Good golf flawless conditions at Quail Lodge in Carmel
CARMEL, Calif. – Although Quail Lodge Golf Club no longer offers the lodge portion of the property as a resort, there's still good reason to make the trip to the Carmel Valley to play this charming Robert Muir Graves-designed layout.
The club still offers a high-end, semi-private golf course with attention paid to every detail. The course is plush, the food and beverage service is top tier and the golf shop is among the best stocked on the entire Monterey Peninsula.
Visitors used to be able to stay at the lodge when it was called the Quail Lodge Golf Resort, but a struggling economy no longer makes that operation viable. The hotel portion of Quail Lodge closed in late 2009, but the Quail Lodge Golf Club, Quail Lodge Golf Academy and Edgar's Restaurant remain open.
What also remains is a good side trip for those who play or watch golf at Pebble Beach.
Right away golfers know they are in for a treat at Quail Lodge as they drive up to the bag drop in front of the two-story clubhouse and outstanding practice facilities, which include a large practice putting green, short-game area and grass range. Inside the clubhouse you'll find Edgar's Restaurant, an excellent stop for a sit-down breakfast, lunch or dinner. Golfers coming to Quail Lodge really should make a day of it.
The star of the show at Quail Lodge remains the golf course. Always in excellent shape, the course is eminently walkable and enjoyable. Although it plays just 6,500 yards, the par 71 presents plenty of challenge. With 10 lakes and the Carmel River coming into play as well as scores of bunkers, there is no shortage of trouble or interest.
The parkland-style course is routed up and down gently rolling hills and valleys, beckoning golfers to shape shots with the terrain and pin positions. Greens always run smooth, and reading their subtle undulations can sometimes be tricky.
The golf course offers a superb collection of par 3s. Three of them play some 200 yards or longer from the back set of tees, including the 12th, which is a daunting 227 yards over a barranca. The fifth, at 197 yards, might be considered one of the signature holes on the course, with a pond to the right of the green, while the 17th, which also has water and sand, is part of a terrific finishing stretch on the course. That finishing stretch includes the dogleg left par-5 15th, which presents a tricky tee shot but a good opportunity for birdie. The finishing hole is an uphill par 4 with water on the left.
Golf lessons at Quail Lodge
The Quail Lodge Golf Academy, led by Director of Instruction Katherine Marren and Head Professional Ross Kroeker, offers one-, two- and three-day programs for both adults and children as well as individual lessons. Both Marren and Kroeker have extensive teaching and distinguished backgrounds. The school offers both private and group instruction and uses state-of-the-art video software and hardware in its teaching program.
The Golf Academy programs also include the best and most current technologies for teaching and clubfitting, including the MAT-T 3-D motion analysis for both clubfitting and instruction.
The club also, from time to time, hosts its Impact Zone Golf Schools, which not only feature Marren and Kroeker, but guest instructor Bobby Clampett, a former PGA Tour player and TV golf commentator.
Quail Lodge Golf Club: The verdict
Although the Quail Lodge is priced far less than Pebble Beach Golf Links and some of the other pricier options on the Monterey Peninsula, you can still expect to pay between $125 to $150 for green fees, which include cart and range balls. It's not exactly bargain golf, but it's certainly in line with its surroundings.
The fee structure is certainly justified when you consider the condition of the golf course. You would be hard pressed to find a bare spot anywhere on it, the landscaping is perfect, and the greens roll as good as any you'll find in the area.
Customer service is also first-rate, from Edgar's Restaurant and halfway house at the turn to the folks in the golf shop, where you can find anything you need on the course and then some. If you're taking a trip to the Monterey Peninsula, Quail Lodge is more than a worthy candidate in the 'other courses to play' category.
This story originally published on GolfCalifornia.com.
Four players vying for DJ's No. 1 ranking at Open
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Four players have an opportunity to overtake Dustin Johnson for world No. 1 this week.
According to Golf Channel world-rankings guru Alan Robinson, Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm each can grab the top spot in the world ranking.
Thomas’ path is the easiest. He would return to No. 1 with either a win and Johnson finishing worse than solo third, or even a solo runner-up finish as long as Johnson finishes worse than 49th.
Twenty years after his auspicious performance in The Open, Rose can get to No. 1 for the first time with a victory and Johnson finishing worse than a two-way tie for third.
Kopeka can rise to No. 1 if he wins consecutive majors, assuming that his good friend posts worse than a three-way tie for third.
And Rahm can claim the top spot with a win this week, a Johnson missed cut and a Thomas finish of worse than solo second.
Johnson’s 15-month reign as world No. 1 ended after The Players. He wasn’t behind Thomas for long, however: After a tie for eighth at the Memorial, Johnson blew away the field in Memphis and then finished third at the U.S. Open to solidify his position at the top.
Punch shot: Predictions for the 147th Open
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – In advance of the 147th Open Championship, GolfChannel.com writers sound off on burning questions as players ready for a fast and firm test at Carnoustie. Here’s what our writers think about myriad topics:
The Monday morning headline will be …
REX HOGGARD: “Survival.” This one is easy. It always is at Carnoustie, which is widely considered The Open’s most demanding major championship test. Monday’s headline will be that the champion - pick a champion, any one will do - “survived” another dramatic Open. You don’t dominate Carnoustie; you endure.
RYAN LAVNER: “DJ Bashes Way to Victory at Carnoustie.” If somehow a two-win season could be disappointing, it has been for DJ. He’s first in scoring average, birdie average, par-4 scoring, par-5 scoring, strokes gained: tee to green and proximity from the rough. Those last two stats are the most important, especially here at Carnoustie, with these dry conditions. The game’s preeminent long-and-straight driver, there’s a better-than-decent chance he rolls.
