Day 5 – Maderas Golf Club www.maderasgolf.com
When I think of how I am going to describe the golf day or more like golf “experience” at Maderas Golf Club in Poway, California I am torn between telling it like it really is or perhaps telling it like I think I the course would want me to tell it. The golf marketing package they offer and which I have in my files has a highlight sheet entitled “Top 100 Reasons Why Maderas Is A Golf Digests Top 100 Greatest Courses Winner”. Multiple winner as a matter of fact, justifiably so. By the fact that the Maderas course itself promotes Reason #85 – Its A Must Play Course For Real Golfers Visiting The San Diego Area and Reason #18 – The Course Is Designed to Be A Challenging Track That Good Players Will Want To Play Again and Again is in no way vague in telling you, that weekend hackers need not apply. It allows me to then choose to tell you how it really is. Let me tell you why and this is a very positive statement I write with a big smile on my face, as I loved Maderas. I am a solid 9 handicap and playing for the 6th straight day so I was not the least bit rusty. I shot 89 from the blue tees which plays at 6670 yards. The 2 fellows from Modesto that played with us, Chad and Rich had some good shots but like me right off the bat should have played from the white tees at 6368 yards. They didn’t break 100, trust me.One of the great courses in my home area Morningstar Golf Course, a qualifying course for the Canadian PGA Tour has a combined yardage on the scorecard of two different sets of tee boxes you can play in one round tempering the really tough holes and creating a really playable fairer round. Now 99% of male golfers would never play the forward tees on any course without a big fuss but if you played Maderas from the White tees and then on holes 5, 12, 15, and 16 you played from the Green “forward “tees you would reduce the length to a very challenging 6030 yards. Combined with very the large, quick, undulating multi-tiered greens, enormous sculptured bunkers and numerous side hole lies that exist off the fairways it would certainly speed up play and also make the end result more akin to golf making you smile than grit your teeth. Personally I couldn’t care less if they have Reason #9 – Two Humidors Well-Stocked With Premium Cigars as I am a non smoker or Reason # 13 Complimentary Locally Roasted Coffee Before Your Morning Tee Time as I detest coffee but these are many of the 100 reasons that cater to all types of people.The remaining 96 reasons are valid, worthwhile and solid endorsements of this world class facility.
What also occurred on the day was the impossible task for my lovely and petite lady Myra, who at 100 lbs. doesn’t hit shots of 150 yards in the air, which is often required on some of the forced carries at Maderas. She opted not to play a number of holes. What does occur though throughout the course are incredible photo opportunities and as she stated she would have had more pleasure in photographing the course from various angles all the while enjoying riding on one of the luxurious Club Car Precedent power carts equipped with padded bucket seats and watching me play this masterpiece. Her golf day was not a complete loss as she had one of the funniest moments of her 2 year golf career, trying to play over the water on the 9th, we joked about using the bridge to get over and lo and behold she hit her hybrid towards it and when we thought it was “put out to sea” there it was on the other side of the bridge resting peacefully.
Your day jaw dropping day begins before you get to the parking lot as not only is there one Maderas Golf Club entrance sign but halfway up the entrance road there is a second one, both made from spanish style brick and tile work.The clubhouse is absolutely magnificent inside and out, with marble in the washrooms and stunning photographs and art work throughout. The pro shop is immaculate, of the highest standard and the quality of every item is second to none. Complimentary bowls of wooden golf tees, bottles of water on ice in your cart cooler and fresh warm face towels to wipe yourself off as you finish are glorious touches.
2 practice putting greens, a dedicated chipping area and a superb practice range are other aspects that reek, 5 star, world class and best of. Be aware though, play this course if you are a really capable and keen golfer, it will be an experience of a lifetime, if you lack, hack or whack you will crack.
With the natural streams running throughout and the unique desert vegetation the setting is remarkable by any standard. For the convenience of the golfer the point at which you are allowed to come off the cart paths and onto the fairways are marked with 2 wooden posts and the ever present “barber poles” at 150 yards are easily visible and very necessary. Ball placement and course management are a must and if you really want to get an added edge on playing well I would definitely hire one of the trained caddies.
If not for anything but helping read the tricky greens. I had an 8 foot and 12 foot putt for birdies on back to back holes and never got the ball within a foot of the hole, misreading both terribly. As an adept putter with 39 putts over all, 10 more than my average that is where I would have benefited the most. My only birdie occurred on the outstanding Par 5, 526 yard 14th hole which included an uphill, blind approach shot over a small ravine. Even the 3 foot putt I had was a tricky little right to left breaker.
Now this course may seem elitist and some might even suggest snobbish, with its multi million dollar homes perched on bluffs high above the course and equally as impressive and sprawling mansions adjacent to a few of the fairways. I wrote down solid 9 out of 10’s in my notebook while playing Maderas for all the aspects of the course maintenance, exquisite greens cut to PGA standards with walk behind mowers, manicured bunkers with tanned silica sand, fairways cut to the perfect playing height, tee boxes dyed green in winter to add to their appeal and even the dormant bermuda rough was impeccable, for rough. Credit here goes to the very talented Director of Agronomy, Patrick Reilly and his greens keeping team.
What prevented it from being listed as a den of rudeness and snobbery were the staff we met. Our host, General Manager Michael Flickinger was in short a true gentlemen coming out of his office not just to greet us but to talk about the course and to apologize for not having more time to chat , an important marketing meeting away from the course beckoned him. Assistant Golf Professional Dennis Dunne who greeted us in the pro shop was a real sharp and friendly guy and we spent more than a few minutes getting to know him before and after the round. Jeff Parkinson, the starter made all of us feel very relaxed and welcome and Alex one of the outside pro shop staff deserved the $5 tip I gave him for nothing more than just his friendly warm nature. It didn’t stop there as out on the course Kirstin a very pretty and bubbly young lady made some spicy caesars for the other guys and poured a nice cool O’Douls for Myra and me.
On this 18 degree sunny and lightly breezy day we experienced quality of the highest level and challenges to our skill at an even higher one. It was truly worthy of its impeccable rating and accolades but as stated in Reasons #85 and #18 its for “Real” golfers and “Good” golfers which might just be better put as “Real Good Golfers”.
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Within an hour’s drive of Central Alberta’s main hub Red Deer, you will find 6 outstanding golf courses and 5 friendly host hotels. If we had to choose one word to describe golf in Central Alberta, it would probably come down to a coin toss between “variety” and “value”.
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