In case you haven’t followed yet on Instagram (@socalgolfblog), here are three recent reasons:
Sunset on the OB pier
The “hidden” part of being a hidden gem is literally true when it comes to CrossCreek Golf Club in Temecula.
Located west of Old Town Temecula and its mountain backdrop, one wouldn’t immediately deduce a golf course resides on the other side – but one does, and it’s a beaut.
The course occupies the lowlands between the mountain surrounds and provides a rolling prairie golf type experience, akin to something you might be see in the Midwest. The course winds in and out of a forest and provides a pleasant progression of holes.
While off the beaten path, it’s the type of that one that when golfers discover it, CrossCreek Director of Golf David Garner says, they tend to come back.
“It’s a unique location and a very unique golf course,” he says. “We got a lot of comments where people say they didn’t know we were out here, but they love it when they see it.”
The benefit of the remote location is a secluded, solitary and exclusive golf experience. The drawback, from a marketing standpoint, is the need to advertise a bit more than most to raise the course’s profile against a bevy of courses in the area located off the I-15.
“We try to drive home the message of no homes, no freeways, no noise – just pristine golf,” he says.
One advantage Cross Creek has in the winter, Garner says, is having grass that doesn’t go dormant. That gives the course an edge when competing against courses whose Bermuda has gone brown for the winter.
“Us and Journey at Pechanga are the only ones in the area that don’t go dormant,” he says. “That makes us a great winter course.”
And more than just a local secret, Garner says Cross Creek successfully pulls golfers from Orange County and San Diego who are seeking a unique and affordable golf experience.
Locally, the course tries to catch attention by partnering with and promoting the thriving and rapidly evolving Temecula wine county.
Just as the wineries each have their niches and specialties, so does Cross Creek. Its best asset is a course experience, designed by Arthur Hills, that’s unlike any in the immediate market.
“You’re out in the wilderness and every hole is unique,” Garner said. “There are no copy-cat holes here.”
There layout opens with a pair of forested, mid-length par 4s before coming to a par 3 with a forest-framed green involving a creek carry.
The front is fairly flat, besides the severely elevated par-3 8th, before giving way to a more undulating back nine.
The signature hole is the par 3 17th, another hole featuring a creek carry to a forested-surrounded green that is set off in its own amphitheater. From the blue tees, it’s a pitching wedge approach at most, but the yardages stretches to 170 yards from the blacks.
“It’s probably the best shot on the course,” Garner said, adding that the hole is currently being aesthetically enhanced. “It’s a challenge because the green narrows as it moves to the right, but it’s the most beautiful backdrop on the course.”
There’s room to miss long, making it a bit more forgiving that it might present from the tee, but a birdie putt is the preferred outcome when you cross the wooden bridge to the green. The holes provides a bit of a breather after a challenging pair of par 4s.
The trifecta in that group is No. 18, the closing par 4. It involves a placement tee shot to an elevated fairway to an approach descent that presents challenges gauging distance and line of play for first-timers.
“It frustrates first-timers because they don’t know where to place their tee shot,” he says. “And the last shot is over trees and brush. It’s a great hole to close with a little money on the line.”
And it concludes a round at a course whose quality customer service and pristine play are likely to get you to tee it up again.
The Ranch at Laguna Beach is hosting a Twitter party at 7 p.m. on Feb. 10th that will three awesome ways to spend a romantic day at The Ranch as prizes.
The prizes are:
– a one-night romance package at The Ranch, including a one-night stay, choice of paddle boarding or golf, and a couples’ massage (Note: three of these will be available.)
– a golf for two prize package
– a dinner for two prize package
For the first half of the party, Ranch chefs Camron Woods and Mary Catherine Woods will be answer questions about the menu and dining at The Ranch. During the second half, a social media panel of co-hosts will be offering recommendations on romantic hotspots or activities for romance in Orange County and on the coast.
Prizes will be awarded for correctly answering questions The Ranch that posted on site linked to this event e-vite: www.eventbrite.com/e/ranchlb-romance-twitter-party-210-7pm-pst-registration-21228869119
I participated in a Twitter party for The Ranch last summer. If you haven’t done one, they are fast-paced, fun and informative about the unique experience at The Ranch – and one of my followers won! You could be the next … Sign up today.
Click the link below to get Chris Mayson’s take on the Monday finish at the Farmers and the pros playing in the elements. He also talks a little about X-Golf with Rick Willis of KUSI.
Check out this offer to play three great San Diego courses, including Maderas and Torrey Pines South after the Farmers.
After three years of discussion and preparation, the North Course at Torrey Pines is finally having its date with a bulldozer in 2016.
The renovation is set to begin days after the Farmers Insurance Open and is slated to take six months to complete.
Tom Weiskopf, a PGA Tour veteran who had his first tour win at Torrey in 1968, and his design group are set to execute the redesign plan originally awarded to Phil Mickelson. City of San Diego Golf Operations Manager Mark Marney says the core concepts of the plan remain intact with only subtle differences in Weiskopf’s execution as opposed to Mickelson’s.
“There were core things we wanted to have and then it came down to what we could afford,” Marney said of a project that’s tabbed to between $12.6 million.
