Sunday, August 06, 2006

half moon bay golf links

the view this afternoon from the 16th tee at the Ocean Course at Half Moon BayI don’t write about golf much. That is probably because I haven’t been playing nearly as often as is required to improve my game. But, this weekend was a good weekend. I enjoyed a round at the Olympic Club with James and, this afternoon, I joined Brian and Stuart at the Ocean Course at Half Moon Bay.

There are two 18-hole, public-play courses associated with the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Half Moon Bay. The Old Course is a traditional layout built over 30 years ago by Arnold Palmer. Its 7,000 yard length provides plenty of challenges, but most of the front 9 wanders through a housing development and only the 17th and 18th holes have dramatic ocean views.

In contrast, the coastline is visible on every hole of the appropriately named Ocean Course, my favorite of the two 18s. Built 9 years ago, the newer course is links style and wide open. On most holes you can keep driver in your hand as property boundaries and heather create the only real obstacles.

There are 5 sets of tees making the walkable Ocean Course playable by golfers of many skill levels. Even from the back the course is not long. The 5 par 3s are all medium length and, with good drives, 3 of the 5 par 5s are reachable in 2. However, well-maintained bunkers and lots of danger surround the small, heavily contoured greens, so accuracy is required. (satellite view)

Rounds at Half Moon Bay are expensive ($130 weekdays, $150 weekends), but on days when the weather is clear it is wonderful experience. It is hard to desribe how beautiful the cliffside 16th, 17th and 18th holes are (they are pictured above), and the pace of play is fantastic. Despite our Sunday 11a tee time, we were never waiting on the 2-some in front and we never saw the 4-some behind us. We made it around in 4 hours and 15 minutes, but we could have finished sooner if I made more putts or stopped less to take pictures.

Half Moon Bay Golf Links: 2 Miramontes Point Rd, Half Moon Bay, CA (650) 726-6384