By Mike Perez
RLACEI Golf Committee Chair
Pacific Grove is just south of Monterey and just north of the 17-Mile Drive, famous for the Pebble Beach Golf courses. I played this course Nov. 2, and after enjoying an incredible experience there, I thought I’d share it with you.
To begin, they say it’s a golf links course, but it plays more like a regular course. The first nine holes of the course are downplayed as not being very remarkable, but to an LA native, with the beautiful fairways, groups of deer on the course, fresh ocean breezes, sea birds flying above and wonderful homes surrounding the fairways, it was wonderful.
Holes 10 through 18 were incredible. The beauty of the ocean vistas, the pure air and smell of the native plants and ocean air as you drive through and around dunes was a great experience, and one I look forward to repeating more than once.
The course is 5,571 yards playing from the whites. For comparison purposes, the Alhambra course where RLACEI has its annual tournament plays 4,886 from the whites. A hole-by-hole description can be found at https://www.playpacificgrove.com/course/hole-by-hole-descriptions
I had the benefit of playing with a local, Marley, who was very helpful by showing me landmarks to use for my drives. I think my favorite was on number 12 where he advised me to “aim left of the red buoy out there in the ocean.” To be frank, it would have been a more difficult course without his advice, but the above hole-by-hole description was also very helpful. And, you know when you play at a new course the first time, playing is an education, not unlike a first date.
I won’t go over each hole, but aside from #12 described above, the first hole is a 146 par 3, a nice way to start the round. Number 17 is also a par 3, 138 from the whites, but parallels Ocean View Boulevard. What a wonderful place as you near the end of the round. There’s a boardwalk right across a small street and below it the tide pools; beyond that there are large boulders and rock formations where ocean birds roost and fly about, with occasional sea otters munching on mussels and clams. Additionally, the driving range is nestled between the 17th green and the 18th tee box; there is parking right across the street and a credit card buys the range balls from an unattended shack.
Aside from golf, things to do in the area include the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Cannery Row, Monterey Wharf, Point Pinos Lighthouse and the famous Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary, which is very close to the golf course (the Club offers discounts to several area attractions, including the aquarium). Finally, if you are in the area, visit Point Lobos State Reserve – walking along the pathways overlooking the Pacific Ocean offers some of the best natural views I’ve ever experienced.
Email me at Michael.Perez@RLACEI.org and let me know if you’ve played a course I should try out. Keep it on the short grass!