The Country Club at DC Ranch debuts new Nine-Hole Course: Making Golf Fast and Fun
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Melanie Halpert (The Country Club at DC Ranch) …………..(480) 342 -7246 [email protected]
Making Golf Fast and Fun
The Country Club at DC Ranch debuts new Nine-Hole Course
Making Golf Fast and Fun
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (January 2020) In today’s fast paced society, everyone is always looking for ways to squeeze more time into a day. The golf industry has seen a big movement in creating opportunities for golfers to play the game either on a shorter course or in less time than your traditional 4 hours. In keeping with this trend, The Country Club at DC Ranch has introduced two new opportunities to make the game of golf fast and fun.
Introducing the Horseshoe! The Country Club at DC Ranch debuted its a nine-hole, short course this Winter. In continuing with The Club’s brand, the short course was named, The Horseshoe. Featuring nine holes ranging from 54 to 104 yard and designed by Greey/Pickett, this course is perfect for a relaxing, fun, quick round of golf. Great for beginner golfers, wine and dines, family golf, lessons, Juniors, and Seniors; this course is an excellent fit for the diverse Membership at The Country Club at DC Ranch. Making golf more approachable is key. Members are busier than ever and want an opportunity to play even if they do not have 4 hours to commit. This is a perfect fit. Those golfers new to the sport, may be intimidated to play a traditional course. The short course will allow for a fun opportunity to learn and enjoy the game. The Horseshoe features the same tif eagle Bermuda grass putting surface greens like the main course. Fronting these 9 greens, are sand bunkers for a similar look that members would experience on a traditional golf course. Other additions to the Practice Park included: an 8500 square foot practice putting green, an increase practice tee space and a larger short game area with 2 chipping greens and greenside bunkers. This enhanced practice area gives members plenty of space and opportunity to improve their game.
In addition to the Horseshoe, the Club recently presented the Gold Tees to its Membership. The new golf tees play to a yardage of 3969 yards, 1100 yards shorter than the red tees and approximately 3000 yards shorter than the black tees. This new tee is a great option for players of all ages and ability levels including our Junior golfers. The Gold Tee Box, gives members the opportunity to play and get on the green in regulation more often. The Gold Tee is rated at 60.5 with a slope of 98 for men and is rated at 61.6 and a slope of 100 for the women.
In keeping with The Club’s objective in making golf approachable for all levels, The Horseshoe and Gold Tees do just that. The Country Club at DC Ranch continues to be at the forefront of what a modern Club should look and feel like. The Club continues to welcome all players of every level, while still boasting a very competitive opportunity for those with low handicaps.
Genuine, welcoming and warm in spirit, The Country Club at DC Ranch celebrates families and friends coming together to enjoy the best of times in a truly distinctive setting – including golf on DC Ranch’s classic course layout, redesigned by Tom Lehman and John Fought. It is one of the most classically designed courses in the Valley – resulting in a golf experience that is aesthetically more interesting and strategically more challenging.
Poised prominently on a knoll near the McDowell Mountains, The Country Club at DC Ranch’s stunning Ranch Hacienda Clubhouse, combines the most charming aspects of historic Arizona architecture with those of great Western resorts of the 1920’s and 30’s.
By George Fuller and Rich Skyzinski
Why wouldn’t you take the golf clubs to Hawaii?
The average daily high temperature does not vary even 10 degrees at any point of the year, and the golf settings are virtually unlimited. Golfers can play in the spray of the Pacific Ocean, ensconced by dense tropical jungle, in the midst of one of the world’s most cosmopolitan cities or in a desolate nature preserve.
A convenient and satisfying round of golf on Oahu — Hawaii’s most populous island — can be tough to find. If you’re staying in Waikiki, where most all the hotels are located, your closest choice is Ala Wai Golf Course, a busy municipal just blocks from Waikiki Beach, where rounds are sometimes scarce (due to demand) and can take a while to complete. If you’re willing to drive an hour or more, resort courses such as Hawaii Prince and Ko Olina, both in Ewa, or Turtle Bay in North Shore become accessible. More on those later.
