Thursday, August 20, 2015

Golfing River Course at Alisal Review

When you think of courses in California, you think of the ones at the ends of the state. The beautiful tracks on the Monterey Peninsula and the awesome desert courses in SoCal. The middle of the state doesn't get as much love but hopefully that will change with more people discovering courses like the River Course at Alisal.

While you would think there is more than one course given the name, there is but one and the one course is a beautiful, minimalistic track with oak trees strategically placed and hard as a rock greens which makes shot placement and links-style golf a premium. So many times on this course you had to play for a 20 yard roll out on the green.

The course was pretty baked on the edges due to the ongoing drought

but it was green where it counts and the fairways were in great shape.

The greens didn't just inspire links-style golf but so did the wind. The wind was howling that day, with half the holes going into the wind and half with it.

Want to see how windy it was? Check it out!

The thing about playing in SoCal is that there is rarely any weather so it comes up and knocks you in the face its fun to try out your game against it.

My favorite hole was the number one handicap hole on the course (the hardest) and it was INTO the wind.

This thing was a brute! I hit driver, 3 iron, sand wedge and had a putt for par but blew it. It would have been one of my toughest pars I ever made but the fact that I was close was gratifying.

The course has cool, hidden water features and while it is straightforward in some ways, I bet playing this course two or three times you can really dial in all of the cool little quirks of the place.

Overall this was a fun course, albeit just too far from Los Angeles to justify the 2 plus hour trip. Still, if you are in Solvang or the Santa Barbara area, you should check it out!

More Info Here:

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

ReGripped's Quest To Play Cypress Point Day 1

This is one of several posts about my attempts to play the ultimate course, the Cypress Point Club. If you have any tips for me or want to invite me to play (!!!) please email me at I promise total discretion for anyone who helps. Thanks! 

I have been posting a lot recently about lifelong bucket lists. Coore Crenshaw courses I want to play and a top 10, drop everything and play it list. The number one course on that list is Cypress Point Club and its number one by a mile.

Why do I want to play this course over any other course in the entire world?

1) 18 world class holes.
2) 4 holes along the water in THE best stretch of golf on the planet.
3) The club has approximately 250 members and is ultra private which means if you play it, you have won the lifetime golf lottery.
4) The best par 3 on the planet.

Suffice to say, I am in love with this course. This year I have wanted to up my game and play great courses and have resolved in my mind that not only do I want to play great courses but I want to play the BEST.

So, CPC is the BEST but it is ultra private, what am I to do? about trying to play it of course! There are lots of blogs that tell you about playing but I will try and take you through my journey of TRYING to playing the course (certainly no revealing names, etc. just the process I use).

My first inclination is to plead my case directly to the pros at Cypress Point. I am going to write them personal letters and ask them periodically if I can play.

Secondly I have joined Golf Odyssey, a subscription travel golf newsletter that also promises to send you tips on playing private courses. I will be trying their tips as soon as I receive them and will let you know the results and also review the site.

As we go along, I will also be writing about all things CPC, about books (for example, Geoff's Shackelford's quintessential book) and other minutiae about Cypress Point and why its so special. Day 1, it begins! Stay tuned!

Random Cypress Review Link:

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Golfing Monarch Beach Review

Orange County and San Diego County have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to ocean courses. The most famous of which is Torrey Pines but right there is Pelican Hill and Monarch Beach Golf Links. MBGL is part of the St. Regis resort and the price-tag reflects that relationship and the location of the course right next to the ocean. I was fortunate enough to play the course recently and of course you know I had to blog about!

MBGL is really a tale of two 9s. The front 9 has ocean views on almost every hole. The back 9 winds it way through the expensive houses of Dana Point with a very resort course feel. Both 9s are in amazing shape, green with rather confusingly-spongy fairways but the ball always sits up. The greens on both 9s are in fantastic shape, they roll fast and true and will hold shots like a pro green.

Front 9:

The front 9 is all about water. Ocean views, lakes, streams, the front 9 is H20 and I loved it! The first two holes are straightforward par 4's. Left or right off the fairway may find you in a bunker (or in the water) but this is just all prelude to the real superstar of MBGL, the par 4 3rd hole.

Tee Shot:

The hole is only 288 and so you are hitting 5 wood or less off the tee, all the while trying not to be distracted by the ocean. You are generally supposed to play a hole in 15 minutes but I think you would be forgiven playing this hole in 45 or so ;).


The fairway is narrow but there bailout areas in the right and up to the left. You should hopefully have about 80 or less into the hole for the second shot and the green is two tiered so knowing where the pin is placed is crucial.


Well, it would be crucial if you cared at all about making a score on the hole versus just checking out the dolphins in the ocean. Really, you can't say enough about this hole.

The rest of the front 9 is solid including a very weird but enjoyable par 5 that crosses a willow bedecked stream twice on its way to the hole.

Back 9:

After the amazing front side, the back side just couldn't compete was still a nice resort-y course on the back side. Per the typical Southern California design mantra, all the par three's were framed by water which is always a nice touch.

One word about the bunkers.

The sand is in immaculate shape here but heavy. One bunker I was in felt like the beach, amazing depth of sand! You will be able to do get shots out and the sand is some of the best in SoCal no doubt!

Overall I enjoyed my day at MBGL. I felt very relaxed, helped no doubt by the sea air and the views. The staff were all top notch and really made for a great experience. The greens and sea views were fantastic, especially on the front side. I just wish the course would lower its rates a bit as the price means this track is only "once in a great while" for yours truly. Also, if I ruled the world, I would flip the 9s, start you off amongst the houses and wow you on the back so someone elect me president will ya?

For more info on Monarch Beach, check it out here: