NCGA Golf

Spring 2018

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the California Golf Club arguably one of the golf-rich state's five finest courses for the first time in history," wrote Ran Morrissett, co-founder of Golf Club Atlas, a popular golf course architecture blog. To single out a hole for praise in the Cal Club restoration seems unfair to the others, but three of the new holes are among the finest of the lot – No. 3 arguably the pretti- est, No. 7 a classic risk-reward hole and No. 8 a challenging par 3. Already, they share a timeless quality, their layouts tailored to the existing terrain, each with its own char- acter, and leading to members actively debating which of the nines is better. Cal Club requires thought and finesse, not just brute strength like too many mod- ern layouts. It demands full control of all the shots. The line of bunkering, the swinging fairways and the green entrances make the player choose a line of attack or a position of safety. "You've got plenty of room to drive the ball, but you've got to create angles," Ober- holser said. "It went from being a U.S. Open-style course, where you'd better be in the fairway, to an Augusta National-style course, where the options are endless." It's easy to be unnerved by 144 bunkers democratically sprinkled throughout the course as well as the speed and slope of the undulating greens. Miss them and an infi- nite variety of shots must be mastered to recover. Most of all, Cal Club is a course that leaves you wanting to return for more, and feeds the golfer's soul like few others. In a testament to how well the restoration has been received, the course re-entered the Golfweek's Best Top 100 Classic Courses list and soared to No. 36 in 2017, and No. 73 on Golf Magazine'sWorld list. "For most of its history, the Cal Club clearly played third fiddle to Olympic and San Francisco (Golf Club). But following a Kyle Phillips re-do, many feel this layout is now near-equal to its more venerated neighbors," wrote Golf Magazine in its as- sessment. "Yanking out trees to restore city skyline and mountain views and reinstalling the sprawling, multi-lobed MacKenzie bunkers have elevated the Cal Club to rarefied air." In other words, Cal Club is primed for its next 100 years. Head golf professional Matt Viguerie calls the re-imagined third hole by Kyle Phillips t he prettiest hole at Cal Club.

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