Tag Archives: Pacific Ocean

right 2

Photo Post: America’s Most Scenic Ballpark – Point Loma Nazarene

right 2

By pure happenstance, on Thursday I discovered America’s Most Scenic Ballpark, which resides at Point Loma Nazarene University in Point Loma. See and judge for yourself.

most scenic

Strangely, I didn’t even notice the sign at first. I must’ve been distracted by something – something blue, maybe? Just maybe?

home plate

Anybody else ready to catch a game here?

I swear there was a sailboat playing deep left.

point

… home of the Sea Lions!

field view

Field view, blissfully above sea level.

deep right

And deep right ain’t bad either.

And we close with a video view of the Most Scenic Ballpark. Anyone disagree? Go Sea Lions!

Treehouse_Final2

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.”

Rm.1102_Bed1_Final

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.”

Pool_0429

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.”

Hiresgolf2

View of the Treehouse from the course

March Southland

Friday Photo Post: Huge Waves in Cbad/Oside

photo (30)

Shop SKLZ Golf – Game Improvement Tools to Improve Distance, Accuracy, Putting and Fitness

After more than two years of living here now, one of my self-styled favorite California credos has become: When in doubt, walk the beach.

Given my recent travels, I was away from the beach for a week and thus suffering dreaded beach withdrawal. After sending out a virtual blizzard of post-PGA Show emails on Thursday, I needed to rest my fried creative brain. So I closed my laptop around 3 p.m. and pointed by sandaled toes westward.

What I witnessed on the beach over the next three hours reinforces what I tell people about CA: Its ability to wow you in an instant is part of what makes it such an incredible and, for me, inspiring place. Seemingly mundane can turn magical in a California heartbeat. And that’s what happened Thursday.

I walked out to an ocean that at first glance appeared normal. It was doing its usual rhythmic, splashy, beautiful thing … until it turned into something else: a performance.

The more I walked north, from Carlsbad’s beach to Oceanside’s, the more I noticed that the frequency of the waves was becoming more intense. The waves were literally coming in waves – in sets of four or five.

Then the size of the waves became noticeably larger, which is something I might’ve missed two years ago (Note: the blog neither surfs nor swims).

The noticeably agitated state of the ocean was doubly confirmed to me when a tank-topped California blonde male passerby and I had the following conversation:

Him: “Dude, where’s the beach?”

To translate Californian, he wasn’t asking where the beach was, because that question is just silly. We all know where the beach is.

He was asking, “Where did the beach go?” Moreover, “What’s the deal with the ocean?”

I related to him something a surfer told me near the Oceanside pier minutes earlier. Apparently hurricanes near Hawaii are sending us massive surf. The surfer was reporting 8-foot waves and said his surfer buddies were abandoning the water.

“It’s getting rough out there,” he said.

And it was. I watched the surfers for a good 10 minutes and it was like witnessing an amateur bull-riding competition. No one was staying up for more than three seconds.

You have to understand that this is really aggressive surf for Carlsbad/Oceanside.

Anyway, I tried to capture this event in pics – and nearly lost my iPhone doing it (more on that shortly).

Land-locked photogs won’t appreciate this, but taking interesting photos of the ocean isn’t that easy. You can’t just point your camera phone at the water and get great pics, which I know sounds absurd, but it’s true.

To get something not mundane of the ocean, you need two things: perspective or scale. Or both. Perspective defined: elevation (a lifeguard tower, a cliff, etc.). Scale defined: boats, rocks, people – something other than water compared to water.

Again, I know this sounds totally ridiculous, but I’m going to spare you posting about 50 boring ocean photos from yesterday that completely failed to capture what was happening to make my point.

Instead, I’ll post these, which are my amateur best. Trust me, it was a rad day to be on the beach. And, yes, that’s the first time I’ve ever used rad in a blog post. I was saving it. And today is supposed to be a rad ocean day as well. Now to the swell swells …

enterance

This is the one of the entrances to Carlsbad beach. As the cops say, “There’s nothing to see here.” Well, nothing except normal, beautiful, awesome. This is what it looks like nearly every day.

pierdistance

This photo probably looks like nothing, but trust me, it’s something. This was the first indication of more frequent waves than usual.

pier

This is what a pier getting pounded looks like. And it took the perspective of the pier to really properly capture what was going on.

croppier

See?

iphone

And this is what it looks like when you nearly lose your iPhone in the ocean. I had waded out into the water a bit to try to get a closer perspective on the pier. In that instant, a ropey strand of kelp washed up and wrapped around my ankles like a python. I briefly couldn’t move and then a wave hit me waist high and nearly took me out.

