Course Review: CordeValle

March 20, 2012

Even though we claim to try to review courses that the average joe can go play, I will not try to defend reviewing CordeValle.  Spoiler: This is a favorable review.  I will preface the review with an apology:  I was so wrapped up in the experience that I forgot to take pictures.  Below are the few that I remembered to take.

This gem of a course used to be a hidden treasure of the south bay until it became home to the Frys.com Open.  One reason I was so excited to play this course was because of my own experience watching Tiger and other professionals play this course during that tournament last fall.  Full review here:  Frys.com Review.

Though the details of why I was able to play this course must remain a secret, I can assure you they would make any man jealous.  For those not so fortunate, members of the public are invited to play 5 times a year during fundraising tournaments.  Details available here:  http://www.cordevallegolf.com/golf/foundation/2012-tournament-dates.  For $150, you get two meals, logo-ed Tee prize, cart, greens fee, and forecaddie.  I don’t really think there’s a better deal in CA golf-wise.  Do it.

On to the review.

What can I say?  CordeValle is amazing.  Since  watching a Golf Destinations special on the Golf Channel (aka TV) including CordeValle and the Frys.com, I had to get out there.  The front nine opens with an easy par 4 and par 3 to get things started.

One of the things that really stood out to me about this course was the collection of par 5s.  I love them.  I think they might be the best par 5s i’ve ever played.  The par-5 third hole is one of the most challenging par 5s I think I have ever played.  The hole requires a long tee shot into a narrow landing area.  Too long though, and you might run into the hazard that cuts across the middle of the hole and runs up the left side.  The left side of the fairway is best to have the best angle for the layup to the right, but if you are right, you get a tempting look at the green protected on the left by a large tree.

The par-5 sixth, on the other hand, is a very reachable uphill par-5.  It provides a wide-open tee shot into a generous landing area and requires a laser-sharp approach if you hope to be putting for eagle.

Aside: After the 6th are three of my favorite holes in California.  I did my best to capture the downhill par-3 seventh and short par-4 eighth in one picture.  Rocco Mediate made a hole in one on this par 3 and holed out for eagle on this par 4 en route to his victory at this tournament in 2010.  These were only 2 of his four hole outs for the week! (see our Play of the Week updates at https://thepowerfade.wordpress.com/2010/10/16/play-of-the-week-2/ and https://thepowerfade.wordpress.com/2010/10/18/play-of-the-week-2-5/

The par-4 ninth provides a hazard-split fairway and difficult approach to a small and well bunkered green.  This hole is just fun.  Take aim and hit it long.  This image is borrowed from the CordeValle website:

The other par 5s (15 and 18) are similarly challenging and fair.  15, depending on the wind, can be a reachable (straight) uphill par-5 while only the bravest of souls will take on the (long) forced carry over water in two on 18.

While the greens felt slightly smaller than other courses in the area, they along with the wind provide the defense for this track.  Missing the green or even the correct section of the green on this course will really put a damper on your scoring.  My advice: Make sure your wedges are singing when you take on CordeValle.

The back nine was much windier than when I played the front, but still provided the same scenic beauty and certainly the challenge of the front.  The back nine is less accessible during the Frys.com, and therefore this was my first look at it.  The entire course provides elevation change, difficult greens, lush fairways, stellar views, and an unforgettable golf experience.

My personal story of the round comes from the par-3 twelfth.  This medium length par-3 was playing straight downwind.  To give some frame of reference, we played from the 190 yard tee and our caddie said to play our “160 clubs”.  My playing partner who was about 2 clubs shorter than me, but decided to hit his 6 iron.  He put his ball about 40 feet over the green.  I had an 7 iron in hand and hit what I considered to be a chip shot of the tee and ended up nearly rolling off the back of the green.  Left with a 50 footer straight into the wind, I hit the putt with enough force to send it back to the tee.  My spider rolled it ever so gently to the hole and I watched it disappear into the hole like a little mouse.  Easily one of my best birdies.

Though I failed to take pictures of most of the day, below is one of my favorite views on the course.  Though we usually end reviews with an overall impression, I will let CordeValle speak for itself.  If you get the opportunity to play, go.

For one of the best course websites, in addition to golf courses, See: http://www.cordevallegolf.com/golf/course/hole-by-hole-course-tour.

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