Nobody likes a tease…or do they?
Get your mind out of the gutter! I’m talking about golf courses. All I mean is, if you’ve got something really big to show someone, what’s better: blowing the big secret right off the bat, or teasing it out until just the right moment? There’s a reason the climactic moment of a great movie almost never comes until the latter stages, and so it is with certain golf course routings, like San Clemente Municipal in California. The course is just a couple clicks inland from the Pacific Ocean, and the golfer knows it’s there. For the newbie, though, the question is When will it be revealed to me? One of the main complaints I've always heard about Spyglass Hill is that you get the ocean views the first five holes and then it's a 13-hole come-down. The pacing is off.
It's not nearly as famous (or expensive), but San Clemente gets it right. The front nine features a couple furtive peeks at the blue expanse, but nothing terribly satisfying. Once you putt out on the 12th, you begin a two-hole uphill climb through a residential neighborhood of the quaint town, beloved by surfers. Then, you amble up onto the tee of the par-3 15th and BOOM! There she is, in near-180-degree splendor. It’s a magnificent view of the mighty Pacific, made all the more special by the fact that you had to be patient and work a little for it. Then you get three more holes to see it gradually recede, a smile on your face. Not bad for $44, is it?
San Clemente was my home course for many years. There is no better deal for great golf and enjoyable ocean views. The staff in the pro shop treats each golfer
as if they are members of an exclusive private course. You have to remind yourself you are playing a city owned course. Challenging and beautiful, a course I cannot recommend more!
A similar course is Los Verdes in Palos Verdes west of Long Beach, CA. It has more holes with an ocean view. It is a Los Angeles County course.
The head golf pro, Vinnie Poncino, is a great pro & teacher too!