Tag Archives: CordeValle Resort

True Enough: It’s CordeValle’s Week

“If you work for the Top 50, shouldn’t you be able to count to 50?”

That snipe, from a cowled friar in Hayward, Calif., points out that the Top 50 on TV addendum to my last post reads “Nothing this week” — when, in fact, the Frys.com Open is being held at the CordeValle Resort Golf CLub, No. 49.

“Furthermore,” the monk mutters, “some nimrod hasn’t been taught how to use the SHIFT key on his Remington. Not to get on his case, but ‘upper’ is for the first letter of proper nouns, and ‘lower’ is for the alphabetical rug rats that follow.”

CordeValle Golf

CordeValle: Top-10 resort, Top-50 golf course. (John Garrity)

I could pen an extended rebuttal to Monastery Man’s snide, albeit artfully-phrased, “gotcha.” But that’s not how we do things at the Top 50. CordeValle is, indeed, No. 49. That’s a rung above the 50th-ranking the northern-California resort achieved back in June, when SI senior writer Gary Van Sickle and I played it on our way to flights from San Jose International Airport.

By the end of a three-birdie round at CordeValle, I was a confirmed 49er. The turfed expanse of the RTJ Jr. tournament track wanders through a valley dominated by  exquisite, oak-dappled foothills, providing a golden backdrop for this week’s Golf Channel cameras. The clubhouse and hotel are shaded by ancient sycamores and swathed in trellised roses. If wine-country ambiance is your cup of tea, CordeValle can’t be beat. Or rather, it can be beat by only seven other golf resorts. (CordeValle is No. 8 on my World Golf Resorts list, which will appear here in November.*)

*Contingent upon completion of certain infrastructure projects at our Kansas City headquarters.

As for the charge by our Thomas Merton wannabe that we can’t type, I will patiently explain that CordeValle — pronounced “COR-de-vol” — is spelled with a capital V. (See my privately-published monograph, “What’s with the E in FedEx?”) The documentation for the L in “CLub” seems to have been misplaced, but I’ve got someone looking into it.

There is no listing for Hayward, by the way, in Michelin’s Guide to North American Monasteries.

Leave a comment

Filed under golf

Confused Carne Correspondent Strays into Legendary Dublin Pubs

I was preparing to write a few lines about the wonderful CordeValle Resort Golf Club, No. 50, when the chime rang and Woodcock ran in with the latest dispatch from our chief Irish course rater, David McCormick. McCormick, a New Yorker, moonlights as my literary agent, but his real passion is golf. Or at least I thought so until I read the synopsis of his recent trip. “I played 36 holes each day except Saturday,” he wrote, “when I went into Dublin (instead of playing Portmarnock Golf Club) to see the sights and meet a friend.”

McCormick at Carne Golf

Course rater David McCormick, in an obviously doctored photo, at Carne Golf Links, Ireland. (John Garrity)

Instead of playing Portmarnock? Turning to Woodcock, I quipped, “Those must be some sights, and that must be some friend.”* In any event, the absence of fresh data on the eight-time Irish Open venue forced me to move course-designer/golf pro Eddie Hackett’s longtime workplace to No. 4 on the Top 50 Contingency List, behind The Country Club at Brookline.

*Showing that he’s the consummate professional, McCormick submitted a concise and sober report on his Dublin frolic: “Almost every pub I passed or went into had the U.S. Open on the big screens. It was fun to watch with such passionate golf fans, and with McDowell in the chase the pints were plentiful.”

To be fair, we sent McCormick to report on courses in the scenic northwest counties of the Irish Republic. And report he did. “Well, I fell in love with Murvagh Golf Club, a course in Donegal. Played it in the morning with two members from near Belfast and in the afternoon with a young Irishman living in England, who was home for a golf holiday. Murvagh is just a sweet layout. Doesn’t have the elevation extremes of Carne, but it’s deceptive and, when the wind kicked in, quite challenging. I loved the County Sligo Golf Club*, too. Very stately and many memorable holes. Their #17, the number-1 handicap hole — long, blind, uphill, with a second shot to a sloping green — is not as hard as Carne’s 17th, but I bogeyed it both times.”

*Also known as “Rosses Point.”

David’s multiple references to the Carne Golf Links, No. 3, comes as no surprise, as the Hackett-designed Mayo landmark is the benchmark for untamed Irish links courses. “Carne is extraordinary,” David continues. “Also, they were incredibly kind to me — comped my golf and my hotel, wouldn’t even let me buy lunch. I played with Eamon Mangan*, John Healy and Noel Reilly, this year’s captain of the Belmullet Golf Club. Very nice gents. I also met Edmund McAndrew, who told me about a somewhat eccentric guy named Geraghty who comes in to the post office to pick up his pension dough and is clearly a relative of yours.”**

*For more about Mangan, who worked with Eddie Hackett on the design and construction of Carne, read my book, Ancestral Links: A Golf Obsession Spanning Generations, available online and at better bookstores on both sides of the Atlantic.