MERCER BAGGS: “Rahm Tough: Spaniard charges to Open victory.” Jon Rahm will claim him maiden major title this week by powering his way through the winds and fescue at Carnoustie.
JAY COFFIN: “Thomas wins second major, ascends to world No. 1 again.” Shortly after The Open last year, Thomas rolled through the end of the PGA Tour season. This is the time of year he likes best. Despite a poor Open record the last two years, he’s not remotely concerned. He’s a tad miffed he didn’t win in France two weeks ago and comes to Carnoustie refreshed, with a gameplan, and ready to pounce.
Who or what will be the biggest surprise?
HOGGARD: Style of play. Given Carnoustie’s reputation as a brute, the surprise will be how the champion arrives at his lofty perch. Unlike previous editions at Carnoustie, this week’s dry conditions will promote more aggressive play off the tee and the winner will defy the norm and power his way to victory.
LAVNER: Tiger Woods. This is Woods’ best chance to win a major this year, and here’s believing he contends. His greatest strengths are his iron game and scrambling, and both aspects will be tested to the extreme at Carnoustie, helping separate him from some of the pretenders. With even a little cooperation from his putter, he should be in the mix.
BAGGS: Padraig Harrington. He had a good opening round last week at the Scottish Open and has some good vibes being the 2007 Open champion at Carnoustie. He won’t contend for four rounds, but a few days in the mix would be a nice surprise.
COFFIN: Alex Noren. Perhaps someone ranked 11th in the world shouldn’t be a surprise, but with so much focus on some of the bigger, household names, don’t be surprised when Noren is in contention on Sunday. He hasn’t finished worse than 25th since early May and won two weeks ago in France. He also tied for sixth place last year at Royal Birkdale.
Who or what will be the biggest disappointment?
HOGGARD: Jordan Spieth. Although he was brilliant on his way to victory last year at Royal Birkdale, Spieth is not the same player for this week’s championship, the byproduct of a balky putter that has eroded his confidence. Spieth said giving back the claret jug this week was hard, but his finish will be even tougher.
LAVNER: Weather. This might sound a little sadistic, but one of the unique joys of covering this tournament is to watch the best in the world battle conditions they face only once a year – the bone-chilling cold, the sideways rain, the howling wind. It doesn’t appear as though that’ll happen this year. With only a few hours of light rain expected, and no crazy winds in the forecast, the biggest challenge for these stars will be judging the bounces on the hard, baked-out turf.
BAGGS: Jordan Spieth. The defending champion is still trying to find his winning form and Carnoustie doesn’t seem the place to do that. As much as he says he loves playing in strong winds, there should be enough danger around here to frustrate Spieth into a missed cut.
COFFIN: Rory McIlroy. I hope I’m wrong on this, because the game is better when Rory is in contention at majors. Putting always has been his issue and seemingly always will be. While there isn’t as much of a premium placed on putting this week because of slower greens, he may still have to hit it close. Super close.
What will be the winning score?
HOGGARD: 10 under. The last two Opens played at Carnoustie were won with 7-under and 6-over totals, but this week’s conditions will favor more aggressive play and lower scores. Expect to see plenty of birdies, but the great equalizer will come on Sunday when wind gusts are forecast to reach 25 mph.
LAVNER: 15 under. An Open at Carnoustie has never produced a winner lower than 9 under (Tom Watson in 1975), but never have the conditions been this susceptible to low scores. Sure, the fairway bunkers are still a one-shot penalty, but today’s big hitters can fly them. The thin, wispy rough isn’t much of a deterrent. And the wind isn’t expected to really whip until the final day.
BAGGS: 12 under. We aren’t going to see the same kind of weather we have previously witnessed at Carnoustie, and that’s a shame. Any players who catch relatively benign conditions should be able to go low, as long as they can properly navigate the fairway rollout.
COFFIN: 14 under. Walked into a local golf shop in the town of Carnoustie wearing a Golf Channel logo and the man behind the counter said, “It’ll take 14 under to win this week.” Well, he’s been here for years and seen Carnoustie host The Open twice before. He knows more about it than I do, so I’ll stick with his number.
Watch: Na plays backwards flop and practices lefty
Fresh off his victory at The Greenbrier, Kevin Na is taking a quite-literally-backwards approach to his Open prep.
Caddie Kenny Harms has been sharing videos of Na's early work at Carnoustie.
This one shows Na standing in a bunker and playing a flop shot over his own head (as opposed to someone else's):
While it's unlikely he'll have a need for that exact shot this week, it's far more likely a player may have to think about turning his club over and playing from the wrong side of the ball, like so:
Na has made 4 of 6 cuts at The Open and will look to improve on his best career finish, currently a T-22 in 2016 at Royal Troon.
McIlroy growing 'comfortable' on Open courses
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – For a player who once complained about the vagaries of links golf, Rory McIlroy enters this Open with a dazzling record in the sport’s oldest championship.
Though he missed the 2015 event because of an ankle injury, McIlroy has now posted three consecutive top-5 finishes in the year’s third major.
“It’s surprising a little bit that my best form in major championships has been this tournament,” he said Wednesday, “but at the same time I’ve grown up these courses, and I’m comfortable on them. I think going to courses on The Open rota that I’ve played quite a lot. I think that helps. You have a comfort level with the golf course, and you’ve built up enough experience to know where to hit and where not to hit it.”
McIlroy still regrets what happened in 2015, when he “did something slightly silly” and injured his ankle while playing soccer a few weeks before the event. That came a year after he triumphed at Royal Liverpool.
“Since 2010, I couldn’t wait to play The Open at St. Andrews,” he said. “I thought that was one of my best chances to win a major.”
He tied for 42nd at Carnoustie in 2007, earning low-amateur honors.