Category: California


February 05, 2014

Can't afford to play the Pebble Pro-Am? Here's five affordable seaside spreads

Posted at 9:33 AM by Pete Madden

By JOE PASSOV, Golf Magazine Senior Editor

Pacific Grove Golf Links
Pacific Grove Golf Links / Joann Dost

 

PACIFIC GROVE GOLF LINKS, Pacific Grove, Calif.

Locals call this 82-year-old muni the "poor man's Pebble Beach" for good reason. Instead of Pebble's $500 green fees, hoofing it weekdays at the walkable layout is $46, $52 on weekends and $25 for twilight. You get two distinct nines: a passable parklander to open, followed by a stirring seaside loop, complete with huge sand dunes, ocean views, coastal breezes and a lighthouse. My favorite is the 513-yard, par-5 12th, which boomerangs to the right around dunes. It's reachable in two, but a rumpled fairway, stern crosswinds and the ocean to the left complicate matters.

WAILUA MUNICIPAL GOLF COURSE, Kauai, Hawaii

Three times the host venue for the U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship, this busy muni doesn't boast the most sophisticated design, yet it proved a worthy test on each occasion. Gusts from the adjacent Pacific, trees that bracket many fairways, and a healthy 6,991 yards from the tips all add up to a serious scoring challenge for any level. What truly elevates Wailua are its wondrous ocean vistas and affordable price tag. It's just $48 for nonresidents to walk during the week, and half that for twilight play. Local seniors and juniors pay less than 10 bucks, all to tackle holes such as the 456-yard, par-4 second, the Pacific churning along the left side; and a pair of into-the-wind, well-bunkered par 3s, the 14th and 17th, both of which face the ocean.

Highland Links Golf Course
Highland Links Golf Course / Larry Lambrecht

 

HIGHLAND LINKS GOLF COURSE, Truro, Mass.

This funky 2,753-yard nine-holer on Cape Cod has so many delightful quirks it makes Prestwick look tame. Summer rates will set you back only $35, another $9 to ride. It's a small price to pay for fescue-framed holes that dip into beach canyons. Unforgettable attractions abound. The par-5 second sports a medieval granite tower honoring nineteenth-century singer Jenny Lind. And the par-3 ninth is backdropped by Cape Cod Lighthouse; dating to 1767, it's the oldest lighthouse on the Cape.

LOS VERDES GOLF COURSE, Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif.

A few years back I lambasted this superbly situated muni for my nearly four-hour round -- on the front nine! Since then, the pace remains leisurely but not as glacial. No wonder it's packed; green fees are under $50 every day, even if you're in a cart, with prime-time walkers during the week paying $27 for a course that's a half-hour from LAX. Los Verdes' 6,617 breezy yards prove a sufficient challenge, especially the bluff-top, 441-yard, par-4 fourth. That hole, along with many others, offers sensational views of the Pacific Ocean. Hey, everyone deserves a second chance, right?

PALM BEACH PAR-3 GOLF COURSE, Palm Beach, Fla.

In 2009, Raymond Floyd supersized this 1961 Dick Wilson/Joe Lee 18-hole par-3 charmer, making it tougher and more dramatic. As for sheer drama, nature had already taken care of that. Long a popular LPGA Pro-Am venue, nearly half of Palm Beach's holes hug the Atlantic Ocean, while the other half wind along the Intracoastal Waterway. It's a blur of sand, water and wind, but with seasonal prices as low as $20 -- and with Golf Magazine Top 100 Teachers Kellie Stenzel and Scott Munroe on-site -- Palm Beach Par-3 belongs on your must-play list.

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December 01, 2013

Ask Travelin' Joe: From One Fine Bay to Another

Posted at 10:49 AM by Pete Madden

By JOE PASSOV, Golf Magazine Senior Editor

TPC Harding Park
TPC Harding Park / Getty Images

 

Dear Joe: I'm heading out to San Francisco and I have three days to squeeze in a couple of rounds. What are your recommendations? -- Kyle McKearney, via email

There's iconic TPC Harding Park ($155-$175; 415-664-4690, tpc.com/tpc-harding-park), the foggy, cypress-lined home of the 2005 WGC-American Express Championship (won by Tiger Woods) and the 2009 Presidents Cup. A heads up: On December 1, after it hosts the Champions Tour's season-ending Schwab Cup, Harding's greens will get a face-lift. This means you'll have 18 temporaries (along with a deep discount on green fees) through March. Until then, Presidio Golf Club ($110-$145; 415-561-4653, presidiogolf.com) is your best option. This hilly challenge is a bear to walk, but it compensates with imposing pines and some fun shotmaking challenges. And be sure to check out Lincoln Park ($38-$55; 415-221-9911, sfrecpark.org). This quaint, 5,146-yard muni is more about the postcard (as in amazing views) than the scorecard, with a dazzling glimpse of the Golden Gate Bridge on the par-3 17th.