MAKAHA RESORT AND GOLF CLUB
William F. Bell was one of the game’s most prolific golf course architects between the 1950s and ’70s. He is credited with designing more than 200 courses in his lifetime — all but one of them in the western half of the continental United States (including 10 in Arizona) or Hawaii.
His first course in Hawaii was the Makaha Resort, which opened in the late 1960s on the other side of the island, away from the hustle and bustle of Waikiki, and immediately was tabbed by Honolulu Magazine as Oahu’s best course.
Others have followed with similar acclaim. Golf Digest has included it on its “best places to play” list and on its roster of the country’s best resort courses.
It’s a good debate as to whether the top draw is its beauty or demanding nature of the course itself. It is rare that wind is not a factor here and the greens are big, well maintained and not without their share of roll. It helps to be a good iron player because many holes are well protected by bunkers or water hazards.
The course starts at the base of a valley, works its way into the mountains and then back down, but there are plenty of gorgeous ocean views.
KO’OLAU GOLF COURSE
You’ve gone to Hawaii to enjoy yourself, but that might be a challenge if you start a round at Ko’olau and you’re unsure you brought enough extra golf balls. One Hawaiian website has a suggestion: You should have as many golf balls with you as your handicap.
Located just a 15- or 20-minute drive from Honolulu, this simply is one of the most demanding courses in the country. Even from the middle set of tees that play to approximately 6,450 yards, this is all the golf course a player could ask for. Don’t be shy; tee it forward.
Great ravines cross many holes, creating several forced carries that, in many cases, make major contributions toward skyrocketing scores.
The course was opened in 1991, built by Dick Nugent from some 1,500 acres of tropical jungle bordering the Koolau Mountain Range, so heavy rainfall is frequent. The views are nearly as outstanding as the finishing hole, which might be high on the list of most difficult 18th holes anywhere. Depending on which set of tees are selected, the drive is over an unforgiving ravine and requires a carry of 170 yards at the least and perhaps up to 240.
TURTLE BAY RESORT (Palmer Course)
This is one of Oahu’s most popular courses, perhaps because the Palmer Course was the site of tour events for both the LPGA and Champions Tour.
The Turtle Bay Championship was played on the Palmer Course seven times between 2001 and ’08; that event was the last in a long run of events that started as the Kaanapali Classic in 1987. The LPGA played five SBS Opens there from 2005-09.
Wind is virtually a constant presence, and because the first nine is somewhat open and rolling, the feel is quite unlike that of a tropical paradise. The second nine is completely different as it winds its way through a virtual forest of pine trees and the Punaho’olapa Marsh, so this is a joy for players who are bird watchers.
The most memorable hole is the 17th green because of all the bunkers that protect the drive zone and the green, which sits a flip wedge from the Pacific Ocean.
Golf Digest also has included Turtle Bay on its annual list of the country’s best resorts.
As an aside, the restaurant at the course, Lei Lei’s, is generally highly regarded among the locals.
KO OLINA GOLF CLUB
All the plaudits should be convincing enough for island visitors to put Ko Olina on their must-play list.
Where to start? Voted best golf course in Hawaii by readers of Honolulu Magazine in 2010; recipient of the Honolulu Advertiser newspaper’s “best of the best” award as Oahu’s top-rated golf course; and included on the Golf Digest list of best new resort courses in the U.S.
If that weren’t enough, the LPGA and Champions Tour previously played events here.
Built on oceanfront property by Ted Robinson and opened in 1990, water comes into play on half the holes and wind is always a factor. Because the winds change depending on the time of the year, one of the most versatile holes is the par-3 eighth. Though it plays to approximately 190 from the middle tees, the shot can be as little as a 7-iron with the wind or a fairway wood if the breeze is stiff and into the player’s face.
Because of the tremendous number of hotel rooms within a few minutes, Ko Olina is a frequent inclusion in golf packages.
ALA WAI GOLF COURSE
This isn’t new or flashy, but there’s no course that’s easier to get to from Waikiki or Honolulu’s prime tourist areas.
