Boundary Oak Golf Course: Striking Beauty and Breathtaking Looks

By F. Richard Allen, Contributor

WALNUT CREEK, Calif. - Boundary Oak lays nestled in the foothills of Mt. Diablo in Contra Costa County. It's an 18-hole bent grass course with water in play. Designed by Robert Muir Graves, it was built in 1969. From the championship black tees, (the farthest from the greens), it is 7,063 yards, with a rating of 73.6. The slope is 131, and par is 72.

During the week the fee is $20 for 18 holes, on the weekends it is $25. Jason Boldt is the head pro. The driving range offers the least expensive balls in the area. Boundary Oak has a putting green and a separate chipping green called the 0th hole.

Off the first tee, right away you get a great feeling of striking beauty and breathtaking looks. Everything at Boundary Oak is professional, relaxed, yet efficient. I am often a single which can mean a clumsy moment as I am either joined by a stranger or join a group of strangers.

Matt, who is in charge of the tee times, came out to the first tee and introduced our group to each other. This was a first for me and made all the difference.

The 1st hole, a 424-yard par 4, plays over water. A steep hill rises up on the right and the green is a slight turn away to the right in along that hill. Trees abound. There are pines, bay, weeping willows, and oaks. The fairway is well maintained with a nice roll.

The 2nd hole is a 181-yard, par 3 with bunkers in front of it. Still playing along that hill on the right, the green here is broad and sloped from right to left.

The 3rd hole, is a 561-yard par 5 dogleg left with water coming into play on the right. It's downhill to a small lake and then a sharp dogleg around the water to the right. Very old oak trees and a couple of ancient eucalyptus line the fairway on the left and what with the well established pond, the entire scene has a sense of age and beauty...just what Robert Muir Graves was looking for, I'm sure.

Everything at Boundary Oak is professional, relaxed, yet efficient.

Both the plentiful ducks and what they leave on the grass comes into play here. Our entire group had the choice of hitting it over the end of the duck pond or going around. From behind a weeping willow, which marks the edge of the pond, I was the only one who chose to go around and my ball landed in the midst of the ducks...hardly one feather was ruffled, however.

It seems when it comes to flying objects, birds of all kinds are natural experts. You'd think a golf ball landing in their midst would at least startle them, but no. Fortunately, they moved along when I came to locate my ball. And they had left it where it landed in relatively pristine condition.

The 4th hole is a 413 yard par 4 with a slight turn to the right. A sandtrap comes into play in the middle of the fairway. Matters are complicated by the downhill slope away from the green, so if you lay up, (down) to the left, your ball may roll away, but on the right you have the sandtrap to deal with. Bunkers protect the green in front and on the left.

The 5th hole is straight downhill, a 513 yard, par 5. At the blacks, the tee is very narrow and opens up to the fairway after about fifty yards. The tee is bordered by coast oak, pine, and maple. The turning maple leaves are beautiful this time of year.

The 7th and 8th holes are par 4s of about 355-360 yards. The 8th has a distinct dogleg right around water. This pond has weeping willows and cuts directly into the fairway. The tee on the 8th hole is also the home of the actual famous Boundary Oak, a beautiful ancient oak tree.

Coming uphill back to the clubhouse on the 9th, which is also a par 4, 407 yards, just before the green on the right is a hidden pond which narrows the fairway down to about 20 yards.

The 11th hole, a 440 yard par 4 has a distinct dogleg right around the water at about 200 yards, then it's another 200 or so yards to the green. There's a sandtrap on the left, trees on the right, and the green is multilevel and breaks from right to left.

The 12th hole, is a 186 par 3. The green is a tilted bowl around the pin, tilted back towards the tee. When you're in the bowl it's almost impossible to judge the breaks. But thems the breaks.

The signature hole is the 14th, a 578 yard, par 5 which runs along the back property with a continuation of the Canal Trail on just the other side of the fence. The hills slope towards the fence, but the green is up the hill away from the roll of the ball.

From the corner formed by the dogleg right, it is about 100 yards to the green. If you go left it's downhill, if you go right there's a narrow passage between the sandtrap and the trees. The pin sits up high on the green on the right guarded by an array of sandtraps. Although there's no water that comes into play on the 14th, almost everything else does.

The 15th and 16th holes are similar par 4s, about 430 yards long. The 17th is a 214 yard, par 3. The 18th hole back to the club house is a unique look at a multilevel disguise around the green. You can't see the pin until you're about 100 yards out. And then once you do, you realize that the green you're looking at is only a preview of the one to come.

The woods spread out below you to the right, the clubhouse is dead ahead, and the pin is only partially in view until you get up to chip. It's a great way to end on a course which is part beautiful Eden and part English shrub maze.

I'm so impressed with this course that I've decided to make it my home course. I hope to see you out there.

Boundary Oak Golf Course
3800 Valley Vista Road
Walnut Creek, CA 94598
(925) 934-6211

F. Richard Allen, Contributor

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