Archive for the ‘California’ Category

Sandpiper Golf Course

Sandpiper Golf Course in Santa Barbara, CA

sandpiper golf course hole 12

Sandpiper, the land of dramatic panoramas

The Stats

Tee Time: June 28, 2015, 8:20, 75F, sunny

Designer: William Bell (1972)

Playing Partners: assorted (tournament)

Tees: Gold, Par 72 (72.8 rating/131 slope/6,646 yards)

Course Handicap: 9 (7.7 index)

Stats: 91 (48-43); 34 putts; 6/13 fairways; 3/18 greens; 4 penalty strokes

The Course

Best I recall, there are two spots on the California coast for golf that everyone agrees are the best. Obviously the trio at Pebble Beach and then the south course at Torrey Pines in San Diego. In between, in Santa Barbara, is a coastal course that is worthy of the same praise the others get. Sandpiper Golf Course, just north of Santa Barbara on the 101, features six holes that take you right up to the cliffs or beach of the Pacific Ocean, and another with an approach that fills the viewfinder with pristine blue ocean. Well, once they clean up the oil

sandpiper golf course hole 10

A very pretty, very scary approach at 10

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Poppy Hills Golf Course

Poppy Hills Golf Course in Pebble Beach, CA

poppy hills pebble beach

Me and CJ
*this is actually Pebble Beach, where we ate

The Stats

Tee Time: May 23, 2014, 1:40, 63F, overcast and breezy

Designer: Robert Trent Jones, Jr. (1986)

Playing Partners: CJ Phelan, Andrew and Dave

Tees: 4 Poppies, Par 71 (72.1 rating/132 slope/6,672 yards)

Course Handicap: 10 (8.2 index)

Stats: 98 (39-42); 34 putts; 6/13 fairways; 3/18 greens; 3 penalty strokes

The Course

So I got to go home to the Bay Area for Memorial Day weekend. It just so happened that CJ would be visiting from Utah, so we decided to golf at the prime destination that is Pebble Beach, California. So all week I got to say I was golfing in Pebble Beach, though not at Pebble Beach. All they must have heard was “Pebble Beach”. I actually didn’t realize there were so many golf courses just on 17-Mile Drive: Pebble Beach, Spyglass Hill, Spanish Bay, Poppy Hills and private clubs like Monterey Peninsula and Cypress Point. Not to mention places like Bayonet Black Horse and Pacific Grove just around the corner. This little slice of California is to golf what the Vatican is to religion. With such high demand, though, comes raised prices, especially at the Pebble Beach trio. Luckily, we were able to take advantage of an NCGA member rate at Poppy Hills and walk a freshly redesigned golf course. And I do mean fresh, as after a year-long renovation by original architect Robert Trent Jones, Jr., the place reopened just this past April 4th. Poppy Hills made for the second newly reopened course I’d played in less than a week (the other being Camelback’s Ambiente Course in Scottsdale, which reopened in November 2013). Just walking the course, being secluded among the majestic Monterey Pines that define the central coast of California, is an experience to cherish. The entire layout is as gorgeous as it gets, unfolding around each bend and over every hill with perfect green grass and a photo-worthy look from any angle.

poppy hills hole 10

The most serene view on the golf course from the fairway on #10

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Stanford University Golf Course

Stanford University Golf Course in Stanford, CA

stanford university golf course graig mantle

Jordan and me

 

The Stats

Tee Time: November 29, 2013, 1:00, 66 F, calm

Designer: William Bell and George C. Thomas, Jr. (1930)

Playing Partners: Jordan Stankowski, John and Michael

Tees: White, Par 70 (69.2 rating/122 slope/5,802 yards)

Course Handicap: 9 (8.7 index)

Stats: 87 (41-46); 31 putts; 4/13 fairways; 5/18 greens; 1 penalty stroke

The Course

Stanford University sits on 8,180 acres of the San Francisco Peninsula, making it the sixth largest campus in the country (Cal Poly is 9th at 6,000 acres, so that’s yet another “Top 10” list you can find the Mustangs on). It has 46 miles of roads, over 700 buildings and its own power plant, according to the University fact sheet. There’s also over 14,000 trees, including one rather infamous mascot. But the highlight of the campus has to be the jewel of a golf course opened in 1930 by renowned architect George C. Thomas, Jr. His resume reads like a list of California’s best classic courses, including the country clubs of Bel-Air, Los Angeles and Riviera. Stanford University Golf Course has all the same features that make those legendary tracks in Southern California great, allowing the natural landscape of the Golden State to dictate the shape of the course. What results is a tough test of golf from any tees. Lots of elevated greens, sloped fairways and remember those 14,000 trees? Well it seems like half of those have their roots on the golf course, especially those Titleist-swallowing coastal live oaks.

