CordeValle, a northern California jewel with a four-diamond price tag.
Friday, November 14, 2008

San Martin, Calif.
7,169 yards, par 72
Green fees: $380-$420

\nCordeValle perfectly illustrates the subtle difference between a course you can play and one you can afford to play. It is a terrific Robert Trent Jones II layout in a retreat favored by dotcom millionaires, but you'll probably need to cash in a few stock options to cover your tee time.

\nRanked 65th on our Top 100 Courses You Can Play, CordeValle opened in 1999 in San Martin, 30 minutes south of San Jose, near the heart of Silicon Valley. For your four Franklins — plus a required stay at the small but superb Rosewood resort — you get a boldly bunkered, back-to-nature layout routed through a tranquil valley and draped across rocky hillsides. Creeks and wetlands play a role, notably at the bucolic, if brutal, 573-yard par-5 third, but the design is mostly free of distracting bells and whistles.

\n"We tried to make this course appear as if it had been here a long time," says Bruce Charlton, Jones's chief design officer. Mandatory caddies and foursomes on foot further enhance the experience. An added highlight is the nearby Clos LaChance Winery, assuming that just playing here doesn't burst your financial bubble.

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