Laguna Seca Golf Ranch in Monterey: Be sure to bring all your clubs

By Ray Brewer, Contributor

MONTEREY, Calif. -- Make no doubt about it, golf -- no matter what course it is played on -- is a challenge.

Laguna Seca Golf Ranch - 17th hole
Laguna Seca Golf Ranch: the only Robert Trent Jones design on the Monterey Peninsula.
Laguna Seca Golf Ranch - 17th holeLaguna Seca Golf Ranch - 11th hole
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Laguna Seca Golf Ranch

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Laguna Seca Golf Ranch is the result of a collaboration between Robert Trent Jones and his son. The course sits at the heart of the Monterey Peninsula, enjoying a landscape of scenic coastal hills. The course is mostly open but there are a few mature oak trees lining the fairways. The gently rolling landscape provides some interesting elevation changes and there is plenty of water coming into play, especially on the back nine.

18 Holes | Public golf course | Par: 71 | 6174 yards | Book online | ... details »

The sport challenges you physically and mentally for 18 holes of competition -- whether you are competing with yourself or the group you are with.

Part of the mental challenge includes deciding which club to use in your bag.

Knowing what your clubs can do for you is something you might want to have down before playing Laguna Seca Golf Ranch.

This 6,157-yard course, overlooking the coastal hills on the Monterey Peninsula, allows golfers the opportunity to test all of the sticks in their bag. Even though the course it a short, par-71, it is a true test.

"The fun part of the course I would say is the great atmosphere of challenging golf," golf shop associate Brad Cursio said. "It's a great landscape with fun, challenging holes."

Cursio explains how the golfer with the best approach might be the most successful.

"You have to know when to hit your three-wood and know when to hit the driver," he said. "The course really starts to get interesting on the back nine."

An example of this is the 17th hole -- a par-three that is guarded by five sand traps. Since the greens are surrounded by the sand, the golfer must pick the right iron to avoid hitting into the dirt.

Another hole that involves club selection is No. 11 where the golfer has to decision to drive over the dogleg of forest trees into birdie position. If you know how far your driver can take you, then you might want to challenge the hole and go for the birdie.

The course, which opened in 1970, is the only one on the Monterey Peninsula to be designed by master golf course architect Robert Trent Jones. The course has strategically bunkered holes that follow oak-studded coastal hills along the fog-free Monterey-Salinas corridor.

This climate receives some of the credit for the course being in great shape.

Especially the greens.

"The greens here are always in good shape," Cursio said. "They are not firm, so the ball really sticks and they are relatively fast."

On a historic note, the clubs sits on land that was once part of a 2,197 acre Spanish land grant deeded in 1834 to Catalina M de Munras.

Ray Brewer, Contributor

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