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Monday, September 24, 2007


Torrey Pines South

7605 Yds, Par 72, Slope 143, by Bill Bell / Updated by Rees Jones

The course was not in great shape, except the greens were very fast, and soft. Cart Path Only, and it will be so until the Open.

They charge $40 for residents, and $145 for "visitors", but the service was like your average $25 muni course. They had $12 hamburgers in the restaurant, which was very nice and had great service. That was part of the Lodge, not the golf course. Nice Pro shop. The parking was down the street, next to the 9th fairway, 1.5 par 5's from the clubhouse, because they were digging up the parking lot in preparation for the Open. The signs on the street steer you to the parking lot, not the bag drop, because they don't have one. Nobody to help get you and your clubs back to the clubhouse. The driving range made Tallwood's range look like a manicured English Garden. I'm talking foot-high weeds. You hit off plastic mats. There was a sign marked with red, white, and blue flag icons indicating the distances to the various pins. All the flags on the range were yellow. People were chipping to the practice green which was clearly and multiply marked "no chipping". Let's see, what else. Oh, yes, the $40 non-refundable "booking fee" for visitors, and $40 cart fee. But $2 of the cart fee is a refundable deposit. I should have kept the cart. I guess people must have been leaving them in the parking lot, and they had to go retrieve them.

I played it from 6600 yards, and the trouble was not really in play much. (Phil hit a horrible shot to get where he did. I hit a pretty horrible pull hook on 17, and it stayed in the rough, thanks for tall rough. I guess if I hit it better, it could have reached the ravine.) From 7600 yards, where they play the tournament, the main challenge is the distance, besides the greens. Jeanie and I both hit 20-foot uphill putts that went 18 feet, and then had a 22-footer for the next one. I'm not complaining about the greens, they were quite fair, just very difficult due to the speed and the slope. And the size. I had 37 putts, and none of them could be called "bad". 10 first putts over 27 feet, only one went in (my one and only birdie, on 15) and 3 of them were 3-putts.

The point is that the design doesn't really do justice to the piece of land, which is spectacular.

It's a Bill Bell course, he did a couple of the Phoenix munis, too. The high rough is tough, but the fairways were pretty wide. The USGA could drive the winning score to +6 or so very easily by narrowing, or contouring the fairways. And cutting the par to 70, if they want to have a couple of 520-yard par 4's instead of 550 par 5's.

Later in the week, we had dinner with a woman we met in Cabo last year, who lived in Oceanside, and she said La Jolla was kind of a snooty town. That was my impression of the course management as well. It's not like she's a redneck or something, she just quit her job as President of a company to move to LA where she expects to be top dog at a family-owned company, after the owner bows out.

I just can't help but compare it to a Troon North, or a Boulders, which are always in pristine condition, and where for half the money they fall all over themselves treating you like a king.

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