For the longest time, Ala Wai had the reputation of being the busiest golf course in the United States, and still today, the county-owned facility is remarkably popular. It was the site of both of the USGA’s public links events; Verne Callison won the first of his two APL titles there in 1960 and Kelly Antolock was the WAPL champion at Ala Wai in 1983.
Perhaps the best part of Ala Wai? It’s the least expensive 18 holes on the island.
Six U.S. Open courses are accessible to the general public
By Art Stricklin
The U.S. Open, America’s national golf championship, is getting a lot more open these days.
Once the exclusive domain of elite private facilities, the U.S. Open went public for the ﬁrst time in 1972 at majestic Pebble Beach Golf Links in California, then again 10 years later, and the trend has only grown larger in recent years.
From 1999 to 2010, the U.S. Open was held at public courses, open in every sense of the word, seven times. It’s scheduled for another four public-course venues the remainder of the decade.
After Pebble Beach in 1992, the public U.S. Open bandwagon rolled to the outskirts of New York City and the pine straw of North Carolina.
The Black Course at Bethpage State Park, less than an hour from the heart of New York City, was the site of a very successful Open in 2002 and, on the heels of that event, was awarded a second Open for ’09.
Pinehurst, the self-styled Capital of American Golf, received its ﬁrst U.S. Open in 1999 and followed with another in 2005. It will be the host site again in 2014, when the men’s and the women’s opens are held in back-to-back weeks for the ﬁrst time ever.
Scenic Southern California public golf icon Torrey Pines, located in the San Diego suburb of La Jolla, was the site of perhaps the most dramatic Open ever in 2008. Tiger Woods, playing on virtually one leg, defeated Rocco Mediate in an exciting extra-day, 18-hole playoff.
In upcoming years, two public-course newcomers will join this list: Chambers Bay, outside of Seattle, in 2015, along with Wisconsin’s Erin Hills in 2017.
Clearly, the U.S. Open Championship never has been more open to anyone who wants to play golf’s national championship battleﬁ eld. Yet, it’s equally clear that Pebble Beach remains the ﬁrst among public course equals.
Since its Open debut, it added national golf championships in 1982, ‘92, 2000 and last year. Pebble Beach also is on the list for its sixth Open when it celebrates its centennial in 2019. The famed oceanside property was called by author Robert Louis Stevenson the greatest ever meeting of land and sea, and without question it is the king of public-access U.S. Open sites.
The choice of Pebble Beach as the most frequent public U.S. Open site has brought near universal praise from one of the toughest groups to please: PGA Tour players.
“As a venue, I don’t think you can get a better venue any place in the world,” said two-time U.S. Open champion Ernie Els.
Added Phil Mickelson: “The course can really bite you. It was a difﬁcult test. It was very difﬁcult in 1992, it was difﬁcult in 2000, it was very difﬁcult (last) year.”
“The ﬁrst time I played here at age 12 or 13, I couldn’t believe how long it was,” recalled Tiger Woods. “As we’ve gone through the years, it’s certainly changed quite a bit with where the fairways used to be, the bunkers, the trees lost, but it’s still a great course.”
The United States Golf Association, which conducts the U.S. Open, certainly agrees.
Since 1972, the Open has been held here ﬁve times with a sixth already set. It’s the greatest repeat performance of any course in America, a ﬁtting tribute to a ﬁtting public showcase.
“This is one of our most treasured U.S. Open sites,” said Thomas O’Toole Jr., the chairman of the USGA’s Championship Committee, which decides where the event is played.
“This decade began with a memorable U.S. Open at Pebble Beach and it will surely end with one when we return to Pebble Beach in 2019,” added Mike Davis, recently named executive director of the USGA. “Pebble Beach is one of the greatest treasures in all of golf and we’re thrilled — for the players and fans worldwide who love major-championship golf — to sign on for ‘The U.S. Open at Pebble Beach – Chapter Six.’ ”
“If I only had one round of golf left to play,” said Jack Nicklaus, who won the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach in 1972 and ﬁnished second to Tom Watson there 10 years later, “I’d want to play it at Pebble Beach.”