I immediately retreated to the beach. I have no business being in a turbid Pacific Ocean.

frothyrocks

Some of us stopped to appreciate what was going on. But many others just kept on doing their California thing, meaning …

runner

Running.

reader

Reading.

walk

And walking where you’d normally walk despite the fact that normally dry area is now engulfed in waves. This isn’t the best photo to show that, but it’s my best pic of the horizon. Photo editors have to make these sorts of tough calls. That’s what the blog pays me for. Or, more accurately, doesn’t pay me for.

rockswaves

And this concludes our virtual day at the beach. If I get something good later, I’ll update and, as always, keep you posted.

Save Up to 57% at the TaylorMade Outlet + Free Shipping for a Limited Time!

JC Golf Spotlight Hole: No. 17 at Encinitas Ranch

Image

Photo courtesy of JC Golf

There are ocean views from 11 holes at Encinitas Ranch, but water – not the ocean – only actually comes into play on three.

The one hole where you get the most of both is No. 17.

Played against an expansive backdrop of the Pacific Ocean, and often into an ocean breeze, the par-3 17th lurks as potential stumbling blocking toward the end of your round.

Playing to 185 yards from the blues and 160 from the white, the large pond to the right has attracted its share of tee shots over the years. But with the large green to hit and the bailout area to the left, that doesn’t have to be you.

Encinitas Ranch General Manager Erik Johnson says people playing the hole for the first time make a common mistake that leads to bad outcomes.

“You don’t want to go at the right side of that green, even when the pin is over there,” he says. “That doesn’t allow enough room for your miss, and the next thing you know your shot is high, right and caught in the wind and you’re wet.”

(FYI: If your ball finds the lake, the drop zone is about 50 yards from the left front of the green.)

When I played the hole recently, I felt my felt my threesome had a fairly representative experience. My first playing partner’s tee shot met the fate described above. My other partner missed the green short and left.

Having my own history with this hole, I chose to club up and ignore the front pin and try to hit the middle of the green. My hybrid carried beyond the back of the green and right, where I discovered a collection area I didn’t know existed.

The two of us who stayed dry off the tee both got up and down for par. Our third impressively scrambled to save bogey.

We played the hole around 4 p.m., the time when Johnson says the hole is usually play its toughest.

“About 10 or 11 in the morning that prevailing wind kicks up,” he says. “It starts out as about one club and then can become two, especially when the pin is in the back. And people don’t factor in that as the day gets cooler, the fall doesn’t fly as far, so you might lose 10 yards off your 5-iron.”

And from the back tees, largely because of the wind, this hole is a long iron for most players, including Johnson.

“The best strategy I’ve come up with is to take a little bit more club, choke down and always play to the left-hand side of the green,” he says. “I’m going to resign myself to a two-putt or getting up and down if I miss the green.

“But that chip isn’t a gimme. It challenges people.”

No. 17 follows a short par-4 and leads into the par-5 18th. Johnson says there’s a chance for a strong close to your round -as long you don’t let it get away at 17.

“What you really don’t want is double bogey or worse,” he says. “Four is a pretty OK score on 17 and three can feel like a birdie.”

Tom Watson lamented on Twitter recently – yes, Tom Watson is on Twitter – that players who are smartly willing to lay up on tough par-4s and -5s, stubbornly won’t use the same approach on a par-3.

If you really struggle with this hole, that might be something to consider here.

Feel free to share your successes, struggles and strategies for No. 17, especially if you’ve ever made an ace here. JC Golf would love to hear about your experiences with this challenging par-3.

You can also find this post at jcgolf.com, where you can also book a lesson or a tee time at one of their six North County courses.

Golf Day Trip: San Clemente Muni

Image

While playing Monarch Beach last spring, I received a course recommendation from two Orange County playing partners that stuck with me: the municipal course at San Clemente.

I had been in California for eight months and that one was new to me, even though I’d played in the San Clemente area before.

“Ocean views, great value and a course that will surprise you,” they said. Intrigued, I filed it away for future exploration.

Well, on Monday, I realized my afternoon was open and decided it was a good day for a break from my regular course rotation and recalled San Clemente muni.

What I discovered was a course that fit what I was told to a T and certainly exceeded my expectations. I’ll definitely be back and want to relay to you a little of what makes this course special.

For this feature, I’ll suspend the course review format and just give you an overview, some course history and a few hole highlights.

The course begins in a very familiar muni-style – wide, straight, flat – for the first five holes, but then gradually morphs into a different course and ultimately a drastically different, and unexpected, experience on the back.

