Carmel Valley Ranch

Serene beauty in the Carmel Valley

Due to the recent record-breaking rainfall, the management of The Preserve Golf Club felt it wasn’t timely for us to review their course today.  We rescheduled it for a future Monterey trip. On very short notice and at the suggestion of our new golfing friend, local PGA Golf Professional Mr. Justin Russo, we approached Carmel Valley Ranch. Within an hour of sending them an email describing what we do, Travis McCabe, Membership Services Manager, at Carmel Valley Ranch called to invite us to come and play.

Your start is a straight away fairly tight short par 4.

For the first time since we played Coronado GC down in San Diego on February 8th, we awoke to a bright, sunny, windless day. Thus, our 12:30 tee time was agreeable and very convenient to where we have been staying; the beautiful Carmel by the River RV Park which is a mere 10 minutes away.

While standing on the first hole look over the entrance road to the 4th green in all it’s majesty.

Carmel Valley Ranch is more than a golf course; it’s an all-encompassing resort complete with tennis courts, swimming pools, luxury suites, a spa and wellness center and that’s just scratching the surface. The location is tucked in between high ridges of land with the flowing waters of the Carmel River winding through it. The wildlife ranges from deer and squirrels to beautiful egrets, blue jays and wild turkeys as well as countless other songbirds.

It’s all carry to the green on the Par 3 5th hole.

At the bottom of the page is one link you must click on to give you the complete overview of this resort which will help you decide this is a must choice for a stay in the area.  Following is our review of a day of golfing on the stunning 18-hole Par 70 Pete Dye designed layout.

Running along the Carmel River to the left the exquisite Par 5 6th hole.

Our day began with a very efficient golf bag drop off service manned by young Zach. As he positioned our bags onto an awaiting power cart, we went in and were greeted by Cooper in the pro shop. Renovations were being performed which means in the next few weeks the clubhouse will have a complete facelift. It had no negative effect on us or the facility as you could still get a drink and a bite to eat.  Even the temporary washrooms were beautiful with wood paneling  and a lovely wood and granite washstand.

An impeccably designed front nine par 4 finishing hole.

Cooper was not only friendly, but very engaging. He was  from Pleasanton, CA which was ranked the wealthiest middle-sized city in the United States by the Census Bureau in 2005 and 2007.  Cooper personally knew one of my favourite golf course owners in the world, Pleasanton resident, Mr. Art Dunkley owner of Kingsbarns Golf Links in Fife, Scotland.

The amazing Par 4 11th, all downhill, can you call a golf hole “Wow’?

After we shared that connection, he wished Myra and me a most enjoyable day on the course. Fifteen minutes of warm up was enough for us as we eagerly headed to the first tee. The course starts out meandering along the valley floor and then rises up through oak groves with little room to spare. Its back tee length of 6,100 yards is not to be taken lightly.

Worth more than one look, the approach shot climbing up to the green on the 11th.

The Par 3’s are all beautiful and tempt you to hit the green. The front nine ends with a stunning Par 4 9th hole with water left and strategically shaped bunkers challenging you. The back nine begins by climbing a tight, tricky serpentine shaped Par 5.  The ascent continues up to the highest point on the course, the 11th tee. It could be a launch pad for hang gliding and what an amazing view of the green and valley below.  It was absolutely stunning and that style of hole continued for 4 more holes. It was simply breathtaking.

Who wouldn’t wave for the camera out here playing this gem.

On this beautiful and brilliant day, we both agreed that we have rarely experienced a sense of serenity like this on a golf course.  Score never mattered really, we just found ourselves appreciating  what was a magical experience. In spite of the previous rain, which created some wet areas, the grounds crew had made the course play and look great as depicted by our own photographs. Sand bunkers throughout the entire state have all been impacted by the heavy rain which has compacted the sand.

The perfectly presented green area of the Par 3 16th with a quintessential Dye bunker .

When we did hit it in a bunker, we employed our own local rule and simply fluffed up the sand with the rake. It worked fine and in the upcoming weeks the greens keeping crew will perform the same task throughout the bunkers. The forecast spring temperatures will provide heat and sun to the course which after the rains are two vital and long-awaited ingredients.

From the 18th tee box looking back down at fellow golfers approaching 17 green.

Our round flowed along smoothly like the long putts on the wonderful greens. We never once felt pressured.  Our only delays were self-imposed as we lingered on some tees in awe of the vistas of the course and surrounding landscape. We  putted out on a great finishing hole, the Par 4 18th with the clubhouse as backdrop in 3 and half hours. It was a scintillating experience and again our scores of 83 for me and Myra’s 107 were probably the most insignificant aspect of the round.

A postcard finish of the par 4 18th hole, absolutely an amazing golf hole.

What a remarkable location for an awesome golf course; no, sorry, for an awesome golf experience.

Carmel Valley Ranch
Carmel, California
(831) 620 6406

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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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