The core objectives are: Rebuilt, enlarged and re-contoured greens; new greenside and fairway bunkers; a cart path system; and a new irrigation and pumping system.
Players shouldn’t find the course tougher, Marney said, and some will find it more accessible.
“The course isn’t getting any longer, and we’re rebuilding a few tee boxes and adding an extra set of forward tees,” he said.
Increases in difficulty and cost have been the primary concerns expressed by locals, some of whom play up to 150 rounds a year at Torrey. For them, the North is reprieve from the challenges of the tougher South Course, site of the 2008 and 2021 U.S. Opens.
“For a lot of them, it’d be pretty brutal to play the South all the time,” he said. “The North is a little more forgiving and we have players who prefer that.”
Marney said Torrey hasn’t raised its rates in five years and any future in case won’t be tied to the construction costs.
The North hosts between 80,000 and 85,000 a year – nearly 20,000 more than the South – and Marney said was long overdue for an update of the original William Bell design.
Amateur and professional players will benefit, Marney said, as the North is used during the first two days of the Farmers Insurance Open. During the tournament, the North on average plays three strokes easier than the South, a gap Marney said the new North course will be able to close if tournament officials choose.
“They’ll have an opportunity to pick some pin positions that will make it as tough as they want to make it,” he said. “But I’m not sure Tour players want us to close that gap. They like having the chance to go over to the North and shoot something lower and make hay when the sun shines.”
As much of their play, Marney is look forward the Tour players’ reviews of the new North at the Farmers in 2017. Lots of dirt and sand will be moved between now and then – and possibly water. An El Nino winter could hamper construction, but Marney said delaying the project again wasn’t an option.
“Every time we delay, the construction costs increase. If we put it off again, the costs could’ve gone up another 10 percent,” he said. “Next year is uncertain too. We need to plan and be as ready as we can be.”
The project is scheduled to be done months before the 2017 Farmers. That’ll provide time for the course to round into shape, and sodding instead of seeding the greens is being done to expedite the conversion, Marney said.
“That’ll give us a finished green surface sooner but there are some risks involved,” he said. “We’ll have to put in extra work to make sure we don’t get a build up of organic material in the sodded greens, and we’ll have time to fix other construction scars.”
Overall, Marney said after years of delay, Torrey is finally poised to successfully give birth to a new North.
“We’ve got a good plan and a great designer and contractor who understand what we’re looking for,” he said. “I’m excited about the time a year when we’ll finally have the big unveiling.”
When the PGA Tour arrived at Torrey Pines a year ago, it was a Tour in transition. A year later, there’s raging debate about whether golf is being led by a Big Three or a full-fledged foursome.
Two of the players in golf’s most prestige pack – Rickie Fowler and Jason Day – are in the Farmers Insurance Open Field this week. Fowler is fresh off a win in Abu Dhabi over major winners Jordan Spieth and Rory McIroy. Day is the defending champion at Torrey, but reportedly battling the flu.
This is set to be Day’s 2016 Tour debut and first chance to make a statement against his peers. He ended the 2015 major season by capturing the title at the PGA Championship by shooting 25-under to set a major championship scoring record. He briefly thereafter vaulted to No. 1 in the world.
Day’s win a year ago at Torrey started to set the Tour on a new course during a week that began with Tiger Woods withdrawing with a back injury. This week Day and Fowler have a chance to contribute to golf’s great debate. Will they deliver? We’ll start finding out on Thurs.
In case you’re looking for a round during the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey … a pretty strong list, but we’re obviously fairly partial to No. 2.
But there’s certainly fodder for debate here amongst San Diego golfers. Let the debate begin …
As residents know, California is a winter wonderland not only for its balmy temps but also its sunsets, which tend to be more colorful than the summer variety. Thursday was a prime example. I’ve included a few photos and a video of Thursday’s display. The photo at the end shows you this one’s humble beginnings, but the key was a cloud layer that became an awesome canvas for a natural lightshow after the sun went down. Fascinating stuff.
And would you believe it came from this humble beginning?
Jason Day showed on Monday he’s a champion in the interview room as well as on the golf course. The defending Farmers Insurance Open champion, and 2015 PGA Championship winner, gave a great performance for the assembled local media in advance of next week’s FIO at Torrey Pines.
Day was alternately insightful, funny and enlightening during a 20-minute group Q & A. Here’s a bit of the best from a guy who seems incredibly easy to root for:
On Jordan Spieth:
“I never thought there’d be a player you can compare to Tiger Woods, but slowly people are doing that.”
On his wife being bowled over by LeBron James at a Cleveland Cavaliers game:
“Does anyone think they could’ve stopped LeBron?”
On the related risk of being a spectator in golf:
“People take a risk. Unfortunately I’ve hit lots of people.”
The North Course vs. the South at Torrey:
“The North is where you go to make up what you lost on the South.”
On personally predicting his first major:
“I honestly thought it was going to come at the British Open – and I even told my agent that.”
On the key to winning a tournament:
“The biggest part of winning is wanting it more than anyone else in the field.”
On the one change he would make to golf in the Olympics in 2016:
When told the media was about to play a six-hour round on the North:
“Oh God.” (laughing)