Dating from 1924, Cal Club had a number of architectural contributors .
Initially scot Willie Locke routed the course in Southern San Francisco, but he was soon replaced by A V Macan .
Macan did a sterling job, but as was not uncommon at the time, preferred to monitor play for some time on the new course before deciding on any fairway bunkering
Eventually none other than Dr Alister McKenzie was called in to complete the task- a job in which he left an indelible mark with the genius of his work.
In the 60's Robert Trent Jones was called in to assist when a new road divided the property, however the new holes he built offered a style which conflicted somewhat with the rest of the course
Eventually in 2005 Kyle Philips undertook a major reconstruction including a number of new holes, and a return to the McKenzie style bunkering throughout the course
The result puts the course at the forefront of championship courses in the USA
We were fortunate to play Cal Club on a perfect day in November 2011, our host being President Steve Ruwe .
The greens were quick and true with more than enough movement to test the best putters .
Two putting was not easy!
The general condition of the fairways and bunkers etc was nothing less than sensational- it was only the quality of the golf played that was less than impressive...
Although the course was only around 6800 yards of the back tee (with a championship tee behind us) the constant elevation change had the effect of lengthening the course
It was not my proudest moment, golf wise, but I can advise that for the day my approach shots largely consisted of long irons and fairway woods.
So it played long for me!
No doubt I should have played a tee forward..
Nevertheless the quality of the course shone through.
Wonderful conditioning was complemented by a plethora of strategic holes.
And I just loved the bunkering throughout the course!
Notable holes include:
- hole 3, a strong par 4 from an elevated tee. The fairway sweeps around a dogleg to a impressively bunkered green
- hole 5, a short narrow uphill par 4 with a delightful green complex
- hole 7, a "Cape hole" like I have not seen before. Brilliant design to use the land like this
- hole 8, a strong downhill par 3
- hole 11, a majestic par 4 with beautifully bunkered green and clubhouse backdrop (see pic top of page)
- hole 16 a pretty "dropshot" par 3
Cal Club impressed at every level.
I am hoping to play again in better form, and perhaps off a forward tee..
President Steve is keen to see the Aussies go back and challenge he and his mates to a match, so we might just have to do that....
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