Tag Archives: Aviara Golf Club

SD Tourism: Four Great Golf Finishing Holes in San Diego



Editor’s note: This post is part of an occasional series for the San Diego Tourism Authority – www.sandiego.org – promoting golf in San Diego. http://blog.sandiego.org/2015/07/great-finishing-golf-holes/

Like the ending to a great book or movie, the 18th hole of a golf course should offer an experience that’s both satisfying and memorable.

Few things in golf beat a walk-off birdie, so consider this a short bucket list of places you’d like be lucky to score one in San Diego. The following is a list of some of the best finishing holes San Diego golf courses have to offer:

RBI 18

1. Rancho Bernardo Inn –
William Bell, the designer of Torrey Pines and many other public courses in San Diego, did some of his best work on No. 18 at Rancho Bernardo Inn, a hole that’s as scenic as it is strategic.

This closing par 5 begins with a decision off the tee: Do you try to drive the culvert crossing the fairway at around 250 yards or do you lay up? From there, it’s all about positioning to this uphill hole protected by ponds and a stream. That’s a lot of watery waters for things to go wrong trying to reach this narrow, triple-tiered green. But whether you make birdie or bogey, the setting, which includes two fountains, makes the hole and experience unforgettable.

Aviara Golf Club

2. Aviara Golf Club – Possibly the most beautiful finishing hole in San Diego is also its most difficult. This dogleg right par 4 wraps around a lake with a magnificent waterfall and offers a gorgeous view of Batiquitos Lagoon on the left. The lake is a popular destination for tee shots – and second shots, as finding the fairway is no guarantee of anything. The second shot, while played to a sizeable green, is deceivingly difficult. The approach is played into a Pacific Ocean breeze that can push your ball right into the water or out of bounds left. Par feels like a birdie here. The pros on the LPGA Tour are even tested by this one.

new Maderas 18

3. Maderas Golf Club –
This straight away par 5 starts with an elevated tee shot over a ravine to a fairway where a majestic giant oak marks the right side. Aim for the oak and then pour all you’ve got into your second shot on this long finishing hole. The green is situated in front of the Maderas clubhouse, which has the look of an Italian villa. You can putt out and then retire to the patio and enjoy a great view of the hole you just played.

18 torrey

4. Torrey Pines (South Course)
– Design-wise, this flat, straightaway closing par 5 may seem fairly ordinary, but what’s happened here makes it extraordinary. As the finishing hole for the PGA Tour’s Farmers Insurance Open, it gets the most TV time of any hole in San Diego. But the lore of No. 18 really ties back to 2008 and the iconic U.S. Open. This is where Tiger Woods trickled in a tricky 12-foot birdie to force the playoff with Rocco Mediate that made that Open legendary and turned Torrey into hallowed ground in golf. Here’s your chance to recreate history.

Honorable mentions: Golf Club of California, Balboa Park Golf Course, La Costa, The Vineyard, Coronado Municipal Golf Course

Aviara: The Scorecard From Morgan Pressel’s Record Round

Pressel

Morgan Pressel’s 64 on Friday tied the Aviara Golf Club course record set by Dori Carter in last year’s Kia Classic. Above we’ve provided a look at Pressel’s record round. (If you trouble viewing the scorecard, click to enlarge.) That’s a lot of circles. Congrats, Morgan.

Highlight Hole: No. 3 at Aviara

Aviara 3

Editor’s Note: You can find my overview of the playing experience at Aviara at the San Diego Tourism Authority’s web site: bit.ly/1ydQlF4

The short par 3 3rd at Aviara Golf Club in Carlsbad is the course’s signature hole, and for good reason. It’s as fun to play as it is botanically beautiful. The hole is at its peak this week for the LPGA’s KIA Classic. You know it when the reddish/orange tree in the backdrop is in bloom. It’s simply stunning.

The hole has a longish green that slopes back to front and is surrounded by a creek, ponds, a waterfall and a dazzlingly array of colorful foliage. The green is accessible by a wooden bridge, which only adds to the ambiance.

The hole is played from split tee boxes, which change the challenge and perspective on this hole. It plays to a max yardage of 149 yards and 147 from the blue tees.

Members will tell you that while a front pin may make the hole play shorter, a putt back to a front hole location is a slippery proposition. The better scoring opportunities are middle and back.

This hole also provides a preview of what are arguably the strongest group of par 3s in San Diego. Each are beautiful, and only the uphill par 3 6th doesn’t involve a carry over water.