Redstone Golf Club
Redstone Golf Club / Larry Lambrecht

 

Yo Joe: I'm heading down to Houston in late November to catch a college football game. Where should I tee it up? -- Jake Davidson, Cincinnati, Ohio

There's nothing like college pigskin in the Lone Star State. After you watch your Cincinnati Bearcats battle the Houston Cougars, check out Redstone's Tournament course ($125-$175; 281-459-7800, redstonegolfclub.com) in suburban Humble. Host to the PGA Tour's Shell Houston Open, this Rees Jones creation is a bomber's paradise. It's long, wide and watery. Phil Mickelson and Hunter Mahan are among the recent winners. Closer to downtown (and to Rice Stadium, where you'll watch the game), you'll find Memorial Park ($39-$49; 713-559-2000, memorialparkgolf.com), a flattish, well-treed, 7,300-yarder that boasts some history of its own -- 14 Houston Opens were contested here between 1947 and 1963, with Arnold Palmer claiming the crown in 1957. It's a score either way, so why not go for two?

Orange Lake Golf Resort
Courtesy of Orange Lake Golf Resort

 

Hey Joe: My wife and I are older golfers and fairly new to the game. We want to take a vacation, ideally to a moderately priced place with good instruction. Ideas? -- John and Pat Morello, via email

With December closing in faster than a one-horse sleigh, I direct you to the Sunshine State, specifically Orange Lake Golf Resort (407-239-1050, orangelake.com) in Kissimmee, just south of Orlando and three miles from Disney. If you're feeling ambitious, there are two championship 18s on-site, as well as a pair of beginner-friendly nines, first-rate practice facilities and excellent instruction (we rank the McCord Golf Academy as one of the 25 Best in the U.S.). With December lodging rates that begin at $99/night, for pure value, this Orange is very sweet.

Dear Travelin' Man: I'm taking the family to Pensacola, Fla. I'd like a break from the beach and plan to hit the links for a day. Any diamonds in the rough under $70? -- Dave Gardner, Louisville, Ky.

Value on the Emerald Coast is as prevalent as the sugary-white beaches. My top pick is Kiva Dunes ($64.50-$92; 251-540-7000, kivadunes.com) across the border in Gulf Shores, Alabama. It's a superb, linksy Jerry Pate design between Mobile Bay and the Gulf, with afternoon rates of less than $70 in December. Just one catch: It's more than an hour's drive away. If that's too much of a haul, try Tiger Point ($40-$50; 850-932-1333, tigerpointgolf.com), 12 miles from Pensacola in Gulf Breeze. Its Jerry Pate-designed East course offers water on 14 holes and views of Santa Rosa Sound. I'm also a fan of Sandestin, about an hour to the east. The Baytowne course ($54-$89; 850-267-8155, sandestin.com) charges $54-$74 during the winter and features what passes for an elevation change in the Panhandle, along with kid-friendly tees and rental clubs -- so bring the wee ones and wipe away the guilt.

Our traveling correspondent has been where you're going. Heading out of town on vacation? Business trip? Travelin' Joe can suggest the best places for you to tee it up. If you want to ask Travelin' Joe a question, e-mail him at askjoe@golf.com.

For more news that golfers everywhere are talking about, follow @si_golf on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and subscribe to our YouTube video channel.

October 31, 2013

Deal of the Month: The Resort at Pelican Hill in Newport Coast, Calif.

Posted at 12:48 PM by Pete Madden

By JOE PASSOV, Golf Magazine Senior Editor

The Resort at Pelican Hill
Credit: Jay D. Jenks / Courtesy of The Resort at Pelican Hill

 

For most of my stay here, I simply couldn't stop smiling. Why?

Let me count the ways. The ocean views are spectacular. The service is superb. If you like celebrity-spotting, simply settle in beside the retro-cool pool. The Pelican Grill is one of the great 19th holes, and the spa is an excellent place to recover after your round. As for golf, there are two Tom Fazio layouts along the Pacific Ocean, and a Top 100 Teacher, Glenn Deck. (Thanks for the putting tip, Glenn -- it's still working!)

