CA_Half Moon Bay Ritz Carlton Resort and Golf - June 2012
The Ritz Carlton at Half Moon Bay’s location is one of the best in America for ocean views and sunsets. Perched high up on the bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean this intimate feeling resort setting is spectacular. Thankfully because it’s part of the Marriott family we headed there for our first stop on our California Golf Tour, as we continue on our quest to golf all Marriott Golf Resorts.
The hotel included two golf courses, the Old Course and the Ocean Course. We played both of course and each had their distinct character.
The Old Course was a parkland style course and had good length, was very well manicured with super fast greens and forward friendly.The course mostly wound inland through beautiful homes. The ending hole was well worth the wait! The breathtaking view at 18 headed up toward the resort with a welcomed sight of the ocean. Overall we loved the course. Note - be sure to ask for or buy a yardage book.The scorecards do not have a map of the course, nor do the carts (same for Ocean course).
The Ocean Course was of course, more along the ocean. This links style course was also well manicured but with the native grass and fescue, accuracy is the key to success. The views are wonderfully distracting. For us, the ocean breezes were a bit more than welcomed, but we made the best of it...until 18! Ladies will be thankful for the forward friendliness. For those playing from the Blues the course ends with a Par 5 blind 200-yard uphill carry over a ravine - but with the wind blowing at 30 miles an hour it felt more like 400 yards for Jeff and thus he had to take a drop on the fairway since we had no idea where the ball went!
Although we enjoyed our rounds, because the golf courses are connected to a Ritz Carlton and for the price ($), based on all our travels we had higher expectations for service from the staff. We learned later that the golf course is not run by Marriott, so perhaps they can use a little hospitality training! We do want to mention we met a nice fellow named Nick who stirred up a mean hot chocolate to keep us warm - thanks Nick!
Be sure to enjoy a scrumptious dinner in either of the restaurants over looking the ocean views and the Old Course’s 18th hole. And depending on when you are there, dine at an hour that will allow you time to relax outside by the fire pits and watch the sunset. Blankets and s’more-making kits provided!
The next day we played The Links at Spanish Bay (for our first time). A most beautiful course with many holes along the coast the course layout is creative - especially 17 - that was a beauty of a hole. The Par 3 at 14 is also a great photo op. A smidge more difficult than Pebble - target golf is helpful if you got it in your bag! Each hole is named - be sure to get a yardage book for some tips and reasons for the names. Gabe was our Caddie and we played with Deb and Richard from Houston. There was some crazy wind during our round - especially on the last 4 holes that boarder the coast. Look below for the picture of us with the Flag being blown over - it was a bit more windy than normal!
If you don’t want to stay on the Pebble Beach complex the Monterey Marriott is less than 10 minutes away! A pretty hotel just a block from the Wharf and the beach - coincidentally Mike, Deb and Richard were also staying there. Shout out to Amanda and the staff at the hotel - thanks for the hospitality!
CA_ Desert Springs A JW Marriott Resort and Spa - June 2012
We played the beautiful golf course of the JW Marriott Resort and Spa. At only 98 - it was a “cool” afternoon in terms of the Desert - they tell us. We played a few holes with John and Luke from Tucson, AZ. They were a lot of fun, and although they were from AZ, apparently the heat is different here in the desert and they headed for the pool after 9!
The course has a ton of Palm Trees. Actually, we noticed a nice crescent design of Palm Trees surrounding most of the greens. And for our convenience there are sand traps conveniently placed so if you hit a Palm Tree your ball falls right into the trap!
A nice touch of character the Tee Hole Signs and Tee Markers carry through the clubs humming bird logo.
CA_ Indian Wells at Esmeralda Renaissance Resort. - June 2012
With one of the most beautiful clubhouses we have seen - we learned it was built just a few years ago and they certainly made some excellent architectural and décor selections. The lobby is like a hotel and the Pro Shop is huge with an extended golf and clothing store.
There are two courses, The Celebrity and The Players. The Players was closed, so we were only able to play the Celebrity. It was a beautiful course surrounded by Mountains with many picturesque opportunities. The Indian Wells logo was pulled through on the Tee signs and Tee Markers - nice small touch.
We played the back 9 with Rick and Kevin. It was great to meet them and coincidentally Kevin is in the Health and Fitness industry and is trying to do some work with Dr. Oz and Healthcorps the organization’s Sacramento office. Jeff and I volunteer for the office NYC.
It made it to triple digits and it actually did feel hotter! Just a couple of degrees made a difference. But armed with plenty of sunscreen and water - and a couple of Arnold Palmers and we were fine!
CA_ Palm Desert- Shadow Ridge - June 2012
Another beautiful desert golf course that winds through the Marriott's Shadow Ridge Villas. It's quite convenient for those staying on property. A great Marriott brand option for families with several pools and activity options to keep the kids busy - while the parents golf! The course was designed by Nick Faldo and based on other courses of his that we have played (one being Cottonwood Hills in Kansas - see our description of that under our 50-State section below), this was rather tame by comparison - we believe this was the first US course he designed.