Stanford University Golf Course hole 12

An impressive shot of the signature 12th hole from the fairway

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The Crossings at Carlsbad

The Crossings at Carlsbad in Carlsbad, CA

crossings at carlsbad carlsbad california clubhouse

The clubhouse

The Stats

Tee Time: May 27, 2013, 10:03, 72 F, breezy

Designer: Greg Nash (2007)

Playing Partners: Ron and Thomas

Tees: Blue, Par 72 (71.0 rating/129 slope/6,467 yards)

Course Handicap: 13 (11.6 index)

Stats: 85 (44-41); 32 putts; 4/14 fairways; 2/18 greens; 2 penalty strokes

crossings at carlsbad carlsbad california hole 9

The short 9th

The Course

Well it only took 8 years of legal battles, but The Crossings at Carlsbad in Carlsbad, California finally opened in 2007. Thanks to fights with environmentalist groups, the designers had to route 5 miles of cart path up, under, down and over the acres of nature preserve that line the golf course. The drive between holes 11 and 12 alone is nearly a mile on its own. The place is named the “Crossings” after the 5 bridges that are scattered about the area, doing their best to avoid disturbing the wetlands, brush and bird habitats that make up the immediate scenery. Even after all the concessions given to the hippies (who probably still aren’t satisfied with the deal, God forbid if just one field mouse gets uprooted…), the city of Carlsbad still put together one fun golf course. All you have to do is drive one street past Legoland for a roller coaster ride crazier than any attraction at the Land of 10,000,000 Blocks. The decision is worth it. Especially because instead of the obese families littering Burger King wrappers, screaming children covered in melted chocolate ice cream and lines for Fun Town, you get a calm atmosphere, views of the Pacific Ocean on the horizon, an ornate clubhouse and a brisk pace of play. Continue reading

TPC Stadium Course at PGA West

TPC Stadium Course in La Quinta, CA

The prettiest hole I’ve played to date, #17 at PGA West

The Stats

Tee Time: September 23, 2012, 10:48, 106 F, Calm

Designer: Pete Dye (1986)

Playing Partners: Matt, Thwan (approximate spelling)

Tees: Championship (73.3 rating/141 slope/6,739 yards)

Course Handicap: 15 (11.6 index)

Stats: 94 (44-50); 27 putts; 7/14 fairways; 2/18 greens; 4 penalty strokes

The Course

The TPC Stadium Course at PGA West in La Quinta, California is a constant member on lists of both the finest and the toughest courses, and deserving of those rankings as well. Spectacular mountain views, pristine lakes and bunkers with sand as perfect and soft as a Park City powder day are present on all 18 holes. Punishing mounds, long carries over water and teeny-tiny greens also characterize every hole at PGA West. It’s a perfect marriage of the two most important aspects to making an excellent golf course: possessing breathtaking scenery while simultaneously providing a challenge of a golfer’s skills with all his clubs. Pete Dye set this track up in a way that tries to hide most of the dangerous spots on the course. Obviously the water is hard to miss, but the undulation of the earth from tee to green plays tricks on you. It masks the bad spots, crosses up your eyes into incorrectly judging distances (which is no fun when you could have sworn that fairway bunker was at least twenty yards shorter than it ended up), and stubbornly refuses to kick rolling golf balls anywhere but off the fairway. I get the feeling that in the days before GPS carts this course really was a bitch. The starter even warned me to pay special attention to the little flatscreen in the cart, as many hidden traps were revealed. Mix in some greens that were half the size of a reasonable putting surface, surround that with bunkers deeper than the Mariana Trench and narrow fringes and now the course has put strain on your iron and short game play. Continue reading