Nicklaus also has called the second shot at Pebble’s par-4 eighth, a long iron over a 100-foot high chasm, “the greatest second shot in all of golf.”
Coincidence or not, the Opens at Pebble Beach have produced some of golf’s most memorable shots.
At the 71st hole in 1972, Nicklaus hit a sensational 1-iron tee shot to the par-3 17th. The shot hit the ﬂagstick, leaving Nicklaus with a tap-in birdie.
Ten years later, Tom Watson denied Nicklaus a ﬁfth U.S. Open title when he holed out from gnarly greenside rough at the same 17th hole. Watson added a birdie at the famed par-5 18th for an eventual two-stroke victory, with Arizona’s Dan Pohl ﬁnishing third.
Others to win the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach were Tom Kite in 1992, Tiger Woods with a stunning 15-stroke victory in 2000, and Graeme McDowell last year.
“We are dedicated to upholding the legacy of golf at Pebble Beach and share the passion that golfers around the world have for the golf course,” said Pebble Beach CEO Bill Perocchi. “As a golf course that is open to the public, Pebble Beach Golf Links is able to give every golfer the opportunity to walk in the same footsteps as the greatest players in the game. To celebrate the 100th anniversary of Pebble Beach’s opening by hosting the national championship adds to that experience.”
The 2019 U.S. Open will mark the 12th USGA championship conducted at Pebble Beach since 1929—the ﬁrst coming only 10 years after Samuel F.B. Morse founded Pebble Beach Company and the now famous properties so closely synonymous with USGA championships.
Pinehurst Resort and Country Club, which ﬁrst opened in 1899, has been a host of a wide variety of championship events, from the Ryder Cup to the PGA Championship and North and South Amateur, but didn’t get its ﬁ rst U.S. Open until 1999.
With Payne Stewart’s dramatic ﬁnal hole victory over Phil Mickelson as the church bells sounded over the Sandhills of mid-North Carolina, Pinehurst was an immediate hit.
“When you see and feel Pinehurst, you know it’s something different. It remains a masterpiece, a course so beautifully balanced and testing,” said player and architect Ben Crenshaw, who teamed with partner Bill Coore to restore the No. 2 course to its original Donald Ross design; it reopened in March.
“No. 2 is the ultimate as far as I’m concerned. What they are doing is just fantastic,” added two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange.
The USGA choose Pinehurst for its unique double experiment of having the men’s and women’s opens on back-to-back weeks — a unique idea for a most unique American original.
“We are certainly excited about the project,” said James Hyler, now in his second year as USGA president. “To have Pinehurst in its original state is a meaningful statement, and something we’re really glad to see.”
Bethpage State Park Black course is another unique American original, designed by American golf architect legend A.W. Tillinghast.
The spacious facility once was owned by a local family. Part of it was originally converted to a country club, Lennox Hills, and in the 1930s, the state of New York acquired the land.
To the delight of public course golfers everywhere, they hired Tillinghast to build three new courses (Black, Red and Blue), along with turning Lennox Hills to the public Green layout. Eventually a ﬁfth public course (Yellow) was built in the 1950s.
The Black is considered the toughest and perhaps Tillinghast’s ﬁnest public course work.
Bethpage’s ﬁrst U.S. Open in 2002 was won in dramatic fashion by Woods.
It delighted tens of thousands of New York public-course players, many of whom think nothing of sleeping in their cars overnight in order to get a prime weekend starting time.
Torrey Pines, which has 36 holes (North and South), was built by the father-son partnership of William P. and William F. Bell. It was opened in 1957 and its dramatic oceanside, cliff-top views made it an instant success with Southern California golfers, who could rightfully claim it as a city service they could love.
The 2008 U.S. Open staged at the South Course was the ﬁrst held in Southern California in nearly a half century and the ﬁrst-ever at a city owned course. Woods’s dramatic extra day playoff win and the nearly 50,000 paid spectators each round stamped Torrey Pines as the prime possible site for future public Opens.