Come checkout time, the cost will wipe the smile off your face. Perfection is pricey. But there are ways to trim the tab. If you have a lot of rounds in mind, consider the Fazio Unlimited Package, which covers Bungalow or Villa lodging and all-you-can-play access to three courses. (There's another Fazio at nearby Oak Creek.) Carts, club rental, forecaddies and valet parking are also part of the package.

Rates start at $835 per night, with a two-night minimum stay; (888) 802-1777, pelicanhill.com

For more news that golfers everywhere are talking about, follow @si_golf on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and subscribe to our YouTube video channel.

June 19, 2013

Improved and more affordable than ever, SoCal's Monarch Beach is a royal bargain

Posted at 5:34 PM by Joe Passov

Monarch
Robert Trent Jones Jr. put extra effort into designing Monarch Beach in 1984, stating at the time that "this may be the last ocean course built in the United States."

Jones himself nullified that hyperbolic prediction two years later when he created Spanish Bay, and Bandon Dunes has since erased all doubts. Still, the care he took with Monarch Beach is clear and convincing.

Naysayers note that "right-on-the-ocean" holes at the Scottish links–inspired track are in short supply, but stunning views abound. On one majestic creation — the 315-yard, par-4 third — the Pacific splashes at the fairway's right edge.

Bunkers, lakes and the Salt Creek influence play on many holes, and if the ocean isn't a factor often enough, at least you have the sublime clime of Orange County, with the terrific St. Regis Resort right next door.

Best of all, recent refinements have firmed up the fairways, new cart paths have improved the pace of play, and sensible twilight rates have amped up the value. Where seaside summer golf is concerned, this Monarch is regal.

(Photo: Dick Durrance)

April 20, 2013

Budget Breaks: Get your golf year going at one of these two great escapes

Posted at 11:24 AM by Joe Passov

Eagle-mountainSAVE $105
Inn at Eagle Mountain
Fountain Hills, Ariz.

If cactus-covered slopes and wild terrain appeal to you this spring, the Round and a Room Golf Package at Eagle Mountain, east of Scottsdale, is a great way to kick off your season. Included is one night's lodging, a round at the Scott Miller—designed Eagle Mountain Golf Club, rental clubs, and a $10 breakfast coupon.

May rates start at $149 per person, based on double occupancy. 800-992-8083, innateaglemountain.com

SAVE $175
La Costa Resort and Spa
Carlsbad, Calif.

Perfect weather and suburban San Diego go hand-in-glove, all the better to take advantage of La Costa's Gold Medal Golf Package. The deal offers lodging at Southern California's only Gold Medal winner in our Premier Resorts Awards, unlimited golf on two PGA Tour courses, breakfast for two at Legends Bistro, club storage and 15 percent off at the pro shop.

May rates start at $469 per room, per night, based on double occupancy. 800-854-5000, lacosta.com

(Photo: Courtesy of Inn at Eagle Mountain)

March 23, 2013

Deal of the Month: Ojai Valley Inn & Spa

Posted at 12:32 AM by Joe Passov

OjaiSome golfers crave a U.S. Open–type beat-down. Me? I prefer a relaxing, playable course that offers a glorious setting, a dose of history and, if possible, an easy drive from a major city.

In other words, Ojai (pronounced "OH-high").

The Ojai Valley Inn & Spa is a rustic charmer 75 miles northwest of L.A. Even without its delightful layout, the resort would be worth a visit, with its Mission-style architecture, sybaritic spa, and superior service.

Merely 6,292 yards from the tips, this welcoming 90-year-old course is drenched in character, thanks to a graceful routing among the oaks and slopes, courtesy of architects George Thomas Jr. and Billy Bell, the men responsible for Riviera and Bel-Air. (Later renovations feature the work of Jay Morrish.) The Topa Topa Mountains add to the magic, at least for Chi Chi Rodriguez and Al Geiberger, who were among the winners in the years the Champions Tour stopped by.

