The Shore Course
Monterey Peninsula Country Club (MPCC) opened in 1926 with a Seth Raynor course now know as The Dunes course.
A second course (The Shore course) with design work by Jack Neville (of Pebble Beach fame) was added in the 50's.
In 2003 the club appointed Mike Stranz to revitalise the Shore course, and Stranz turned the course upside down, actually routing many of the holes in the reverse direction to the original design.
I am a real fan of Stranz's work. I first became aware of him with his design at Tobacco Road near Pinehurst - one of THE most fun courses I have ever played.
Unfortunately Mike Stranz died of tongue cancer and MPCC Shore course was his last project -but he leaves a legacy of spectacular, artistic golf courses.
Playing The Shore course for me was a real treat.
The Shore course starts quietly with some elegant holes through the pine trees and housing estate toward the renowned Monterey coastline.
By hole 5 the ocean is in view, and you can hear the seals, birds and rolling surf.
And this is where the Stranz influence really kicks in with a cluster of holes sculpted by a real artist.
Stranz uses dramatic bunkering to complement the rocky outcrops, cypress pines and huge marine backdrop...
MPCC is a private club, and a relatively busy one.
The course is not a championship course nor a resort course- as such it is not unnecessarily tricked up in any way.
It is challenging, strategic, gorgeously visual, and although the greens have plenty of movement and interest they are capable of being entirely fair to regular club competition players.
Unusually the configuration is five par 5's, five par 3's and eight par 4's.
The par 3's were all completely different in look and feel- with up and downhill shots in different terrain, and different lengths.
I thought they were particularly good.
Notable holes include:
- hole 5, a short beautifully bunkered par 4 with ocean backdrop
- hole 6, a strong uphill par 5 with green nestled in the rocks (see pic mid page)
- hole 7, a longish uphill par 3 to a tabletop green
- hole 8, a long par 4 to the sea- the hardest hole on the course
- hole 11, a remarkable par 3 with elevated tee nestled in the boulders. The view is sublime to a green which is shallow and wide and a tough target to hit!
- hole 12, a strong par 5 along the coast
- hole 13, an attractive, well bunkered par 4 running parallel to the beach
- hole 15, a nice par and the last coastal hole. It has a spectacular skyline green..(see pic top of page)
There were so many good holes I would hate to name a favourite - perhaps the long par 4, 15th with skyline green, or maybe the par 5, 6th with it's green sitting in a rocky promontory, or perhaps the dramatic eleventh?
Needless to say I rate MPCC Shore course highly, and enjoyed my day.
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