Erin Hills and Chambers Bay
Though relatively young — Erin Hills opened in 2006 and Chambers Bay in ’07 — each of the two U.S. Open newcomers has made its share of headlines.
Erin Hills, located about 25 miles northwest of Milwaukee, was built by Wisconsin developer Bob Lang, who funded construction with his own money. The course had its quirks, including an extra hole that could be inserted as part of the course if another hole needed to be shut down. Several architecture changes were made after the course was opened, and eventually, Lang was unable to fund further construction and was forced to sell the property. The course will be the host site of this year’s U.S. Amateur.
Pierce County owns Chambers Bay, which was the site of a sand and gravel quarry. Designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr. and the site of last year’s U.S. Amateur, it opened in June 2007.
There are at least two noteworthy aspects of Chambers Bay: There is only one tree on the entire property, which has some stunning views of Puget Sound, and golf carts are prohibited for all players but those with medical exceptions.
All of these courses should be on an Arizona golfer’s bucket list for two reasons — to play and to watch a U.S. Open.
By Bob Seligman
Most travelers book a cruise and then spend all their time planning what they’re going to do on the ship. But when there’s eight or 10 hours available at a port, that, too, is time that can be put to good use, and what better way to do that than with 18 holes with ocean views?
Many resort golf courses in the Caribbean, Virgin Islands, West Indies and associated areas are catering to the cruise business. Pull into a port, get off the boat, and enjoy a course that more than likely is nothing like what was left behind at home.
Here’s a nine-course primer.
Cap Cana (Punta Espada)
Golfweek rates Punta Espada the No. 1 golf course in the Caribbean and Mexico for 2011, and with good reason. The Jack Nicklaus Signature Course is designed for players of all levels, including those playing the full 7,000-plus yards. Punta Espada incorporates all the features of the topography, including the bluffs, the beach and lagoons. And let’s not forget the eight holes that play along and over the Caribbean. At $375, Punta Espada is pricey, but the views will be memorable.
Teeth of the Dog
Casa de Campo Resort, Dominican Republic
Teeth of the Dog is one of Pete Dye’s most acclaimed works. At more than 7,300 yards, and with a rating/slope of 75.9/145 from the back tees, this is a Dog with plenty of teeth to it. The par 3s are the strength of the course, led by the 176-yard fifth, where the green is tucked behind the Caribbean Sea on the left side and the tee shot has to almost entirely carry sand and water. Green fees: $230 plus 16 percent tax through April 24 and Nov. 1-Dec. 20; $155 plus 16 percent tax April 25-Oct. 31. A mandatory caddie runs $25 per group, paid in cash.
White Witch Golf Course
Ritz-Carlton Golf & Spa Resort, Rose Hall, Jamaica
The White Witch, located on Jamaica’s historic Rose Hill Plantation, has been turned into 200 acres of lush greenery and rolling countryside. Like many Caribbean courses, ocean views are presented on a majority of holes. With a stout course rating of 74.0 and a Slope of 139, White Witch is hardly a walk in the park. Green fees: $175 through May 1, $130 May 2-Dec. 20, $185 the rest of the year.
Mahogany Run Golf Course
At just over 6,000 yards, the George and Tom Fazio’s layout may sound benign, but trouble lurks. For players who make it through the Devil’s Triangle, holes 13-15, without a penalty stroke, the reward is a Certificate of Completion and a poster of the awe-inspiring 14th, which overlooks the Atlantic Ocean. The entire par-70 course was carved out of a mountain, creating several elevation changes and scenic vistas. Green fees: $165 to May 29, $125 May 30 to Sept. 25, $150 Sept. 26 to Dec. 11.
This is a private club, but public access is granted on a limited basis on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays (but not holidays). This is one of the best courses in the Caribbean, designed by C.B. Macdonald in 1921 and later modified in 1953 by Robert Trent Jones Sr. In 2007 and ’08 the course was the site of the PGA Grand Slam of Golf, an annual two-day event featuring the winners of that year’s four professional men’s majors. Green fee: $250 plus cart.
