm thankful for that, and it's helped the pace of play as well. I've seen some previous comments that complain about the setup of the golf product and it being confusing. It's true that the golf operation is intertwined with the hotel, so the experience is more geared toward hotel stay-and-plays and members vs. daily fee players. Show up a few minutes early for your tee time and you'll be fine. more »