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