By by: Nancy Howard
If our current heat and the overseeding schedules have you wondering where to flee for some cool air and a course not being overhauled, I have the perfect golf getaway for you! Just a short hop and a skip away via air and landing in Orange County/John Wayne Airport, Monarch Beach Golf Links in Dana Point, California is the place for you and your golfing buddies to run. Southwest is offering awesomely low fares and flights are frequent, with your destination just minutes away from the airport.
Monarch Beach Golf Links is a sight to behold, with fairways on the Pacific Ocean and winding through hillsides with undulating fairways, plenty of bunkering and water, and elevation changes..all the challenges and beauty you would expect on a California links course. Plus, the temperature and cool breezes cause the most relaxing effect on us heat weary Zonies. They are a pure joy!!
The Course is located on the St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort, which is spectacular in its own right. These two combined venues offer an outstanding golf getaway in style and serene luxury.
Designed by Robert Trent Jones, Jr., (you know you are in for a challenge), and opening in 1983, Monarch Beach Golf Links has a decorated history having been a past host venue of the Hyundai Team Matches. Spectacular Pacific Ocean views with “Augusta-white” bunkering greet you from the moment you tee off. You absolutely feel the pressure of the Pros on Tour, as the first tee box is where most of the golfers are congregated waiting to start their rounds. It’s a pure adrenaline rush!!
Don’t let the yardage or the par 70 fool you. This course needs your total focus and definitely a second round to improve that scorecard. You’ll be putting every club in your bag to use to help you meet this awe-inspiring challenge. It’s definitely a thinking man’s round of golf.
Hole #1: Par 4, 437 from the tips. Totally intimidating from the first view off the tee box. Sloped down with water to the right and one left side bunker precisely placed while trying to avoid the water. Bunkering along the fairway on the right to uphill well protected elevated green. It’s not as bad as it looks however, absolutely need a second chance on this one just to prepare your mind for Hole #2!
Hole #3: Par 4, 315 from the tips. This hole starts your dissent to the Pacific hitting downhill to a dogleg left. It’s a risk/reward shot to take the shortcut but the better course management decision would be to hit the middle of the fairway before heading uphill to the elevated green. It’s an excellent challenge however the biggest challenge is to stay focused on your game with the ocean breezes, waves and beaches beckoning you.
Hole #7: Par 5, 612 from the tips. Absolutely, unbelievable hole! From the tee boxes we decided to close our mouths from the shock of it and stated, “It’s a jungle out there!!” After driving over the bridge your tee shot is over a steep ravine/river full of cattails and brush to a down sloping dogleg left fairway. It’s mind over matter to trust your swing. So, you make it over and feel relief that you’re safe until you see what your second shot entails. Still on a narrow, downward left sloped fairway with plenty of bunkering and trees on the right and the “jungle on your left”, you’re facing a severe dogleg left (back over the ravine/river and cattails) to a well protected, elongated green. It’s a total optical illusion, so aim left of the green, not right as there is plenty of fairway across the ravine to the left for a decent up and down to hopefully make par. Birdies on this hole? You would write home about it. Bemoaning it comes to mind but actually, you’ll be chomping at the bit for another try! I know I am, now that I know the lay of the land a little better.
Unfortunately, there’s not enough room to write about as many of the holes on the course that we wish to, which would be all of them, basically. The course is lush, the greens are spongy, hold well and putt true. Rough is thick and doesn’t give you any slack if you don’t club up to handle it.
Experiencing the challenge, it’s no wonder this course has accolades such as Golf Digest “Best Places To Play’” with 4.5 Stars (out of 5) and Golf Magazine’s Premier Golf Resort for 2012, as well as “Top 75 Best Resort Courses in North America” from Golf Digest 2012.
Visit their website for the St. Regis Monarch Beach Unlimited Golf Package, call 800.7221543 or visit www.monarchbeachgolf.com.
Being an Arizona Golfer totally “Must Play” ... it’s time for you to escape to cool oceanfront golf at Monarch Beach Golf Links.