Wednesday, June 19, 2013

MonarchRobert Trent Jones Jr. put extra effort into designing Monarch Beach in 1984, stating at the time that "this may be the last ocean course built in the United States."

Jones himself nullified that hyperbolic prediction two years later when he created Spanish Bay, and Bandon Dunes has since erased all doubts. Still, the care he took with Monarch Beach is clear and convincing.

Naysayers note that "right-on-the-ocean" holes at the Scottish links–inspired track are in short supply, but stunning views abound. On one majestic creation — the 315-yard, par-4 third — the Pacific splashes at the fairway's right edge.

Bunkers, lakes and the Salt Creek influence play on many holes, and if the ocean isn't a factor often enough, at least you have the sublime clime of Orange County, with the terrific St. Regis Resort right next door.

Best of all, recent refinements have firmed up the fairways, new cart paths have improved the pace of play, and sensible twilight rates have amped up the value. Where seaside summer golf is concerned, this Monarch is regal.
(Photo: Dick Durrance)

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