Sunday, January 1, 2006
From the Monterey Peninsula to San Diego, discover golf in the Golden StateWithin the nation’s most populated state lies some of the best golf resorts in the United States. The terrain varies greatly from one tip of this long region to the other, as does the weather—from craggy, seaside links to rolling, inland meadows; from 80 degrees and sunny to dense fog and biting wind. But one thing is certain wherever you choose to visit: It doesn’t get much better than the Pacific Coast when it comes to top-quality golf resorts.
The California coast below San Francisco presents a golfer a range of excellent choices. Just 30 minutes south of San Francisco is Half Moon Bay, where a Ritz-Carlton and two affiliated oceanfront golf courses add a splash of elegance to a charming farming and fishing town. On scenic Monterey Bay golfers find the Holy Grail of U.S. golf resorts, Pebble Beach. With several “it-doesn’t-get-any-better-than-this” courses in the Del Monte Forest—Pebble Beach Golf Links, Spyglass and The Links at Spanish Bay among them—it’s easy to overlook the Monterey Peninsula’s other fine designs. But out in Carmel Valley, Quail Lodge and Carmel Valley Ranch have been pleasing guests for years with their sunnier weather and serene layouts.
Once you hit Southern California, look to Orange County and San Diego County to provide the best resorts offerings. The courses in this southern part of the Pacific region are less tree-lined than those found in northern California and Oregon. Instead, gently rolling hills and panoramic views are the norm. Golfers find themselves shooting over arroyos and playing through golden canyons. The weather is typically warmer too.
Along the Newport coast, the two Tom Fazio designs at Pelican Hill fit this description. They are among the most desirable upscale public layouts on the West Coast. Nearby in Dana Point are Monarch Beach and the affiliated St. Regis Monarch Beach Hotel. The Dana Point and Laguna Beach area is a favorite with nongolfers, too, as shopping, art galleries, spas and divine cuisine are in abundance.
Further south still, golfers can play to their heart’s delight at Four Seasons Aviara, La Costa and Torrey Pines—three of the top resorts in the United States, all located within 20 minutes of each other.
With such a wide and diverse selection of courses and resorts, it can be hard to choose. Clearly, multiple visits to the Pacific Region are required to make a dent in your “must-play” list.
When To Go
California doesn’t experience a true cold season, as temperatures remain comfortable all year long. That being said, The Sunshine State does endure its fair share of rainfall, typically December through March. Winter temperatures average in the low to upper 60s (degrees F), with summer months nearing the mid-90s in some regions. All in all, it’s never a bad time to plan a visit.
Considering that the freeway systems of California are among the nation’s most complex, it’s just as important to know not only where you’re going, but how to get there.
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