The Ultimate Golf Vacation Package for Two includes lodging, unlimited golf and cart, lunch at Jimmy's and a logo hat. April rates start at $579 per night, double occupancy. 855-697-8780, ojairesort.com

(Photo: Courtesy of Ojai Valley Inn)

March 22, 2013

Ask Travelin' Joe: Undiscovered gems in Phoenix, best San Francisco spas and more

Posted at 11:32 PM by Joe Passov

QuinteroDear Joe:
In April, my buddies and I are heading to Phoenix for our annual golf trip. We've played the Scottsdale trophy courses, so this year we want to add an undiscovered gem that's also a good value, and we'll drive up to an hour. Any ideas?
—Roger McManus, Surrey, B.C.

The Valley of the Sun is full of terrific second-tier tracks that deliver top-tier value. Southern Dunes ($49-$199; 480-367-8949, golfsoutherndunes.com), a Schmidt-Curley creation (with Fred Couples consulting) in Maricopa, 30 minutes south of the Phoenix airport, is a muscular 2002 design with sprawling bunkers, fescue-framed fairways and nary a weak hole. Once private, it's now a public-access amenity of the nearby Harrah's Ak-Chin Casino.

A 45-minute westward haul is Quintero ($75-$225; 928-501-1500, quinterogolf.com), a potent Rees Jones design that stimulates the senses with dramatic climbs and drops and a pristine desert environment (Pictured).

I also enjoy Gold Canyon's Dinosaur Mountain ($49-$199; 480-982-9090, gcgr.com), a Ken Kavanaugh product 50 minutes east of Phoenix in the heart of the Superstition Mountains.

Hi Joe:
My husband and I are looking for a golf resort and spa in the San Francisco area. Do you have a favorite?
—Lois Bauer, Shaker Heights, Ohio

From resorts to crackers, I love anything with "Ritz" in the name. Along with superb service, the Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay (650-712-7000, ritzcarlton.com/halfmoonbay), 45 minutes south of downtown, has the Ocean Course ($160-$205, 650-726-1800, halfmoonbaygolf.com), a Pebble-like layout along the Pacific.

For a warmer, inland splurge just 90 minutes from San Francisco, try CordeValle, a Rosewood Resort (408-695-4500, cordevalle.com). The hilly, vineyard setting is a sublime backdrop for the property's Robert Trent Jones Jr. design ($195-$225, plus caddie fee), which hosts the PGA Tour's Frys.com Open.

Hey Joe:
What are the "can't-miss" courses in the greater Tampa area? We're eight guys, and we prefer tough courses. Bring it on!
—Ed Schultz, Reading, Pa.

While many quality layouts await on the Gulf side of central Florida, "can't miss" implies something more memorable. Start with Innisbrook's Copperhead ($140-$245; 727-942-2000, innisbrookgolfresort.com). It has unusual (for Florida) elevation changes, towering Carolina-style pines and propped-up greens fortified by sand and water. It's stern but fair. Its watery sibling, the Island, was a strong enough test to host the 1990 NCAA Championship, won by Phil Mickelson. Add two more respectable 18s and a resort that's perfect for buddy trips and you've got an ideal spot.

If you're up for a day trip, drive 90 minutes north to World Woods ($69-$79 for April; $39 twilight); 352-796-5500, worldwoods.com) or 90 minutes east to Streamsong ($115-$225; 863-354-6980, streamsongresort.com), two of the greatest 36-hole public complexes in the country.

Dear Joe:
I'm planning a long weekend getaway with the family. Priorities? Great golf for me and fun distractions for the kids. I'd prefer a half-day drive or less. What say you?
—John Tucker, Greensboro, N.C.

John, I say this: Take thy brood to Williamsburg, Va., roughly a four-hour drive from Greensboro. The Gold course at Colonial Williamsburg's Golden Horseshoe Golf Club ($65-$169; 757-220-7696, colonialwilliamsburg.com), which celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2013, serves up four simply fantastic par 3s from Robert Trent Jones Sr., while Jones's Spotswood at Golden Horseshoe, a nine-hole, par-31 delight, is a terrific value at $39.

Next door, your kids can experience the unparalleled history experience that is Colonial Williamsburg, amid cobblestone streets, 18th-century taverns, and artisans and character interpreters clothed in period dress.

Minutes away is Kingsmill Resort, which was home to the PGA Tour for more than 20 years. Three excellent courses await, including the Pete Dye–designed River course ($70-$190; 800-832-5665, kingsmill.com). You're also next to Busch Gardens, a 383-acre amusement park with more than 100 rides and attractions.

