Stunning views from the 4th greenMore views from the 10th greenFairway bunker at the 14th
If you take the same route that I do from Northwood, you end up on a beautiful coastal road leading down to Bodega Bay. This is where part of the famous Alfred Hitchcock film The Birds was filmed, and I must admit at times I feel like screaming myself while playing this stunning Robert Trent Jones Jnr track, but more on that later.
The course was built in two nines, the second nine being built some 10 years after the first and sitting on land right by the ocean. There are some spectacular views, none more so than when you’re standing on the fifth tee overlooking the fourth green and looking out to the Pacific Ocean and Bodega Bay. It really is a stunning sight and the foghorn at the point of the bay sounding every 30 seconds or so only adds to its unique and rugged beauty.
But for me that beauty has been somewhat tarnished by the properties that not only surround the course but line nearly every hole. Actually it’s only eleven of the holes, but the impression you get is every hole because the buildings can be claustrophobically close. That’s the only negative comment I have about the course. Apart from that, it’s a magnificent track. You have everything here – the beautiful setting and great views, and throw a Robert Trent Jones Jnr course into the mix and you can forgive the housing.
At this moment in time a new pro-shop is being built so the course is playing back to front, but the original finishing stretch from 16-18 is a great run of holes. The 16th is a drivable par-4 – unless the wind off the sea comes straight at you – over a protected reedbed and straight out to sea. There are only the dunes between the green and the shoreline. Unless you’re carrying you have to leave your buggy and take the required clubs with you to play the par-3 17th. All the yardages are posted and trolleys are provided if you want to take all your clubs across the wooden footpath that meanders through the reedbed.
The 17th as you can imagine can play anything from a wedge to 3-iron depending on the wind and today it’s truly up and against and I hit a 4-iron. The reeds come into play again, running round and in front of the green. It also has four bunkers protecting it and the hill on the right, so you really need to hit the dance floor or you could be racking up a big score.
The 18th is 461 yards in length, but you have to hit an iron to the top of a hill, then play your second shot again out towards the sea with the green below. It’s a tough hole to finish on and if you do try to take it on with a driver you’ll lose your ball or be hacking round in a lot of growth and wreck your card when you’d done so well to make it this far!