Three national golf publications have named Nipomo’s new Monarch Dunes as one of the best golf courses in the western United States.
Golf Magazine has named the 18-hole course one of the 10 “Best New Golf Courses in the Country.” Fairways & Greens Magazine named it the “Best New Course in California.” And Golf Inc. magazine called it the “Best Development of the Year of a Public Golf Course.”
The year-old course — the first 18-hole course at The Woodlands development — was the only one in the state to make Golf Magazine’s list, which covers all new public courses in the United States.
“This really reaffirms what our players have been telling us all year — that this is the best course they’ve ever played,” said Krystal Bough, sales and marketing director of Monarch Dunes. “We are thrilled about these endorsements.”
The 6,817-yard championship course was designed by Cal Poly graduate Damian Pascuzzo.
Future golf plans include an executive course and another 18-hole championship course that will run near a bluff overlooking the Nipomo Mesa. Both will be open to the public. Monarch Dunes is operated by KemperSports Management, which also operates Bandon Dunes and Pacific Dunes in Oregon, and Desert Willow Golf Resort and Black Gold Golf Course in Orange County.
I could only find the Fairways and Greens article online, which also mentions Cypress Ridge in its review:
We’re making an alphabetic stretch here, and why not: With the opening of Monarch Dunes early this year, Sacramento-based architect Damian Pascuzzo (emphasis on the Z) gave the Central Coast his inspired treatment and instantly turned an oft-overlooked swatch of Golden State into a golf destination. Together with nearby Cypress Ridge — a Peter Jacobsen-Jim Hardy product that opened nearly five years ago — it cements this region between Santa Maria and San Luis Obispo as a worthy option to Monterey.
Monarch Dunes’ look and feel is something completely new for the Central Coast, though somehow ancient. Pascuzzo’s cagey, curvaceous lass works amazingly well in the modern housing project mold. He keeps homesites well away from or above playing areas, and the few completed houses never impinge on the course’s ability to rouse sharp emotions with every teebox or greenside view. Still, Monarch Dunes’ soul is rooted in the links and heathland courses of Scotland and Ireland.
“The site itself really dictated that it had to be links style,” Pascuzzo says. “The soil is pure sand. If you look across Highway 1, you see all the dunes, then the ocean. We had to do that style of golf course; it would be a shame to do anything else.” . . .
In fact, holes 6 through 8 comprise the finest three-hole stretch on the Central Coast. No. 6 is the best of those, 560 yards from the tips. The drive must clear tufts of devil’s grass, then a big ridge that bisects several holes, then barrel to the bottom of a hill, just short of a lake, if there’s any chance of getting back up to the severely elevated, mega-deep, double-tiered green in two. It’s not just a good hole, it’s a great one; draped in tall eucalyptus with comely curves, it harkens to Bandon Trails and elicits a giddy feeling when you first see it.
“The one thing golfers have to realize is that there’s a little bit of mystery in Monarch Dunes,” Pascuzzo says. “You play it a second time and you’ll be a lot more comfortable; a third time, you’ll feel like you’ve known it a long time.”
As for Cypress Ridge, it’s no pushover. At 6,803 near-sea-level yards from the tips, it’s a stout test. Elevation changes make club selection difficult for first-timers, but most folks get the hang of it by the turn. Jacobsen and Hardy are also careful to reward accurate tee shots (the former has long been one of the PGA Tour’s best drivers), and while the aforementioned recovery is possible from the grass or trees, there’s seldom a clear entry to the green.
While many of Cypress Ridge’s 4-pars — such as the uphill, dogleg-right No. 8 — have sharp teeth and challenging length, the design allows ample opportunity to take advantage of shorter holes. Nos. 5 and 7 — at 330 and 300 yards, both drivable for big bombers — can yield early birdies, if not eagles, for the aggressive player.
While Monarch Dunes and Cypress Ridge would be great golf courses anywhere in the United States, playing them in the year-round pleasant Central Coast weather only sweetens the experience.
Great news not only for our local central coast golfers; but, also golfers nation wide. I also found this blurb from the Boston Globe, from 12/10/06:
California’s central coast is becoming a golf destination, and the oceanfront Cliffs Resort in Shell Beach is offering its San Luis Obispo package at 20 percent savings.The package includes three nights’ lodging with full breakfast, two rounds of golf from a choice of the Avila, Blacklake, or Monarch Dunes courses, cocktails for two each night, a bottle of the region’s finest wine on the last evening, and a sleeve of golf balls. The rate is $729 Sunday- Thursday, and $909 Friday- Saturday, excluding tax and resort fee.
The Cliffs also offers a one-night, two-round option for $239 Sunday-Thursday, $329 on weekend nights. For more information, call 800-826-7827, or go to cliffsresort.com.
I think these are wonderful stories about out paradise we call the central coast. Yes, we have been discovered by corporate America–but that was inevitable. We now need to utlize this publicity to help build a better and brighter future for Nipomo. We live in an exciting time here at the foot of the hills. Welcome world to Nipomo!