(Photo: Courtesy of Quintero)

April 14, 2012

Course Spy: PGA West, TPC Stadium

Posted at 3:52 PM by Joe Passov

PgawestPGA West, TPC Stadium
La Quinta, California
7,300 yards, par 72
Green fees: $69-$255
pgawest.com
800-742-9378

Service
At this premium course in a pricey corner of the California desert, expect five-star service trappings with a helpful staff and a practice area with grass impeccable enough to dine off. And it took all of our self-discipline not to fill our bag with a bunch of flawless range balls.

Pace of Play
This is a long, difficult course with more water than SeaWorld, at a resort in a region filled with plumb-bobbing retirees. It doesn't take a mathematician to know what that equation adds up to. Expect a four-and-a-half hour round, minimum, even on less than busy days.

Quality
At a time when design trends are pointing away from Pete Dye's modern stylings, the Stadium course seems almost retro-chic. Which is not to say it's dated. Like the Art Deco architecture of the surrounding region, this throwback layout has a timeless appeal.

Value
Peak season in the winter means you'll fork over more than $200 for a top-notch experience. Happily, when the mercury rises, prices plummet, and the Stadium Course is a summer steal at less than $100. For serious players in the golf-crazy area, it's a must all year long.

Verdict
When it opened 26 years ago, playing this course with balata and persimmon was like trying to tame a dragon with a rolled-up newspaper. In 2012, armed with modern weaponry, today's weekend golfers can have a shotmaking blast on the memorable Stadium course.

April 12, 2012

An inspired renovation catapults La Costa back to Tour-worthy glory

Posted at 2:32 PM by Joe Passov

Lacosta640

La Costa Resort & Spa (Champions)
Carlsbad, Calif.
7,172 yards, par 72
Green fees: $185-$240
800-854-5000
lacosta.com

When the PGA Tour last visited La Costa in 2006, the course was a soggy, muddy mess. The WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship picked up stakes for the dry Arizona desert and has remained there ever since.

However, with an inspired make-over of its North course (now called the Champions course) by architect Damian Pascuzzo, his design partner Steve Pate and collaborating architect Jeff Brauer, La Costa is again a Tour-caliber destination.

Long a fabled spa and tennis retreat for Hollywood's elite, La Costa's golf legacy was established in 1969, when Gary Player captured the Tournament of Champions. Subsequent winners here included Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods.

Last November, the Champions debuted to very sunny reviews. Every tee, green and fairway on the layout is brand-new, and four holes are completely redesigned, notably the short par-4 15th. Massive, artfully sculpted bunkers have also been repositioned in the style of La Costa's original architect, Dick Wilson. And a revamped filtration system was put in place.

The result is...more. More drama, more variety and more risk/reward decisions. Tiger, Phil—come back anytime.

(Photo: Evan Schiller)

February 16, 2012

Ask Travelin' Joe: Orlando, Tucson and Riviera's best and worst holes

Posted at 12:32 PM by Joe Passov

Ocn_600If you want to ask Travelin' Joe a question, e-mail him at askjoe@golf.com.

Hey Joe,
A friend and I are planning a trip to the Orlando area in late February, and we’re considering the Orange County Golf Resort. We’re looking for a moderately priced deal for three to four days of golf. Should we consider a local hotel and play individual courses or go with a package deal at one of the resorts?
Sam Coppola
Via email

I’ll leave the Disney-flavored puns out of this answer—much as it pains me—because if you’re considering Orange County National, you’re likely a no-nonsense golfer who wants straightforward info.

Orlando boasts so many terrific golf properties that it’s hard to choose just one. Bay Hill has its Arnie aura, Disney has its PGA Tour pedigree, the Waldorf-Astoria has tranquility, Reunion has variety, and the Ritz-Carlton Grande Lakes has those greens—well, you get the point.

However, if you’re into golf—and value—book a package at Orange County National Golf Center and Lodge. Its unwieldy name manages to say it all. Its two championship courses, Crooked Cat and Panther Lake, both have served as PGA Tour Qualifying School tests and comprise two of the best bargains in the area.

If you book an Orange County National package, you’ll have access to both courses, plus free golf (cart fee extra) at Tooth, their nine-hole executive course, pre-round range balls, locker, club storage, bag tag, and discounted extra rounds. (February rates from $302 per person, based on double occupancy and a two-night minimum; 407-656-2626, ocngolf.com.)

Toss in one of the three best public-access practice ranges and short-game areas in the country and superior instruction, and you’ve got a winner. If there’s a drawback to OCN, is that it’s a tad remote, away from Orlando’s plethora of attractions and restaurants. Still, to some, that’s a plus.