Simply seeing No. 3 live and in peek condition might be worth the price of admission on its own this week. People I sent the above photo to this week thought it was photo-shopped. Nope. It’s just that good – naturally.

What follows is a photo tour of this spectacular par 3. I hope you enjoy the views.

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3 again

par 3 3

par 3 final

from bridge

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Maderas: Maria at the Kia – Getting to Know Maderas Pro Maria Hernandez

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On most any other beautiful Tuesday in San Diego, Maria Hernandez would’ve probably been a fixture on the course or the range at Maderas Golf Club.

This Tuesday, however, she took her talents north to prepare for the LPGA’s Kia Classic at Aviara Golf Club.

This is Hernandez’ fourth Kia Classic appearance and second time playing Aviara. Her career and perseverance over illness and injury were captured quite nicely in Tod Leonard’s Union-Tribune piece:
www.utsandiego.com/news/2015/mar/24/lpga-tour-maria-hernandez-tough-road/

So we chose to quiz the Spaniard Hernandez more on her tournament preparation, her love of Maderas and her relationship with her coach, Chris Mayson, whom she credits greatly for her evolution as a player.

Q. What do you like about Aviara?

A. It’s a good course. Big greens. The course conditions are always great. The rough is high, so you want to be in the fairway.

Q. How do you assess your game right now?

A. I had a great practice session today. My game is getting better. I had a good start in Phoenix (the last tournament) but didn’t play that well the second and third round. I’m playing great, but my scores aren’t showing it right now. Everything else is pretty good.

Q. What are you and Chris working on right now?

A. Mostly making my swing more consistent. For years, he’s been making swing changes to do that. As I’ve become more consistent, we’ve focused more on putting and short game and just playing freely.

Q. How many years have you worked with Chris? How did you two meet?

A. This is my fourth year. I went to Purdue and so did he. We started talked about it and then decided to work together after my first year on tour. My previous coach was in Spain and I needed someone who was able to support me more often.

I love working with him. He’s such a great teacher and communicator. He’s supported me so much through everything. And he knows so much about golf.

He’s the best person I’ve ever been around, not just coach.

He’s been a great coach for me. He’s rebuilt my entire swing. He’s done a great job with me. I can’t imagine being with anyone else.

Q. How do you like practicing down at Maderas? How does it prepare you for Aviara?

A. It’s a great golf course. They treat me unbelievable. The conditions are always good. It’s a great course to practice on because it’s tough. The greens aren’t as big as here, but they are still very good.

It feels like home for me there. They treat me great.

Whenever I’m in San Diego, I’m always there.

Q. Do you have a favorite hole or memory from playing the course?

A. I made an eagle on No. 14, the par 5. I remember the flag was in the way back. I holed out from the fairway. That was a great feeling. I didn’t even know it went it until someone told me. I didn’t see it. I just found out in the hole.

Q. Do you walk Maderas?

A. No, no. (Laughing). They let me ride the cart, and I don’t doubt them.

Q. What’s are your goal for the Kia?

A. I’d like to have a great week. I just want to control what I can control and hopefully it adds up. With the weather issues we’ve had recently, it’s great to have beautiful weather. I’m looking forward to a week of 18 holes a day and no delays.

Highlight Hole: No. 8 at Aviara

aviara 8th

As a rule, downhill par 5s in golf are just fun. Throw in some scenery and you’ve really got something special.

That’s what you have in No. 8 at Aviara in Carlsbad, home of the LPGA’s KIA Classic.

No. 8 plays to 519 yards from the blues and 489 yards from the whites, but you can throw those numbers out because of the topography. It plays much shorter.

tee8

The tee shot is one of those that gets your juices going. There’s nothing but downhill and an interstate-wide, tree-lined fairway in front of you. Ideally, you want to be right here for the best approach angle and the good news is that you can go even more right than it seems. But the left side is manageable too; you just won’t be harboring hopes of getting home in two.

Strip one 290-300 on the right and you’re in the go zone here, but with an asterisk. The green is fronted by water – a creek to the left that fills a pond on the right. If the pin is front right, you’re laying up. A narrow green and surrounding water make it too much of a risky play.

However, pin middle or left and you’re likely thinking eagle, as the LPGA players undoubtedly do.

I’ve never gone for it here. My usual play is driver then 6- or 7-iron to a comfortable wedge shot. The approach amphitheater is one of the best on the course. At about 150 yards, you have a waterfall in the left, creating a bucolic setting.

waterfall

Looking down on the sizeable green, this is an approach shot you can feel comfortable sticking from a ways out, but I’ve always felt most comfortable about 100-120 yards out on the right side. A correctly judged shot should leaves you with a look at birdie, though there’s always that putt, which at Aviara tends to be slippery.

approach

The walk to the green from behind gives you another view of this beautiful hole to appreciate, looking back over the water and up the fairway.

