What to Expect: Before teeing it up at Monterey Peninsula Country Club’s Shore course (MPCC), I figured it would be a good course but I wasn’t prepared to be hit with one of the best golf courses I’ve ever had the pleasure of playing. Mike Strantz is an artistic genius that makes playing MPCC feel like traveling through a series of stunning paintings crafted out by a master. Strantz left little evidence of the 1961 Bob Baldock course and rerouted most of the holes so that they now faced the crown jewel of all courses; Cypress Point. The course uses the cypress tree perfectly throughout the course to frame holes and/or greens and masterfully crafts bunkers to seamlessly flow throughout the course like the sands of the nearby beach. While the property isn’t quite as ideal as Cypress Point’s, the course still affords the golfer the experience of playing through the trees, on sand dunes, and out near the coastline. Majestic and artisic are the two words that come to mind over and over again when I think of MPCC’s Shore course; simply stunning.
Signature Hole: 11th – 181 Yard Par 3 – When Mike Strantz redesigned the MPCC Shore course, he reversed much of the routing to take advantage of some of the views along the coast line and back towards the famed Cypress Point Golf Club. One hole that took advantage of such features is the downhill par three 11th hole which features the ocean as a backdrop of Cypress Point in the distance. The cypress trees and their unique lines found behind the green add an artistic element that ties in with bunker shapes. With the tee perched on top of some boulders and views for miles, you get the feeling that nothing could be better than being right there at that moment; the sign of a great signature hole.
Individual Hole Analysis
Best Par 3: 7th – 226 Yards – The lengthy par three 7th hole features several bushes and trees that frame the hole with the ocean in the far distance. The dominating feature is the large slope that runs off the front of the green and to the left. With a sharp plateau shaping given to the green edge, balls can easily be repelled from finding the putting surface if the tee ball isn’t hit with precision. A long bunker cascades down the hill to the right of the front slope and is mostly out of view from the back tee.
Best Par 4: 15th – 415 Yards – The word I find myself using every time I think about MPCC Shore is “artistic.” The way the fairways flow from one place to another among the cypress trees, boulders, sand, and ocean. It is truly an experience like no other and the 15th hole embraces those feelings. The hole is a dogleg left that essentially becomes a double dogleg as the fairway sweeps along the horizon and up to a green site with an infinity edge and ocean backdrop. The green is protected by a spacious bunker infused with foliage at the front right that tapers off into the natural terrain seamlessly. The hole is a stunning, natural, and free-flowing masterpiece that had me pausing more than once to take it all in.
Best Par 5: 10th – 544 Yards – The 10th hole features another free-flowing fairway that takes the golfer out towards the ocean before turning away and heading up to the green site that is perched among some boulders, bunkers, and cypress trees. The green has a false front which can create a challenge when going for the green in two. Stantz did a wonderful job of intergrading the routing into the natural terrain and taking advantage of the views and elevation changes offered throughout and the 10th is a fine example of that.
Birdie Time: 3rd – 155 Yard Par 3 – Just one par three exists in the forested portion of the course at MPCC Shore and it is this short downhill one-shotter. While a large collection of bunkers exists to the right of the green, the putting surface is ample in size and should bread confidence in the golfer. In addition, the fairway slopes downhill into this green which could create a favorable result if a ball is hit too fat or too thin and needs some help along the way. This is a great opportunity to kick things off right!
Bogey Beware: 8th – 454 Yard Par 4 – The 8th hole at Monterey Peninsula Country Club’s Shore course is longer than average par four that doglegs left and heads straight towards the ocean. Since the approach shot plays towards the Pacific, this shot will typically be heading straight into the wind which can add significant length to this hole. The green sits in front of a larger boulder with a large bunker protecting the front left side of the putting surface. This is a stout hole that will require two long, accurate shots to reach the green in two for your best chance of avoiding bogey.