The Preserve is the fifth and final round of my Monterey Peninsula trip. I was very excited to see this course that is set in a wildlife preserve. It was designed by Tom Fazio who, at the time of this writing, has more golf courses listed in Golf Digest’s Top 100 than any other architect.
My trip to the Preserve started with a dry run two days prior. I didn’t play golf on Wednesday so I did a time trial to find The Preserve. I’d heard that is was in the middle of nowhere and I didn’t want to run the risk of getting lost on my way to play it. I plugged the address into my GPS, took the online directions I’d printed and hit the road.
After driving around Carmel Valley for 30 minutes I finally found the sneaky little side road that would deliver me to the club. It was what I would call a half-lane road. Very narrow and straight up a mountain and back down the other side, switchbacks all the way. At one point I considered ditching my car and getting a mule. This place is REMOTE. Be very careful driving this road! The car in the photo below was abandoned along the side of the tiny road which served as a warning for how dangerous the road can be.
On Friday morning I traversed the half-lane road again and showed up for my tee time in plenty of time thanks to my dry run on Wednesday. I was introduced to Jeff the assistant pro who would be playing with me and my caddie Luke. There was one other guy on the range who took off in a cart in front of us. We never saw him again after the first hole.
We did see quite a bit of other things though. This course is cut into a wildlife preserve. The concept behind it was that you are on a nature hike and happen to have your clubs with you. I must admit that it was pretty weird to be walking down a fairway that is lined with wild turkey down the side. We saw lots of turkey and deer, but that was about it. There is a bobcat that lives near the 8th green, and sometimes lies on the green or the 9th tee box, but he didn’t show his face for us.
I didn’t take a whole lot of photos at this course. It was a nice walk and I was too busy enjoying all the great scenery to bother with the camera for most of the morning. The course was set in the foothills and valleys of the wildlife perserve so it was ideal for lots of elevation changes. Below is a photo of the first hole which was a short par 4 straight downhill.
This next photo below is a downhill par 3. This one is a pretty straight forward hole. The rough seemed to be the main line of protection for this course. If you get off the beaten track you will find yourself either in deep rough or native grasses that are going to make it tough to get your ball back in play.
What goes down often comes back up. The below photo is the approach to the 3rd green which started the ascent back uphill.
The photo below of the 6th green which was a flat straight ahead par 3.