The par 5s at Aviara, as at most courses, are your chance to really make a mark on the scorecard, but that’s particularly true at the 8th. You’ll be kicking yourself a bit if you let this one get away. No. 8 falls within a trio of downhill holes at Aviara that set up for a strong close to your front nine.

The recommendation here is to play the percentages, take a little time to appreciate the views and best of luck with the putt.

Maderas: Aviara Golf Club Joins Troon Golf; Five Highlights of the Course and Experience

teefrom bridge

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Aviara Golf Club at Park Hyatt Aviara Resort in Carlsbad has joined the Troon Golf global network of more than 200 courses.

Currently the annual host of the LPGA’s KIA Classic, Aviara is routinely rated one of California’s top resort courses and is the only Arnold Palmer design in San Diego. Impeccable landscaping and being situated next to the Batiquitos Lagoon define the property, which also features dramatic elevation changes on the front nine.

Each hole is truly a unique experience at Aviara.

“Aviara Golf Club at Park Hyatt Aviara Resort is a spectacular property, and we are excited to be involved,” stated John Easterbrook, executive vice president of operations at Troon. “Located in an ideal golf destination, we are confident that our services and expertise will contribute positively to the facility’s success.”

The property’s amenities include: a two-story, 32,000-square-foot Spanish Colonial clubhouse and the adjoining Argyle Steakhouse with indoor and outdoor balcony seating; showers, locker rooms; an upscale golf shop, driving range and an oversized practice putting green.

Troon players, including Maderas members, can now enjoy playing privileges at Aviara.

For those Troon members unfamiliar with Aviara, we provide the following five highlights of the course and overall playing experience.

1. Immaculate landscape – On the first tee, the starter welcomes you to an 18-hole botanical garden, and that’s exactly what Aviara is. An amazing array of plants and flowers accent every hole. The course is truly a visual treat. There’s always something in bloom at Aviara.

aviara1photo-304photo-305photo-303


2. Oversized greens –
Aviara is known for having greens the size of helipads. Get ready to stroke some of the longest putts you’ve ever hit if you can’t knock it close.

The greens are the course’s defining characteristic, which is funny considering they were originally a construction mistake. The construction crew doubled the size of the greens on the front nine. Rather than tear up the greens, course officials chose to double the size of the greens on the back to match.

The result is what you might term a happy accident, as players now look forward to the sizable undulating greens at Aviara.

3. Outstanding par 3s – The strength of the course is its par 3s, which many consider as a group to be the best in San Diego. Three of the four feature carries over water and are, again, impeccably landscaped. No. 3, a short par 3 with ponds in front and right, is considered the course’s signature hole. No. 6, the only one without water, is the toughest of the bunch. It’s a long uphill, a nearly 200-yard carry, to a blind green. An ocean crosswind can complicate matters even more here. The two par 3s on the back are all carry over water, with No. 14 being from an elevated tee box. You will want an iron and a camera phone on the par 3s because they are truly beautiful golf holes.

aviara 11aviara 14

Left: No. 11. Right: No. 14.

4. Sweet Treats – Aviara loves to tempt your sweet tooth. There are fresh-baked cookies available next to the putting green and a special treat waiting for you on the course. The course marshal usually greets you on the 8th green with a bucket of Tootsie Pops. Hopefully you’re walking off the green with birdie, but if not, you’ve at least go a consolation prize.

5. No. 18, a beauty and a beast – Besides having the best par 3s, Aviara may also boast the toughest closing hole in the county. This dogleg right offers a beautiful view of the Batiquitos Lagoon from the tee. Savor the view because you might not like what happens next. There’s water right, OB left and likely an ocean breeze in your face. Ideally, you want to place you tee shot just inside the fairway bunker on the left and we recommend clubbing down to a 3-wood if necessary to do it.

You just want to be in the fairway here and not the water. Then you’ve got a long, narrow approach into a green where water is still in play on the left, cascading down a gorgeous waterfall. Par is a great score here, but here’s guessing it’ll take you a few rounds to card one. After playing this course nearly a dozen times, I’m still waiting.

18aviarakia

No. 18 at Aviara during the KIA Classic

To book a tee time at Aviara, call 760.603.6900. You can learn more about the course at www.golfaviara.com.


