Monday, August 08, 2005

Sea Ranch

Saturday and Sunday were spent about 90 minutes south of my current dwelling, on the coast of Northern California. In a little town of Gualala, my wife's mother and husband attended an abalone feed in a nearby campground. The best way to describe Gualala is that it is a "blink and you'll miss it" town, unless you are in abalone season, which creates a massive influx of tourists looking to enjoy the coast away from the summer heat in the valley.
About a mile south of Gualala is the resort at Sea Ranch, a miriad of buildings and bungalows that are situated in the coastal grass and sand. This is also the home of the Sea Ranch Golf Links. Some have called it the poor man's Pebble Beach, except that they would be wrong. None of holes are along the coast, and the cost is still pretty steep, about $95 a person for cart and green fees. The fairways are in decent shape, and the greens weren't terrible either. The problems arise when you don't hit is straight. The fairway width is rather narrow and the term "short rough" doesn't really exist here. You are either on the fairway, or into the coastal grass that runs two feet high, making it impossible to find your ball. Trees are not much of a problem, although they are nicely placed on some holes. Two contain serious water, including one whole where you have to jump from area to area over water. Still, if you can hit the ball relatively straight, you will do fine. I shot a 114. Not bad for not playing since October of last year. It wasn't the course that killed me either, it was my short game. I'd love to take my Wedge and break the thing against a tree. It is totally useless in my bag. I had 4 pars, and I won $3 for being "closest to the hole", and making par, on #17. Of course, I also had way too many Snowmen also (an 8). My advice, it might be nice to try once, but I don't mind waiting a long time to play it. I'm only a hack that plays once in a while anyway.
For all of you golf nuts, here is a list of courses I've been to, in order of my most favorite to least favorite:

Fall River Valley (Fall River Mills)
Hidden Valley Lake (Middletown)
Vineyards Course at Chardonnay (Napa)
Southridge (Sutter)
Plumas Lake (Marysville)
Sea Ranch (Gualala)
Bennett Valley (Santa Rosa)
Ukiah Municipal (Ukiah)
Bidwell Park (Chico)
Haggin Oaks (Sacramento)
Little River Inn (Little River)
Table Mountain (Oroville)
Paradise Pines (Magalia)
Kelly Ridge (Oroville)
Del Norte (Cresent City)
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