Window Shopping: Think Monterey is expensive? Think again

By Mike BaileyJune 11, 2012, 9:41 pm

MONTEREY, Calif. -- If you're an avid golfer, playing Pebble Beach Golf Links is probably at the top of your bucket list, but it's hardly the only option on the Monterey Peninsula, which is located just a couple of hours south of San Francisco on the Northern California coast.

What may surprise you is that not only are there are other great options around Pebble Beach, but many of them are fairly affordable. In fact, I was recently talking to a flight attendant who told me he looks for shifts to nearby San Jose (as well as Monterey) just so he can play the courses on and around the Peninsula, and he books all of his tee times online, playing many of these courses for well under $100. That's far less than what you would pay to play Pebble Beach ($495 green fee), even without the mandatory two-night hotel stay.

One of my favorites is the 36-hole combination of Black Horse & Bayonet, which underwent a mass renovation by one of my favorite architects, Gene Bates, a couple of years ago. These two former military courses, located in Seaside, rank among the best in the country with their challenging bunkers, greens, rolling terrain and cleared out views of the Pacific. Bayonet, by the way, hosts the 2012 PGA Professional National Championship and has staged several U.S. qualifiers. You could get a tee time there early this week for under $60 online.

If you're looking to experience one of the courses that used to be in the AT&T Pebble Beach rotation, you might want to consider Poppy Hills, designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr. While there aren't ocean views, conditioning and scenery are top-notch and you can book a tee time right at $100. Or you check out Del Monte Golf Course, perhaps the least known course at Pebble Beach resort and the most affordable. This Charles Maud design dates back to 1897, making it the oldest continual operating course. It's also one of the host courses for the Nature Valley First Tee Open on the Champions Tour.

The best deal in golf anywhere, though, might be Pacific Grove Golf Links. It's designed by Jack Neville, the same guy who did Pebble Beach, but it costs a fraction of the price. Dubbed the 'Poor Man's Pebble Beach,' there are no cliffs or incredible ocean crossings, but pretty much the entire back nine is on the Pacific, and you can play it for far less than $100, especially during twilight.

Another one I love is Laguna Seca Golf Ranch, which is in the heart of Monterey-Salinas corridor. Designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr., the course is only 6,200 yards, but I promise you won't get bored with its rolling hills, elevated tees and bargain tee times online.

And finally, the Carmel Valley also has some nice choices. Up at the Carmel Valley Ranch Resort is a terrific Pete Dye design, bordered by vineyards, hills and some interesting water hazards. And Rancho Canada has 36 holes on the Carmel River. Both also tend to offer warmer and sunnier weather than the courses on the coast, which means you might be able to trade the slacks and sweaters for shorts and shirt sleeves, and you won't break the bank doing it.

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Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.

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Rahm (62) fires career low round

By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

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Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

"Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.

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Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

"That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.


A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.