Port Royal Golf Club
Home of the PGA Grand Slam of Golf since 2009, this Robert Trent Jones Sr. design has views of the Atlantic Ocean from almost every hole. One of the great views in golf is from the tee at the par-3 16th, where nothing but the Atlantic spans all 238 yards from tee to green. “It could be the toughest hole I’ve ever played in my life,” said Ernie Els. At 6,842 yards, Port Royal is Bermuda’s longest course. Green fee: $190.
Royal St. Kitts Golf Club
Canadian architect Thomas McBroom’s $16 million renovation in 2004 changed Royal St. Kitts from a weedy layout into an 18-hole championship course hard enough to challenge better players but fair enough to not overwhelm the average golfer. Royal St. Kitts has plenty of risk/ reward elements. Two holes are by the Caribbean Sea and three by the Atlantic Ocean. The scenic 163-yard, par-3 15th, with an elevated tee and a long, narrow green protected by nine bunkers, can be a beauty or a beast, depending if the wind is blowing off the Atlantic. Green fees: $180 November-May; $145 June-October.
Four Seasons Resort
It can be a little tricky getting here as cruise passengers have to dock in St. Kitts, Nevis’s sister island, and then take a 45-minute ferry to Nevis, so know your departure time. The par-71 layout features elevation changes of some 400 feet. Players make their way uphill for most of the first 14 holes before getting the 663- yard, par-5 15th signature hole that plays downhill. Most of the holes are scenic and run along the Caribbean Sea. The green fee is $205.
Black Pearl Golf Course at Pristine Bay
The secret is beginning to get out about Roatan, located about 35 miles off the Honduras coast, and Black Pearl Golf Course. Pete and Perry Dye have combined to create a par-72 beauty of nearly 7,200 yards that has 14 holes with views of the Caribbean Sea and the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, the second largest reef system in the world. The Pearl’s best shining moment may be the 157-yard 11th hole with an elevated tee and an island green ringed by a narrow bunker. Green fee: $200.
Westward Ho: San Diego
by Tod Leonard
Arizonans know all about snowbirds, the warm weather seekers who flock to the state in the winter to escape the frigid climates elsewhere.
In San Diego, there are birds of various feathers all year round. The snowbirds arrive in winter, and in the summer there is a steady caravan of westward-bound Arizona license plates on Interstate 8.
Call them “seagulls.” San Diego is an incredibly popular destination for Arizona residents. About 2.5 million Arizonans visited last year, according to San Diego tourism officials, and they continue to love and inhabit the beaches, parks, tourist attractions and golf courses.
San Diego golf has great appeal because of the relatively good pricing compared to other golf destinations and it also has a large variety of public courses. Not to be underestimated is the ability to play guilt-free with the family as long as other attractions include visits to the San Diego Zoo, Sea World and Legoland.
There are more than 50 public courses in San Diego and nearly all are well maintained, so it’s hard to go wrong regardless of the choice. Courses are like art — in the eye of the beholder — but there also are a few can’t-miss suggestions to try over the course of a visit.
Do as so many Arizonans do and find a hotel or bed and breakfast in Coronado for a base. A semi-island connected to the rest of San Diego by the Coronado Bridge and the Silver Strand, Coronado is a step back in time, with families strolling or biking past the ice cream shops, restaurants and boutiques along its main street, Orange Avenue. Coronado boasts a beach near the historic Hotel Del Coronado that annually ranks among the best in the country. The municipal golf course there falls into similarly lofty category and is a wonderful place to start a vacation and get into the laid-back San Diego vibe.
Opened on the edge of San Diego Bay in 1957, Coronado, flat and very walkable, has a vibrant history and features beautiful scenery at every turn.
The front nine hugs the western edge of the bay and offers pleasant views of the water, bridge and the San Diego skyline. On the back, the red spires of the hotel seem close enough to reach with a 7-iron, and the signature hole is the par-4 16th — a 370-yarder with its entire right side edged by the waters of the Coronado Yacht Club.
It was near the 16th green that a movie crew in 1958 built a temporary dock as Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon filmed “Some Like it Hot.”
