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Thursday, March 12, 2015

Carmel...God's Home of Golf

Having played golf courses all over the world, many people have asked me what is my favorite place to play? In a simple answer, Pebble Beach is always first on my list. The problem with Pebble Beach is that is costs $500.00 to play the course. I would highly recommend that every golfer do it one time. If you don't have the financial resources, there are other options that are much more affordable in the area.

For example, you can play the Peter Hay Golf Course located next to Pebble Beach with fabulous ocean vistas. You can play this challenging par 3, 9 hole course all day long for $30 for adults, $10 for 13-17 year old juniors and free for under 12.  Rental clubs are available for $5. This is a fun track and ideal for families and all skill levels. After you are done, you can have lunch at the historic Tap Room at the Pebble Beach Lodge overlooking the world famous 18th hole.

Next you can take a short scenic drive to the Inn At Spanish Bay and order drinks sitting outside by the gas fireplaces to watch the Piper play the bagpipes as the sun sets over the deep blue Pacific. Having experienced both, "the Piper playing on the Pacific Ocean at sunset at Pebble Beach is better than Mass at the Vatican."

Carmel by the sea is a short distance from Spanish Bay and there are many affordable places to stay and enjoy in this refined and special town. Downtown Carmel is like being in a live movie. Happy people from all over the world stroll down the street breathing fresh sea air as they enjoy the many art galleries, restaurants and wine bars.

After eating at one of the many great restaurants, nearby Mission Ranch is a fun way to end the day. Owner and local celebrity Clint Eastwood is often at the Ranch. Last time I was there, he sang along with the many patrons at the circular piano bar late into the night.

After getting a good nights rest, there are lots of other golf courses to play. Two courses that are very interesting and affordable are Pacific Grove Links voted in the top 50 courses in America to play for under 50 dollars and Poppy Hills.  Pacific Grove is located near 17 mile drive and the back nine has beautiful ocean vistas on almost every hole. Two time US Amateur Champion Chandler Egan designed the first 9 holes. Jack Neville, who also designed the Pebble Beach Links, did the spectacular back nine.

Poppy Hills was one of the 3 golf courses played during the ATT professional tournament for many years. Famous designer Robert Trent Jones Jr. did a multi-million redesign that was completed in April of 2014. If you are a member of the Northern California Golf Association, you can play this world class course for under 100 bucks. If not, you can play for around 200 bucks which is a lot less than Pebble Beach and getting rave reviews from avid golfers and professionals. Five time ATT Pebble Beach winner Mark O'Meara said, "I think it is amazing. Nothing beats being on the Monterey Peninsula. It is beautiful. It is really nice."

The bottom line is that golf on the Monterey Peninsula is the best in the world. Spending a few days in the Carmel area is a great way to recharge your batteries, play golf at God's home of golf and soothe your soul from the rigors of the rat race.

For more information and to make tee times go to:

Mike L. Mc Colgan has been writing about golf, food, wine and travel for 20 years. He has written 5 successful golf books with his son MJ who is 3 time National Special Olympics Golf Champion and has been inducted into 3 Hall Of Fames. They have played golf all over the world. In addition, he also has a food column with his wife Linda and trying to hit all 3000 San Francisco restaurants and have been to over 500. His email address is lmccol3525@aol.com