Located about 100 miles north of San Francisco on the Pacific Coast, Sea Ranch is a planned community with architect designed homes in a striking coastal setting.
The Sea Ranch Golf Links was designed by noted golf architect Robert Muir Graves. The first nine holes opened for play in 1974, and a second nine was added in 1995.
Sea Ranch Golf Links has a lovely setting in a gently rolling terrain framed by mature cypress pines- all within earshot of the waves crashing on the rocky shoreline. Despite the nearness of the sea, the course only rarely acknowledges it's coastal site. The dramatic par 3 eighth hole is the signature hole, and offers glimpses of the coastline from the green.
The course is often described as a Scottish type links by the sea, but in reality that description is a stretch. The turf is firm and running like a links, and the sea is not far away. But the main feature of the course tends to be the trees. Although many of the greens are largish targets, the course plays hard because it is tight off the tee. Mature trees frame the fairways and squeeze the landing areas. At 6649 yards the course is not long (par 72), but it does require accuracy.
Notable holes include:
- the par 4 seventh hole with tee shot out of a chute of trees to a tight landing area
- the dramatic par 3 eighth hole with a tee shot over the gorge to an elevated green with sea views
- the fascinating par 4 ninth hole with rocks challenging the tee shot, trees guarding the approach, and a striking kidney shaped green. Of these the ninth hole really captured my imagination, and is the hole I would play over
Sea Ranch is not a championship links course- but it is a lovely place to play golf. The course is rarely crowded, and challenging enough for the good player, but a lovely walk for all standards of golfer. If you are headed up the coast from San Francisco stop in for a game!