Dear Joe,
I read your suggestions about places to play in Tucson. Can you recommend any condo-type accommodations similar to what I find in the Myrtle Beach area? We’re looking for a one-stop place where the group has a roof over their heads and a bunch of tee times.
Ken Gardiner
Philadelphia, PA

If Phoenix/Scottsdale were your destination, Zona Resort Suites (888-222-1059, zonascottsdale.com) would be exactly what you’re looking for. Tucson’s a different animal. It offers neither the quantity nor variety of prices available in the Valley of the Sun, and it cannot touch Myrtle Beach for maximum options—but then, no destination can.

I’ve got two solid outfits to recommend in the Old Pueblo, as Tucson is often called. First is Sonoran Suites (888-786-7848, sonoransuites.com). Though based in Phoenix, they have covered Tucson since 1997 and operate in every desert destination. February packages start at $129 per person per night, but they offer an array of options that include 1-, 2- and 3-bedroom units as well as choices ranging from value courses such as Del Lago, El Conquistador and Canoa Hills, to ultra-premiums like Ventana Canyon, Omni Tucson Nation and La Paloma.

My other pick in Tucson is the Golf Villas at Oro Valley (888-904-9158, thegolfvillas.com). This is pure, perfect desert, in one of Tucson’s most desirable locales, right around the corner from top tracks such as Arizona National, Vistoso and Ventana Canyon. You’re surrounded by excellent restaurants, nightlife and the towering mountains and cactus-covered slopes that brought you to the desert in the first place. February rates for two-bedroom villas start at $239.

Riviera Country Club: the Best Hole and the Worst Hole
When the PGA Tour pros renew their love affair with Riviera Country Club this week in suburban Los Angeles, they will encounter the design skills of George Thomas, a golden age architect who deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as Donald Ross, Alister MacKenzie and A.W. Tillinghast. As proof of Thomas’s magical skills, check out Riviera’s 10th hole. For years, I considered Augusta National’s par-5 13th to be the ultimate risk/reward hole that the pros see every year, but these days, that honor goes to the 315-yard, slight dogleg-to-the-right 10th at “the Riv.”

Any self-respecting pro can drive the green, but the penalties for missing are so severe, thanks to the ingenious positioning of both bunkers and putting surface, that 5s and 6s are much more common than 2s.

Jack Nicklaus has stated that the 10th presents more options than any other short hole in the world. Few have the discipline to approach the green from the proper angle, which calls for a lay-up drive to the far left side of the fairway—especially when the hole location is back-right on this shallow, diagonal green corseted by bunkers. When the pin is on the left, unprotected by a fronting bunker, the temptation is to go straight at it—even if you fall short. However, that open portion of the green slopes away to the back, making a straight-on approach that much exquisitely tougher. No matter where you approach from, the shot is an extreme test of nerve. That’s what makes it a superior short hole. There’s no water to set the pulse racing or chasm to carry, just the knowledge that you’ve got to hit two perfect shots on such a tiny hole.

The worst hole at Riviera? Some might argue that the second is suspect because it’s a par 5 converted to a par 4, with a green complex much more receptive to a short approach than a long one. Others point to the shot values lacking at the par-5 first. With its exhilarating hill-top tee box, the short par 5 really plays like a par 4. For one great player, however, the dubious distinction belongs to the 236-yard, par-3 fourth. That player is not Ben Hogan, who labeled it “the greatest par 3 in America.” No, the dissenter is another supreme shotmaker, Lee Trevino, who stated in 1985, “One famous (course) with a flaw is Riviera. You could go to Communist China and say ‘Riviera Country Club’ and some guy would say ‘It’s in Los Angeles, California.’ It’s known worldwide, but Riviera is a 17-hole golf course.

“The clinker is No. 4, the par 3. A monkey’s as good as a man playing it. It slopes away from you. It plays against the prevailing wind because the play is toward Santa Monica and the ocean, and the hole plays about 240 yards against the wind. Hell, you have to hit a driver on it. They should plow that damn hole up and start building a legitimate par 3.”

No small wonder that the Merry Mex never won at Riviera, or even finished runner-up.

(Photo: Orange County National)

Ask Travelin' Joe

Our traveling correspondent has been where you're going. Heading out of town on vacation? Business trip? Travelin' Joe can suggest the best places for you to tee it up. If you want to ask Travelin' Joe a question, e-mail him at askjoe@golf.com.


 

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