The Fairmont Grand Del Mar – San Diego, California

 5200 Grand Del Mar Way, San Diego, CA Phone: (858) 314-1930

In December 2015, our final day of golfing was cancelled due to some unseasonably torrential rain that occurred while we were in the San Diego area. Some 13 months later we returned  to finish what we started, playing The Grand Club  at the palatial Fairmont Grand Del Mar just north of San Diego. As it required a 2 1/2 hour drive  to get to the resort from Palm Springs, we opted to stay over the first night so we didn’t have to commute the next day to make our 10 AM tee time. We arrived just after lunchtime and after being greeted by a very efficient and polished young man, Joshua, at the reception counter, we went and checked out the grounds and  many of the interior areas of this opulently decorated hotel. As Myra and I, at separate times  in our lives, have travelled to Italy the Mediterranean theme of the resort was replicated near perfection.  Beautiful tapestries hung from walls, an array of significant marble  and ornate gilded ironwork was positioned in all areas of the property.  It had a level of class that reminded me of the opulence of the Palace de Versailles just outside of Paris, France.

Fairmont Grand del Mar

The view of the gardens from our balcony

Please check out the link to the Fairmont Grand Del Mar website included above to get a grasp of the quality of this resort.  We have also included a few more personal photos to highlight what we did while there which included more than just the incredible 18 holes of golf on day two.
 In 2008, I spent nine months working at the Fairmont Saint Andrews in Saint Andrews, Scotland, so I had a very  good sense of what the service would be like at this Fairmont icon. Staff members from front-end reception through to the valet team, restaurant hosts and hostesses  as well as grounds crew members and others we just smiled at in passing were in top form.

 So after a day and evening that included a very leisurely and enjoyable walk around the resort on nicely groomed paths, as well as a couple of relaxing meals up at The Clubhouse Grill  restaurant next to the golf pro shop, off  to our gorgeous king bedroom room we went.

Our day one walk included Myra posing casually in a stationary coach.

Well, we cuddled up on the sofa and a knock came on the door not once, but twice. Firstly, the turndown service was offered a accompanied by lovely chocolates. A short time later fresh fruit on a plate was delivered.

Bill with his feet up and in total bliss.

At this rate we fully expected someone to whisper under the crack of the door ” Good night Mr. and Mrs. Flower, sleep well”.

The practice range with actual greens for target greens

The next morning feeling more than satisfied after a delicious breakfast,  we ventured up to the pro shop a few hundred yards from the hotel entrance to take part in our eagerly anticipated day on the Tom Fazio masterpiece that is The Grand Golf Club.
 After a brief but warm welcome from Adam in the pro shop, we shared a few pleasantries with one of the members Debbie along with her canine companion Chase .

Looking up the fairway on the opening hole a gentle Par 4

Part of the Fairmont experience is having the expertise of a qualified forecaddie when playing the course. Warmed up and ready for action after a thorough practice session at the range our forecaddie “Brew”  accompanied us to the first tee. A 10 year veteran of caddying at the Grand Club, as well as other notable courses in the San Diego area, this bright and engaging man of 32 years was a bonus to our golfing experience.  The former San Diego State golf team member, who still possesses a scratch handicap, mixed his warm personality in with his positive upbeat and  knowledgable golf mind.

Bill putting from off the green for eagle on the Par 4 5th hole

This was Myra’s second opportunity to have the benefit of a forecaddie, and Brew’s encouragement and support guided her around the golf course allowing her to enjoy it and play some very good quality shots. My nagging shoulder injury and sore lower back were not my allies on this day, but a four footer for birdie on the second hole impressed even this very talented forecaddie.  The golf course, lying  within its own micro-ecosystem, had a blend of holes down in valleys and others where elevated tees provided spectacular views of the surrounding holes and entire resort.

Hole 6, the first Par 3 153 yards from the blue tees

There were some beautiful par threes complemented by some very difficult long par fives and of course par four’s of lengths from 260 up to 440 yards.The impeccable greens were running fast but fair and even a 200 yard hybrid spun and stopped within 2 feet of my pitch mark.

One of the panoramic views of the hotel

The round flowed at a very relaxing pace,  much to the credit of Brew whose club selection and tips aided us very well.

Don’t even think of it, 17 a Par 3 that is 242 over water,

We came to the 18th hole in awe of the spectacular finish that awaited us. A well guarded elevated green with the most beautiful waterfall feature off to the right was almost too alluring to concentrate on playing properly.

The set up looks good, the result not so much on the amazing home hole Par 4 18th

 We said our farewells to Brew and then headed in to meet our host, Director of Golf, Shawn Cox who is a proud University of Washington alumni. We were both gushing with praise about the entire golf experience, not just the playing aspect but the treatment from all of the people involved.  As busy a fellow as Shawn is, he seem to be in no hurry to send us off and we shared some very warm stories about our golf day with him. We also marvelled at the photograph from the 1992 Rose Bowl game on his wall that he played in  and admired a beautiful picture of his wife and two children that he shared with us. Golfing isn’t necessarily about the ball, the score and the course.  For Myra and me, it is more about the people we get to meet and engage with and on that note this day was completely gratifying. Eric in the Pro Shop, Dennis an aspiring Assistant Golf Professional in the cart area and the pretty Nicole on the beverage cart were also  partly responsible for this feeling. No doubt if you choose the Fairmont Grand Del Mar for a brief or lengthy stay and obviously world-class golfing,  we can assure you much of the same treatment .

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Bill Flower

Bill Flower is a passionate golfer and lover of the game who lives on Vancouver Island in Parksville, BC. He has played the game since the age of 10 and has spent many years in the golf business ranging from full time teaching pro to part time professional caddy, golf tour operator and golf writer. He loves to travel with his wife Myra throughout the US and Canada playing and reviewing golf courses of all styles. To date he has reviewed over 125 golf courses.

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