Quotes & Testimonials
THE GOLF COURSE
The course only had nine holes until 1996, when the second nine was built. It was hailed as one of the best 9 hole courses in the world and it is one of the few courses in the US that can be called an oceanside course.
The photos are great, but lots of golf courses have good photos. What you need to know if you have not visited and played Sea Ranch is that this is one of those courses where the playing of it transcends the pictures. The following quotes illustrate this:
From "Fairway to Heaven", an article by Larry Habeggar, in the San Francisco Examiner
I was surprised when I reached the golf course and found the facilities to be so modest. The pro shop is small - there's no grand clubhouse, no elegant bar. Everything here revolves around the course, and the natural wildness of land and sea.
The Robert Muir Graves design is a true links-style course. Like the natural courses of Scotland ... these follow the natural sweep of sand dune and beach grass beside the sea, with a, exposure to the wind and ... plenty of natural hazards.
Once you're off the first tee, you just melt into the landscape. The road falls away, thoughts of cars and buildings and obligations evaporate and you escape into a land of sighing breezes, grassy dunes and the sea.
...You're alone with the challenge before you ...
The wind picked up on the back nine, but I didn't really notice. I was too busy enjoying the magnificent sea views and rolling terrain, hitting the occasional good shot among a flurry of bad ones. The course felt so much like the links courses I've played in Ireland that I hardly noticed that my score was getting out of hand.
From "Journey to the Garden of Youth", by John Garrity in Travel & Leisure, May/June 1998:
I hit Highway 1 at Bodega Bay and turned up the coast ... My fingers were stiff by the time I reached Stewart's Point, a dozing crossroads at the southern edge of Sea Ranch. I found myself wondering what appeal such a primal coast could have for golfers used to posh resorts.
Fourteen hours later, on the sixth fairway of the Sea Ranch Golf Links, I saw the light. Don't ask me why the sixth fairway. I loved this unpretentious golf course from the moment I pulled into the parking lot and looked past the golf shop... As I walked up the second fairway, the sun broke out of the clouds. On the third hole...a par three, I hit a six iron over the heads of deer grazing at the end of the tee box.
But it was on the sixth, a wind-swept par five dogleg left around a marsh and pond, that I felt that singular contentment golfers sometimes know. I've felt it at Seminole and Ballybunion, at Pebble Beach and Spanish Bay, on obscure courses in Scotland and Australia. Terrain and light suddenly conspire with ocean air to create an almost translucent atmosphere.
An old friend had driven [up] to see me, and I told him about it. He was unsurprised; he had pretty much the same experience while jogging. I told [him] about the memorable ninth - a par four calling for a blind layup followed by a two hundred yard second over trees to a sunken green. "It's like the eighth at Pebble Beach... only with trees instead of the ocean"
But - sure - that is Travel Writer stuff. They say great things about a lot of courses.
And it's true. Many courses have flattering things written abut some aspect of the course or the clubhouse. Those articles, or excerpts from them are then are repeated endlessly in the promotional material.
However, read the comments in the following titled "Golf Digest Panelist comments".
As you know, I am a Golf Digest Panelist. After Sea Ranch expanded to 18 holes in 1996, the course was nominated for Best New course of the year in 1997. When that happens, lots of Panelists come play & rate it, We also are asked to give comments on the course. In those days, the comments were gathered and distributed later to Panelists in an internal publication called "The Golf Digest Panelist". It was not available to the public and had no advertising. It contained perhaps the best design and playing comments about courses I have ever seen - done solely by experienced people who spend a lot of time and effort on the task and who are all avid golfers.
Here's one of those comments:
North of Pebble Beach, this is easily the best ocean course you'll find.