I was fortunate to walk on with two playing partners who were very familiar with the course and its history, which I knew very little prior of to Monday.

Here’s a little of the history, courtesy of the course’s web site:

The San Clemente Golf Club has long been a favorite of Southern California golfers. Built by renowned Golf Course Architect William “Billy” Bell on land donated by city founder Ole Hanson, the course consisted of nine holes on opening day in 1930, with what is now the back nine being added in 1955.

         Municipally owned and operated since its inception, the San Clemente Golf Club is aptly known as the “Pride of the Pacific.”

The golf course boasts sweeping ocean views, interesting elevation changes, a challenging-yet-fun layout reminiscent of the golden age of golf, and best of all, reasonable green fees.

         The moderating influence of the Pacific Ocean ensures frost-free winters and cool summer breezes. Popular from its very beginning, San Clemente now hosts roughly 95,000 rounds per year, making the “muni” one of the most popular courses anywhere.            

Those familiar with California golf architecture will recognize William Bell, the designer of many California public courses, including, most notably, Torrey Pines.

Like I said, the first five holes are fairly straightforward, but then you get to six, which is a dogleg right, uphill par-4. It’s the first time you really have to work the ball and, well, being in the trees on the left, I had my work cut for me.  This hole finishes next to the clubhouse and then you cross the road and discover three holes that foreshadow the experience you get on the back.

There’s an uphill par-5 going out that plays longer than the 485 on the card, and then you’re pointed back toward the coast and get your first true glimpse of the ocean. It provides the backdrop for a whole lot of golf hole – a 419-yard par-4 into an ocean breeze and buffeted by bunkers. Given what you’ve played up until now, it’s a bit jarring to be faced with such a stiff test, but it serves notice that the course plans to challenge you from here on out.

The front nine closes with a terrific little 165-yard (from the blues) par-3 with an undulating green, different than what you’ve mostly played up to know and more like what you’ll find on the back. I underestimated the wind here and flew the green, leaving me a delicate pitch back that stopped well below the hole. (Note: The greens became deceivingly quick on the second nine. Our group didn’t drop many putts.)

Previewing the back, one of my playing partners told me, “You’ve got some very special golf holes coming up.” And after three holes that were more reminiscent of the start of the course, he was right.

Here’s a hole-by-hole of 13 to the finish (yardages from the blue tees):

No. 13, 205-yard par-3: You’ve got the ocean breeze at your back as you stand looking at a fairway that’s steeply sloped on the left side and will kick your ball right. I hit what felt like a flushed 5-iron and came up short. Apparently the hole plays a bit long, too.

         No. 14, 304-yard par-4: Yes, you read that right – 304, seemingly a baby par-4, or is it? Hardly. The whole plays dead uphill through a somewhat narrow fairway to a green surrounded by bunkers. Play for placement here. Iron or hybrid off the tee and then get ready for an approach to a green that slopes away from you. Not all what you’d expect from just looking at the scorecard and the beginning of a golf roller-coaster ride to the finish.

Image

No. 15, 196-yard par-3: An elevated par-3, and the course’s signature hole. And what a view. Again, ocean breeze at your back and gorgeous green and palm trees below. I decided not to club down here and didn’t regret it. I needed every yard and found a little bail-out area right for an up-and-down par. Part of the reward for reaching the green here is that you get your first fully panoramic view of the ocean. And it’s stunning.

No. 16, 387-yard par-4: The trickiest tee shot on the back as it’s a dog-leg left with a huge cluster of trees blocking the middle of the fairway. You can glimpse the green to the left. You choices: Carry a chasm 250 yards and try to get close, or hit it out right and play safe but have a long approach.

What you don’t see from the tee is the drastic drop off in the middle of the fairway. You need to layup to about 150 yards to avoid having a downhill lie to an elevated green. A lot going on here. Choose wisely.

No. 17, 358-yard par-4: The back closes with parallel par-4s. As is often my fate with parallel holes, I found the opposite fairway and ended up chopping out of thick grass. Thus, I recommend hitting the fairway here and taking the easy road on this uphill hole.

Image

     No. 18, 408-yard par-4: You close your round with the ocean on your right and the clubhouse in the distance, a fantastic finishing panorama. It’s a great finishing hole that slopes downhill at around 150 yards to reward big hitters. Provides a great chance for a finishing birdie if you sink that last slick putt.

Since we teed off around 2, when walked off, the sun was setting behind San Clemente Island, which you can get a glimpse of from the practice putting green. It was the last beautiful surprise in a round full of them. I truly enjoyed my round here and will surely be back.