stanford university golf course
Brad’s father likes to golf. In fact, he loves playing the game almost as much as he loves talking about the game. We hadn’t played together in a number of years, though, and quite of bit of trash talk had been exchanged since our last match. Brad, of course, has fueled the rivalry, adding Don King-like hype to our showdown.
Our last epic battle was in Michigan so today we played on my home course. The Stanford University Golf Course was designed in 1929 by George Thomas and William Bell. Bell and Thomas built some of California’s best tracks in the 1920’s and 30’s including PGA stops Torrey Pines and Riviera Country Club, the ultra-exclusive Los Angeles and Bel-Air Country Clubs and the delightful layout at the Ojai Valley Inn.
Stanford’s layout is natural and beautiful. The holes wander past majestic oaks and back around San Francisquito Creek. Elevated tee boxes provide an intimidating view on the first hole and amazing vistas of the Bay Area throughout much of the hilly back 9. On a clear day, you can see San Francisco and Oakland from 18 tee.
Stanford is not long by modern standards (6727 from the tips), but it is challenging (70 par, 73.0 rating, 137 slope). The 3’s and 5’s are manageable in length, and there are several short par 4s (9, 11 and 15). However, the remaining 4’s demand long tee shots at 483, 447, 429, 444, 473, 424 and 457 yards each, and the course is kept soft to defend against modern technology.
I could continue to gush about my favorite course and its interesting history for pages. I’ve played it hundreds of times and I still marvel at the purity of its design, but back to the match…
I was a bit nervous on the first tee box. Warm-up at the range hadn’t gone well, and Brad’s dad was already in my head with his patented psychological warfare. Fortunately, par was good enough to win the first hole, and with a 1 up advantage I relaxed and started to golf. My driving was outstanding (10 of 13 fairways), and having to follow those bombs must have put a lot of pressure on my opponent.
The Buzzard was a gamer, though. He played the par 3’s well and pulled even after the 4th hole. He was battling a bad back, yet after going 3 down on 9 he didn’t quit. His precision from inside 140, his chipping (he almost holed out 3 times) and my putter (36 putts) allowed him to claw back to 1 down after 13. Unfortunately for him, my perfectly struck 185 yard 5-iron on 14 closed the door on his chances. Pars on 15 extended the match, but I was hitting too well not to dominate on 16. Match over: 3 and 2.
My thanks to the Allen for a great afternoon and to Penny and Allen for a marvelous evening. Enjoy the rest of your trip and I look forward to your next visit.