Tee It Up Before Takeoff

So your last meeting got canceled, and you have a free afternoon before your return flight leaves. If you'd rather not shop or kill time in a bar, here are some public courses within striking distance of five leading airports:

ATLANTA (HARTSFIELD-JACKSON INTL.): Nine miles away, Wolf Creek Golf Club offers a stiff challenge among natural splendor ($29 for nine holes with cart; wolfcreek.com).

CHICAGO (O'HARE INTL.): Busy White Pines Golf Club, a municipal course just two miles from the airport, can usually accommodate a single. Or grab a quick lesson with Chuck Lynch, one of the state's top instructors ($29.50 for nine holes with cart, whitepinesgolf.com).

HOUSTON (GEORGE BUSH INTERCONTINENTAL): Play the Tradition, an old-fashioned shotmaker's course that winds through stands of oak, at Cypresswood Golf Club, six miles away ($36-$46 for nine holes with cart, cypresswood.com).

LAS VEGAS (McCARRAN INTL.): Five miles off, the beautifully conditioned Las Vegas National Golf Club is one of the older courses on the strip. The $89 green fee with cart for 18 holes--it has no 9-hole rates--is a relative bargain for the area (lasvegasnational.com).

LOS ANGELES (LAX): Hilly, heavily bunkered Rancho Park Golf Course, a 10-mile drive, is the former site of the PGA Tour's L.A. Open ($38 for nine holes with cart, rpgc.org).

By Dean Foust

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