Tight driving hole at the 2nd6th fairway carves through the hillsVineyards just behind the 13th
Standing on the elevated first tee on this Greg Norman-designed track, you’re filled with a sense of awe. To be clear, it’s not the best designed hole I’ve seen but it’s a great opener and the sheer contrast between the brown surrounding hills and lush green fairways sends a shudder down my spin. The view really is that good.
The vistas all around the course really do show off the beauty of the area, and it’s jaw-dropping stuff. It’s not a track you can walk as there are some major climbs, none more so than the replica Lombard Street in San Francisco where you need to ascend from the 9th green to the 10th tee. It’s another course where all of the par-3s are well-designed holes, and apart from the third they are played from elevated tees which adds to the uniqueness.
It’s one of those courses where its beauty makes you want to play well because an ugly shot would just seem so out of place, like Shrek turning up at London Fashion Week; a course where you walk into the pro shop at the end of your round and apologise for hitting any poor shots or playing poorly, that type of track. Make sure to take your camera/iPhone with you – there are lots of photo opportunities and no doubt when you get back to the clubhouse while sampling some of the local wines you can text your friends stuck in work with shots of you posing with this stunning track as a backdrop.
Standout hole for me apart from the par-3s is the second. At 307 yards it may not sound like a toughie, but put your ball in the wrong position on this tight driving hole with its very narrow green and you could be wrecking your scorecard very early in your round. It’s hard to name the others as you stand on all of the tees having your breath taken away, so I’ll leave it for you to decide which has the most wow-factor over a well-deserved glass of the local produce in the clubhouse.