The Year in Par-3s, Part III

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Photo courtesy of www.sandiegogolf.com

I conclude my three look at 2013’s most memorable par-3s with three more holes that made indelible first impressions.

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No. 3 at Aviara Golf Club (Carlsbad)

As a group, the par-3s at Aviara are the best I’ve played in San Diego County.

They’re a sensational mix of distance, difficulty and beauty. The long uphill par-3 6th is the only one not played over water, and it’s undoubtedly the toughest of the bunch. How often do you say that about a course?

The answer I’m probably supposed to give in this space is No. 11, since it’s the signature hole and certainly botanically beautiful, as almost all of Aviara is.

But I’m going with No. 3, which is plenty gorgeous in its own right, because it was the more memorable hole from personal experience and from attending the LPGA’s Kia Classic.

As you can see from the photo, No. 3 is a short par-3 played to a green, by far one of the smaller ones on the course, with water looming left and right. It can also be water short and right depending on where they put the tee box. This holes has multiple tees that vary how the hole is played tremendously, which is one of the things I really love about it.

I remember walking up on this hole at the Kia and just marveling at it. It’s a short par-3 that is beautifully framed and accented, but this beauty is tougher than it looks.

At the Kia, I watched this hole be feast or feminine for the pros. It’s a terrific tournament hole to watch because you get such a great range of golf.

Personally, I found the water right (Splish!) and then right (Splash!) again the first two times I played it. The third time, my ball finally found the green on the right side, leaving me a devilish downhiller that I nearly sank for birdie.

Amongst my golf friends who play here, No. 3 is one those holes that becomes like soap in the shower: Birdie slips away time after time on this hole even when you think you’ve got it down and know every putt by heart.

Another cool thing about this hole, and the course itself, is that you can really appreciate the change of seasons here. It’s beautiful year round, but, as you can see at top, spectacular when the course is blooming.

You may not par all the par-3s at Aviara, but changes are you won’t have to think too hard to remember them.

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No. 16 at Barona Creek (Lakeview)

I might nickname this hole “The Speed Bump” because it kept from me shooting what should’ve been a pretty nice number on the back nine at Barona twice.

It’s not a long hole – just a shade under 140 yards – but I can’t seem to club it right, and, as you can see, save for leaving it way out left, there’s no good miss here. The myriad of deep bunkers short and long, not to mention the deep native grasses, have the pin here protected like Fort Knox.

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This hole and the one I posted from Wilshire CC have a lot in common, but this one’s tougher.

If I can solve No. 16, I’m confident I can break 40 on the back at Barona as long as the green speeds are reasonable.

I look forward to giving it a go on what certainly was one of my favorite courses this year. I have yet to find a golfer who’s played here who doesn’t speak longingly about going back.

There is a seductive quality about the course and a challenge that, intentionally, always seems just a round away from being met. I plan to meet it in 2014.

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No. 17 at Dove Canyon CC (Dove Canyon)

California is blessed with an abundance of elevated par-3s, so much so that people seem to take them a bit for granted, like par-3s are just born that way. Being from the Midwest, I can tell you they aren’t.

That said, I can’t imagine anyone taking 17 at Dove Canyon for granted.

When you come to the tee on 17, especially the back tees, you can’t help but do a double-take and then just laugh. It looks like you’ve discovered the Grand Canyon of golf. It’s a golf hole that seems a bit preposterous, yet totally great.

You’re so high up that the flagstick stick looks small, like you might be mistaking it for a landscaping stake or something.

It seriously feels like you’re hitting it off a 10-story building. And no matter where you tee it up, I deem it to be about a two-club drop.

From the blue tees, I hit an easy 8-iron that nearly flew the green. I surely could’ve gotten home jumping on a pitching wedge.

But the tee shot is only half the story here. The green has dramatic drop-offs on the front and back. My ball landed beyond that back tier. Figuring I’d have to muscle it up the five-foot rise to get it to the hole, I watched my putt clear the ridge and shoot right past the hole. A two-putt comebacker left me with a bogey.

This is really the kind of hole where you’d love to take a shag bag to the tee and just drop wedges and short irons to see if you could get lucky. It certainly rated as one of the most fun holes of the year.

I also recall that as I walked off the green, I spied a speck of white in the bushes. I plucked out a lost ball stamped “The Olympic Club” – you know, that little place where they played the U.S. Open two years ago?

One of my rules is that you can tell the quality of the course you’re playing by the lost balls you find. And this is the course were I saw the 20 deer.

Yes, Mr. Nicklaus has created quite an experience here. And hats off to you on No. 17.

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