Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Going to (Northern) California!

NOTE: The suggested soundtrack while reading is the Led Zeppelin masterpiece Going to California, not that one-hit wonder, bubble gum pop Wave song!

The greatest band of all-time

Next Wednesday morning, I will be making my way across the continent with my wife and young son as we embark on a 12-day adventure to Northern California, our first trip to that area of the U.S.

We will fly into San Francisco on Wednesday May 22nd and spend five full days in that gorgeous city before departing south by open air vehicle, heading two hours down the coast to the lovely Monterey Peninsula. We are booked to stay in Monterey for four nights, starting on Memorial Day and from there, we'll head back up north to the Napa Valley for three more nights before making our return back home on Monday June 3rd.

The 12-day trip will be our longest vacation since the two-week honeymoon we took to Kauai back in November of 2006. Needless to say, we're beyond excited.

We have scheduled a whole bunch of sightseeing for all three areas and I'm obviously looking forward to a lot of quality time with my family but I'm equally excited about the golf I have planned while in California.

My first scheduled round will take place at the California Golf Club of San Francisco, or the Cal Club for short. This original A. Vernon Macan design saw tweaks made by noted designer Alister Mackenzie in 1927 then saw another overhaul in the mid-60's by the top designer of that era, Robert Trent Jones Sr.

The glorious Kyle Phillips redesign at the Cal Club in South San Francisco

In 2005, the club was suffering from disease on the greens and needed to do some major work, hiring Kyle Phillips to not only rebuild the greens but basically reconstruct the course, adding five new holes in the process.

The results of the work are evidently quite stunning and the course now sits 147th on Golf Digest's list of the best 200 courses in the United States.

My second round will be at the Monterey Peninsula Country Club, where I'll be playing the Shore Course. This original Robert Baldock design from 1960 was completely reconstructed in 2003 by Mike Strantz. The response from the critics was overwhelmingly positive and the Shore Course has moved way up into the top 100 courses in the United States, now sitting 66th on Golf Digest's 2013 list. The Shore Course is also one of the three courses that annually host the PGA Tour's AT&T Pebble Beach Pro Am event.

The artistry of Mike Strantz in full effect on the Shore Course at Monterey Peninsula Country Club

Speaking of which, the third course I'm playing on the trip is one of the most famous in the world. My bucket list will be one course short after this vacation, as I have a tee time at one of the world's greatest tracks, Pebble Beach Golf Links!

The gorgeous coastline is prevalent at Pebble Beach Golf Links

Pebble needs no introduction, of course but I'm elated to get the chance to finally experience this world-renowned design built by Jack Neville and Douglas Grant in 1919. So much history has been made on this links and I'm finally going to get the chance to walk the same glorious stretch of land that all the greats in the game have visited in past events.

The last round that I currently have booked is just up the coast in Santa Cruz at Pasatiempo Golf Club, a fantastic Alister Mackenzie design that's currently rated 115th in the U.S. by Golf Digest. Mackenzie made his home for many years just off one of the fairways at Pasatiempo, a testament to both his love for the course and the Santa Cruz area as well.

The par three finishing hole at Pasatiempo GC in Santa Cruz, California

Of course, you can expect to see full pictorials and writeups of all my adventures sometime upon my return. Ah, who am I kidding...I'm about a year and a half behind on my profiles so maybe I'll have them up sometime next year!

I'm sure it will be a great trip!



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