** All of the Geraghtys are eccentric, and they’re all relatives of mine.

“Eamon also took me on a tour of the new nine, and that was a total treat. I think you or somebody — Chip McGrath? — should write a piece on the building of that nine, working with the architect [Jim Engh], but also telling how the locals have taken matters into their own hands in lots of interesting ways. There aren’t too many stories (or new courses) like it, as you know.”

David sounded only two false notes in his Carne report. Here’s the first: “The weather was perfect.” (To back up this absurd claim he sent a terabyte of photographs showing Carne’s fairways as parched and brown as a hillside in Sudan. Amazing what you can do with Photoshop!) Here’s the second: “I told Eamon I’d help spread the gospel of Carne.” That, of course, would violate the Top 50 Code of Acceptable Practices. Personally, whenever I praise an agreeable links such as Carne or Askernish — as, for instance, when I call either or both of them “the greatest golf course in the world” — I am careful to point out that the Top 50 is the last word in course rating, and thus immune to subjectivism and bias.

Lodging Tips: The spiffy Broadhaven Bay Hotel in Belmullet is by far the best choice for Carne-ivores, but architect Engh swears by the old Western Strands Hotel, a just-off-the-square inn with good food, closet-sized rooms, and a warm and cheery pub. For both charm and scenery, however, you can’t beat Terry and Francis McSweeney’s four-star Stella Maris Hotel, which is an hour’s drive up the coast, between the towering North Mayo Cliffs and Downpatrick Head. “I had a very nice night and a delicious dinner at the Stella Maris,” David McCormick wrote in a post script. “Oh, and Terry says hi.”

1 Comment

Filed under golf

Top 50 Magnate Enjoys Monterey


MPCC member Steve John demonstrates the balanced finish. (John Garrity)

Rating courses need not be a tedious, joyless process — “a good walk spoiled.” I try to set an example for my course raters by leaving Top 50 headquarters from time to time to play golf on the world’s finest layouts. That was the case last week when I squeezed in a few rounds on the Monterey Peninsula while attending the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach Golf Links.* Two of the courses I played are in my recently-updated Top 50, and the third, Preserve Golf Club of Carmel, Calif., is No. 51 with a bullet.

*Our panel of experts is still reviewing Graeme McDowell’s slapdown of Ernie, Tiger and Phil to see if Pebble’s No. 7 ranking needs to be re-evaluated. We will examine Woods’s complaint about the greens (“The holes weren’t cut where I rolled my putts”) and Dustin Johnson’s observation that “the second hole has too many left-handed bunkers,” and if we reach a consensus, we’ll post it.

Tuesday morning’s round at magnificent Monterey Peninsula Country Club, No. 49, was arranged by Sports Illustrated senior writer Alan Shipnuck and MPCC member Steve John. The foursome consisted of myself, John (not myself), SI senior writer Damon Hack and Stephanie Wei, author of the popular “Wei Below Par” golf blog. None of us, I’m happy to report, hit a bad shot all day.

Stephanie Wei

Body English works! Wei's shot wound up 12 feet from the hole. (John Garrity)

We played the Shore Course, which was recently restored to the three-course rota of the AT&T National Pro-Am at Pebble Peach, and I share the opinion of the pros who played it in February: The Shore is a definite upgrade from unranked Poppy Hills Golf Course and a worthy successor to scenic Cypress Point Golf Club, No. 13. In fact, the only explanation I can offer for its 49th-place ranking is a prohibited payoff from partisans of the nearby Spyglass Hill Golf Course.*

*Payments to my course raters are not tolerated. Inducements to me are reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

Halfway House at MPCC

MPCC's halfway house: Golf's best snack-bar view. (John Garrity)

To cite just one example, the view from the halfway house at MPCC is second-to-none. The snack bar itself — manned, I believe, by a winner of Gordon Ramsay’s Hell’s Kitchen reality show — is currently No. 14 on the Junk Food Network’s America’s Top Frankfurters list. (My hot dog came split and grilled on a buttered-and-toasted bun. Magnifique!) Best of all, the grill man packed our sandwiches in seagull-resistant cardboard carriers that fit perfectly into the dashboard compartments of our golf carts. As a result, MPCC gets 180 bonus points for its cypress trees and an additional 50 points for the halfway house.

Top 50 Note: Last week, the USGA announced that it had awarded the 2017 U.S. Open to Erin Hills Golf Course of Erin, Wisc. I am head-over-heels happy for the co-designers, my good friends Michael Hurdzan, Dana Fry and (especially) Golf Digest architecture editor Ron Whitten, who proved that writers can hold their own against the top designers when given an adequate budget and unlimited authority. But I don’t understand how a new golf course, which just recently broke into my top 100, got the Open over perennial Wisconsin trendsetters Whistling Straits, No. 18, and New Richmond Golf Club, No. 25. I’m not crying foul, but I invite David Fay & Co. to consult me before they extend any more invitations to untested golf courses. (Keep the faith, Medicine Hole!)

Leave a comment

Filed under golf