Monthly Archives: February 2016

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The Treehouse at The Ranch at Laguna Beach

The story in Southland Golf: www.southlandgolf.com/articles/work-386-laguna-resort.html

The Ranch at Laguna Beach is on the back nine of its plan to become the coolest nine-hole resort course in the country.

More than two years of renovation and construction will finally come to an end this summer (May/June) when project opens its remaining guest rooms, spa and the building housing its Harvest restaurant, front desk and banquet and ballroom spaces. The de facto Presidential Suite, the two-bedroom, two-bathroom Treehouse – the remodeled former course owners’ home overlooking the No. 1 green – come online in Feb.

The Ranch debuted its first 62 hotel rooms last summer. While operating with those rooms, a patio to host breakfast and lunch, a pool, a pantry, a golf shop and the course, the resort has rocketed up the local rankings on Trip Advisor, reports Jim Tolbert, The RanchLB’s Director of Sales Marketing.

“We up to No. 5 (out of 22 resorts/hotels) in Laguna on Trip Advisor,” Tolbert said, “and that’s with only half the resorted completed during our preview period. Everything we’ve opened has been very well received.”

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Tolbert said the original preview goal for The Ranch’s marketing was to expand its tourist draw to a 150-mile radius to complement its strong local following. He said the property has already exceeded that goal and gone global.

“We’re getting people from all over,” he said. “We’ve had people from Germany to Great Britain to Arizona, and we had many folks from the East Coast over the holidays.”

After making a turn off the Pacific Coast Highway in South Laguna and taking a quarter-mile drive east from the ocean, guests are greeted by a vast expanse of canyon. That’s the scenic corridor that surrounds the winding nine-hole course.

Tolbert says guests are awed by the unexpected beauty of the canyon first and the rooms, decorated in a coastal ranch and beach cottage theme with a lot of local flavor, such as artwork of Laguna, complete the dazzling first impression.

“They walk into the room, their mouths open and their eyes get wide,” he said. “It’s pretty amazing to watch peoples’ reaction to this place.”

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The final plan to renovate the former Laguna Beach country club was approved by city officials in April of 2014. The clean-up and restoration of the course, built in the 1950s and suffering from neglect, was the first priority.

The course has enjoyed a strong local golf following for decades and caterers to all levels of players – and couples. (The course held a Valentine’s tournament in February.)

To foster a golf culture at the property, free 15- and 30-minute lessons are offered.

One of the beauties of having a nine-hole course, Tolbert said, is that it’s inviting to first-timers and plays fast at a time when time (slow play) is an issue at many courses nationwide.

“Golf is part of the culture of the place and the guest experience,” he said. “Our course isn’t intimidating so people should feel comfortable giving golf a try.”

The course is among the most walkable anywhere and offers a mix of par 3s and 4s and the discovery of wildlife, including deer midway through your round, along the way.

Besides golf, the resort has become a big dining draw for the food as well as the canyon views, Tolbert said. He notes that a number of menu ingredients will be grown on site at the Harvest Garden.

“It’s American-style cuisine using fresh California ingredients. We supplement the menu with things grown in the garden here on property,” he said. “Every dish is full of flavor and the items themselves are relatively simple but technically perfect.”

Tolbert praised the talents and creativity of chefs Camron Woods and Mary Catherine Woods.

Tolbert said the opening of the Harvest restaurant will only boost The RanchLB’s reputation as a local dining and social destination and make the resort even more formidable in the competitive local market.

“It’s going to be the coolest resort in Orange County for sure.”

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View of the Treehouse from the course

March Southland

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Maderas: Golfers, Start Your Golfboards

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Maderas Golf Club is proud to announce it has reached an agreement with Golfboard to be one of the first to provide the surfboard-like scooters to golfers in San Diego and Southern California.

Golfboard premiered two years ago at the West Coast PGA Show as an alternate way for golfers to traverse and experience golf courses in a style similar to surfing, skating or snowboarding. It has steadily gained traction and now Maderas will be one of 150 courses nationwide, and the first Troon course in California, to host the boards.

Golfboard will be available by the end of February at a rental rate of $20. There will initially be four boards available. The battery-powered boards can be reserved at the time of with making a tee time reservation. For advance reservations, please call the golf shop at 858.451.8100. Renters will be required to sign a standard insurance waiver.

Maderas Golf Club General Manager Michael Flickinger said course officials are counting on the novelty factor of Golfboard to draw new golfers.

“Maderas is committed to growing the game of golf, and we believe this will bring more young people into golf, particularly in Southern California, because it’s a vehicle they’re comfortable with, and it makes the game faster and more fun,” he said. “We see this an exciting new way for golfers to experience the game.”

Golfboard Representative Brent Duclos said bringing Golfboard to a Golf Digest Top 100 public course only further validates the vehicle’s value to the sport.

“Golfboard is ecstatic to work with Maderas, which is continually one of the top-rated public courses in the country,” Duclos said. “Not only will Maderas be one of the best places to play golf in Southern California, it will also be one of the best places to Golfboard! The undulating fairways coupled with majestic canyon views provide for a perfect Golfboarding canvas.

“The decision to host Golfboarding shows that Maderas is committed to providing the best all-around golfing experience for their patrons.”

Maderas will be the second course in San Diego to host Golfboard, on which clubs are caddied on the front and secured by a strap, similar as on a golf cart.

The process for Golfboard being considered at Maderas began with Director of Golf Hale Kelly riding it around the entire course for a safety check. Then came the National Golf Course Owners Association annual meeting, which Maderas hosted and where Golfboard held a demo day on two holes of the course. The enthusiastic and complimentary response of fellow owners helped sway Maderas’ ownership that Golfboard’s time had arrived.

Flickinger said Golfboard will have a high profile at Maderas and will be demonstrated frequently and upon request. It also fits Maderas’ overall intention to represent the Southern California lifestyle, which it does all the way down to the locally sourced items on its menu.

Flickinger said of Golfboard, “It’s a great lifestyle fit for a lifestyle sport.”

Questions or interview requests about Golfboard at Maderas can be directed to Maderas Director of Digital Marketing and Social Media Corey Ross at cross@maderasgolf.com. You can find more information about Golfboard at www.golfboard.com. You can also find videos from the demo day at our Instagram account (@maderasgolf).

Southland: CrossCreek Course Overview

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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.

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Maderas: Chris Mayson On KUSI Predicting the Monday Finish At The Farmers

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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.

www.maderasgolf.com/Chris-Mayson-on-KUSI-Chris-Talk.blog

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Check out this offer to play three great San Diego courses, including Maderas and Torrey Pines South after the Farmers.

www.golfpnw.com/blog/2016-01-28-san-diego-winter-getaway.html