On Tuesday, I took the day off from work to play in this SCGA member outing at San Luis Obispo Country Club. Of course, I made a full day out of it playing some “warm up” rounds on short courses in the Central Coast area. However, I will review those separately in a new “Short Course Blitz” installment later this week.
The main event for the day was on this private club in San Luis Obispo. I say “San Luis Obispo” a little loosely because this course is somewhat out of the way, located southeast of the main part of town. It feels pretty remote when you’re out there, located amidst the farmland and some vineyards in this rural area. There are houses around the course, but they don’t detract much from the other nice scenery in the distance.
There aren’t any huge changes in elevation on this course, but there are some great views. There are not many flat spots in this layout. Most of the greens are elevated with a pretty significant “ramp” of fairway in front. With the sticky kikuyu grass, most shots that come up short will stay short and often roll back to leave you with an awkward little pitch shot from a very tight lie. There are some big bunkers in play around the greens, too.
Though the greens are very well-protected, the surfaces themselves aren’t overly tricked out. There’s an occasional small “shelf” and some of the slopes are pretty significant to provide some big breaks, but it’s not too difficult to get a read on what the putt will do. They do run very true, though, so you do have to hit just the right line and speed to make anything from a distance.
In addition to the slopes of the greens, you have to contend with some pretty major slopes on most of the fairways, as well. Some can be tough to hold (especially depending on your shot shape) and your ball will trickle down to the edge of the rough.
What I am trying to get at is this course presents plenty of challenge. To the naked eye, the layout seems pretty straightforward and not too crazy, but it is much more difficult than it appears. It is 6,675 yards from the blue tees and 6,404 from the whites. There is a combo set in between that plays 6,601.
With most greens being elevated and there being more uphill holes than downhill ones (at least it seemed that way), it does play even longer on most holes than the yardage. We had a little wind yesterday, as well, so there were times I found myself hitting 1-2 extra clubs just to make sure I flew the ball to the green surfaces. As I mentioned, most anything that landed short would stay short, so better safe than sorry.
There are some memorable holes here like the side-by-side 1st and 10th, which are both par-5s that play pretty long for a fade hitter like me (the 1st especially) as big dogleg lefts.
I really liked the only two holes with water hazards in play on the whole course. The 9th is the only “short” par-4 with a lay-up for most off the tee and then a fun approach to a big green that slopes significantly from back to front. The 14th is a very nice downhill par-3 over a water hazard.
The course was in excellent shape. The tee boxes and fairways were beautifully kept and tightly cut kikuyu. The rough was cut down so it pretty forgiving. The bunkers had nice white sand. The greens were excellent—receptive, but smooth, pure and relatively quick on putts.
The clubhouse is huge and the facilities are all top-notch. I grabbed a pre-round hot dog at the snack bar. It was good, but pretty expensive. They do have fresh drinking water every few holes and a jug of fresh-brewed iced tea up by the snack bar so you can stay refreshed on a sunny day.
I didn’t know too much about San Luis Obispo CC coming in, but I ended up really liking the course and all the amenities of this club that was established in 1957. It’s not amazing enough to call it a “must play,” but I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to anyone who gets an invite. We paid $70 for the SCGA outing and it was well worth that. We had a small group this time and finished in under four hours, so that’s hard to beat!
Some pictures from San Luis Obispo Country Club (10/7/14):