Perhaps the most surprising thing about Coronado is its price. It is $30 to walk for all golfers, every day — making it a “2010 Pearls of Value” course by Golf Digest. The quality and value make it a popular place, of course, so for out-of town visitors, the best option is to make a starting time; they’re taken 3-14 days in advance.The cost is $30 per twosome.
Less than 15 minutes from Coronado are the highly acclaimed zoo, the museums of Balboa Park and the shopping and dining in downtown’s Gaslamp Quarter.
The terrain changes dramatically by going from Coronado to the East County hills of Barona Creek Golf Club in Lakeside. In the nearly 10 years since it opened, Barona has become a darling of golfers and architect buffs because of its natural beauty and dramatic styling.There is no course in Southern California remotely like it.
This year, Golfweek tabbed it No. 4 on its list of Best Courses You Can Play in California, behind only Pebble Beach, Spyglass Hill and Pasatiempo. Barona has been the site of numerous top-quality college and pro events, including the 2007 Nationwide Tour Championship.
From the highest point in the course, every hole can be seen, with few structures around, other than the towering hotel and casino on the property.There is just a smattering of oak trees among tall native grasses, which give the layout a links feel that is further confirmed by the super hard and fast fairways and greens. The putting surfaces are enormous and gently undulated, much like a PGA Tour green speed.
The aesthetic is fully completed by more than 100 stark white, jagged-edged bunkers that are the signature of senior architect Todd Eckenrode.
The public rate for Barona is $120 Monday-Friday and $160 on weekends, with further discounts available by signing up for a free Club Barona card.The resort has a full casino, luxury guest rooms, spa and numerous dining options, including a buffet and steakhouse.
There are so many options in various directions.
To the north is the spectacular Mt. Woodson ($45-$65) in Ramona, a boulder strewn, target golf course that is unique and well worth the trip.
On the northern coast are two high-end options: La Costa ($175-$205), the longtime site of professional tournaments, and Park Hyatt Aviara ($215-$235), beloved for its flowers and eucalyptus groves. Both courses are 15 minutes from the Legoland theme park.
Or, driving east on the way out of town, there is a fine option in Santee’s Carlton Oaks ($49-$69), a wonderful Perry Dye design that is arguably the second-hardest course in San Diego behind Torrey South. Carlton Oaks was the site of this year’s NCAA Men’s West Regional.
One option for an entire trip to San Diego is the Sycuan Resort (formerly Singing Hills) in El Cajon.While staying at the full-service resort, with the Sycuan casino nearby, a golfer has access to 117 holes within a 10-minute drive.
Sycuan has 54 tree-lined holes — championship courses Oak Glen and Willow Glen ($57-$79 with cart) and the executive Pine Glen ($19-$26). The courses, longtime sites of the Junior World Championships, are impeccably maintained and accented with old-growth trees and flowers.
Down the street are 27 holes at Steele Canyon ($59-$139), which features dramatic elevation changes, and 36 holes at Cottonwood ($35-$59), an old-school course that is casual and fun.
It’s back to the coast and San Diego’s most famous courses, the North and South at Torrey Pines.
The complex already was well-known for hosting the PGA Tour for more than 40 years, but it took on a different aura after the South’s staging in 2008 of one of the greatest U.S. Opens in history — Tiger Woods’s playoff victory over Rocco Mediate.
One might think it’s impossible to get on Torrey Pines now, but the slumping economy and continued rise in green fees instituted by the city have made it more accessible than ever. Weekdays at midmorning are especially fruitful, with twosomes able to walk up with very little waiting time.
Torrey Pines is not the bargain it used to be. Non-residents pay $183 to walk the South on weekdays and $229 on weekends; the North is $100 and $125. To secure a reservation in advance, the fee is $43 per person for either course.
Ironically, the U.S. Open course is easier to get on because of the price. And if the South is not a “must-play” experience, the shorter and more forgiving North can be far more playable and enjoyable. In addition, the beach and hang gliders can be seen just as well.
Downtown La Jolla, meanwhile, with swanky shops and restaurants, is just minutes from Torrey Pines, as is the Birch Aquarium.