Sunday, December 30, 2018
They say any day on the golf course is better than a day at work. While that is certainly true, there are a few golf courses I played this year that are heads and shoulders above the rest. Courses that I will remember for a very long time. Check out the list and let me know what courses you played this year in the comments!
10. Lake Merced
Of all the private clubs on this list, Lake Merced was one of the most fun all around experiences and if I lived in San Fran, I would join it in a second. The routing is great, the trees and the bay breezes are great. The membership is great. All the course needs is a little TLC and it would be fantastic. Maybe on day if I get all the money, I will definitely get a national membership here, it is that good.
9. Barton Creek- Coore/Crenshaw
This course was a tale of 2 nines. The front side kinda a straightforward resort course. The back side? Totally tubular! Rolling hills, crazy greens, great second shots, the back nine had it all.
8. Austin Golf Club
The first rule about AGC is that you can't talk about AGC. The second rule of AGC is see the first rule.
Wow, this is the last course I played in 2018 and it was a real gem. A classic course from the golden age, it still holds up to today's tests and will give you all you want a more. I was really blown away by this one.
6. Pacific Dunes
The views are outrageous. The architecture challenging and engaging. It is consistently ranked in the top 10 in the US much less the world. Still though, with the wind up this course is a beast. All that beauty and routing aside, if the wind is up good luck to ya as the design elements make it close to unplayable on some holes. Strong like, not love.
5. Bandon Trails
You feel like you are in a completely different universe when visiting Bandon and playing Trails and that is a good thing. C&C do an excellent job creating a lot of variety out of the pines and the 11th hole remains one of my favorite holes they have designed thus far.
4. Pacific Grove
Quite simply, it lived up to its reputation of the poor man's Pebble Beach. For $40 you can get out there and knock it around on the front side and say what's the big deal but whoa doggie, you turn to that back side, and you get all the coastal Monterey golf you can handle. This is beyond a gem and a must play if you are in the area!
3. San Francisco GC
Holes 1-9 are perhaps the best stretch of nine holes in the US. The routing superbly uses the landscape to amazing effect, they are 9 holes that will challenge and delight any golfer and the clubhouse and locker room almost have a patina halo around them. Sadly, the back 9 just doesn't hold up to the front with a lot of parallel holes but still excellent by any measure. Still that opening 9 is strong enough to vault the club to number 3 in the rankings.
2. Bandon Dunes
The best course at Bandon, one of the best courses I have played, this course has it all. Width for errant drivers, visually stunning holes and fun greens. People may say Pacific is tougher but it isn't better. Bandon is divine.
1. Cal Club
After playing this course you could've knocked me over with a feather. It is like someone went to the best sandbelt courses in Australia took them up and placed them in San Francisco. Olympic has the pedigree, San Francisco GC has the mystery but Cal Club has the golf, best course I played in 2018 by far!
Thursday, December 27, 2018
When you think of the classic "golden age" courses in Los Angeles, most golfer's minds are drawn to names like LACC (1911), Riviera (1925), and Bel-Air (1925). However, there is another golden age course built in 1921 that often gets overlooked by many in the LA community but shouldn't. Of course, I am talking about Saticoy.
Designed by William Bell in 1921, this course has all the hallmarks of a golden age SoCal course. The opening tee shot is a severe downhill par 4 (much like Riv and Bel-Air).
The course has plenty of width yet there are trees to keep you honest.
Fantastic bunkering with excellent sand.
and some killer par 3s including a par 3 ninth hole and a crazy downhill par 3 tenth hole. This course screams the golden age and yet I felt it was still very modern. The maintenance staff there has made excellent turf choices and the greens roll true with devilish contours.
As excellent as the front side is, the back side is where the course really shines. What Bel-Air, LACC and The Riv don't give you is stunning views of the surrounding countryside but Saticoy gives you that in spades.
My favorite holes on the back nine had to be start the par 3 13th which leads you up to the high point of the course for the awesomesauce 14th which is a par 5 14th featuring a gorge and gorgeous views!
Couple that with the par 4 15th which has a great tee shot and fantastic green complex
and you have a three hole stretch that I would put up against any in the world.
The course ends on a long, roping par 5 with a crazy blind shot into the green. For my first time playing the course, the lack of yardage markers and a few blind shots made for some questionable decisions on my part but Saticoy is a course that demands you to play it more than once, and more than once I will.
The only knock on the course is that they need to trim the rough down a little bit. Balls hit offline seem to nestle in there and were tough to find but 98% of the rest of the course was top notch!
For more information on Saticoy please check out this link: https://www.thesaticoyclub.com/
Tuesday, December 11, 2018
This is it, an hour jam packed with my favorite courses, my favorite eats, my favorite shoes. Everything golf and everything rattling around in my brain for the last 18 months. It might be an Emergency "9" but I could have done a full 18 with the boys. Have a listen here!
Monday, December 3, 2018
Talking Golf Getaways is hands down THE best travel golf podcast on the interwebs. Darin and Mitch are two great people who know a thing or two about traveling to golf courses and I have listened to all 118 episodes of their podcast thus far.
Not only are they great podcasters but they are great guys and I have been fortunate enough to play golf with them over the last several years.
I am a bit of a golf traveler myself getting around the US on my Coore and Crenshaw quest. Still though, I fan Numero Uno of Rams Hill which is 3.5 hours from Los Angeles and one of my favorite courses ever.
If you want to read my musings on Rams Hill, here is the link
but if you want to hear me babble on like a lunatic...
BE SURE to check out the Rams Hill episode here:
For more information about Rams Hill check out the link: https://www.ramshill.com/