Every year, thousands of keen golfers set off on golfing vacations to destinations around the world, and every one of them is hoping to play well, have fun and enjoy the sport. Whether a player is a rookie who’s just looking to hit the occasional good shot or a single-figure handicapper who’s hoping to shoot the round of his or her life, the anticipation is the same for everyone. And one of the keys to a successful golfing holiday lies in choosing the most appropriate destination.
All over the world, there are regions which make golf the purest of pleasures, from Florida and South Carolina to Portugal and southern Spain, but there are few which can compete with California. The Golden State boasts some of the finest golf courses on the planet, and of course the beautiful climate makes playing such an enjoyable experience. If you’ve never swung a club on a Californian fairway yet, it’s high time you hopped on a plane or in a car and made the trip out west.
One of the world’s most celebrated golfing venues, Pebble Beach Golf Links, is located in California, although it’s unlikely that the average tripper will be allowed to play on the hallowed course. The dramatic views across the Pacific Ocean provide a stunning backdrop for players and a memorable sight for TV viewers when the course features in major tournaments. In 2012, Pebble Beach hosted the US Open for the fifth time.
Make allowances for the wind
There are plenty more excellent courses around California that are available to everyday golfers, of course. Those that are located on or close to the coastline will be especially scenic, but it’s worth pointing out that the winds which blow off the sea can change from a gentle, almost non-existent, breeze into an extremely strong gale in a split second. Therefore, shot-making isn’t always as easy as it looks.
Every course is always different, but one thing most California tracks have in common is fast-paced greens. For players who are used to slower putting surfaces, especially those from rainier climes, a little practice is recommended before playing for the first time. It can be frustrating to see what you thought was a good putt go flying past the hole and onwards for another ten feet, so make sure you get used to the speed.
Because of the undulating terrain in most parts of California, many players prefer to drive a buggy around the course rather than walk. This is always a matter of personal choice, but it also seems to have become a bone of contention in recent years. There’s no right or wrong answer about it, so if you’re happy walking then do so, but if you’d enjoy the experience more if you’re driving, then do that instead. Golf is for fun, so just do as you please.
David Showell is from the UK and is a keen golfer. He works for 121carhire.com.