La Jolla California Golf Jewel – Torrey Pines Golf Course
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What can I say? Golf is certainly not a "Game of Perfection" but Torrey Pines North and South Golf Courses, in La Jolla, California are closest to golfing perfection that I've experienced.
Every now and then extraordinary things happen to ordinary people, for me it was teeing off at Torrey Pines on one of finest Spring days Southern California has ever experienced.
The day was crystal-clear and a light sea breeze kept temperature at a refreshing 71 degrees. The grass was still lightly misted at 7:20 a.m. when they called our names to take number one tee. An anticipatory thrill of excitement made my heart beat a little faster, knowing that I was about to hit from same tee box that produced some of golf's most admired champions, including Tom Weiskopf (1968), Jack Nicklaus (1969), and more recently, Tiger Woods (1999), and Phil Mickelson (2000, 2001).
Not many people think that a state-of-mind is a matter of choice, but I can guarantee you that when you play Torrey Pines Golf Courses, designed by William Bell Sr. and completed by William Bell Jr. in 1957, your consciousness will be forever changed. Rees Jones was recently responsible for redesigning and changing championship course in 2001. By using his personal touch to already challenging play, he allowed landscape and legacy of Torrey Pines to take on a new life. The rolling bent grass greens, sweeping ocean views, and overall boundless beauty of these courses are unsurpassed.
The first hole on South Course is a tough opening hole because of its length — from white tees it's 432 yards and is straight into wind. They say you don't want to miss right off tee because trees pass bunker are thicker than on left side. Although my tee shot was a respectable 150 yards, I missed fairway and landed in rough on left side. The only painful part of playing this course is landing in rough because they are U.S. Open grade roughs. It was a good thing my state-of-mind was enamored with beauty and perfection of this world renowned "golfer's paradise," because rough was so thick that it always cost me a stroke or two just to try and get out of it.
The second hole — par 3 — allowed me to play a club off tee that left me with yardage to play my favorite approach iron to green. I had to allow for some roll towards ocean when my approach shot landed. The greens were tricky because uphill putts are slower than they appeared and always died towards ocean.
Torrey Pines has long been recognized as one of nation's foremost municipal golf facilities. Because it's a public course you can walk and carry your clubs, take a golf cart or pull cart. Because it's bounded by mountains to north and Pacific Ocean to west, seaside courses are often swept by fog, rain and chilling winds. Thank goodness I only had to deal with U.S. Open roughs. The weather was almost as perfect as my approach shot on 10th hole.