Monday, March 27, 2006

Review: The Ranch Golf Club, San Jose

When you go to play the Ranch Golf Club in San Jose, make sure you bring 3 things with you:

1) Your camera.
2) Your A Game.
3) Your duffel bag full of golf balls.

You'll want your camera because this course has the most stunning views of any course in the Bay Area. And to try to describe the vertical drops some of your tee shots will make to someone is hard to explain in words. Props to the course designers for placing this course in some relatively rugged terrain.

You'll want your A game because this is probably the most challenging course in the Bay Area. The blue tees have a slope of 147, and the black tees have a slope of 152...yes, thats 152. Lets just say, if your game isn't on (like mine wasn't that day), its hard to relax because accuracy is not a luxury, its at a necessity.

You'll want a duffel bag of balls because there are many opportunities to lose your little white friends. Trouble abounds, and many of the areas available to hit your wayward shots are environmentally protected grounds, so no searching is allowed.

Hole #12, by A. Bradley

BUT, even though I shot my worst score in years, this course is one I will be returning too. Why? Well, it's a diamond in the rough with regards to public courses in the Silicon Valley. It reminds you of no course you've ever played (except for maybe Wolf Creek in Mesquite Nevada), and definitely not one you'd find in San Jose. On some holes you'll have spectacular views of downtown San Jose and on others you can see the San Francisco skyline on a clear day.

The course is target golf at its prime. I took driver out only on 4 holes. Many calculations were required on the tee to figure out your yardage given the elevation changes, the wind, and the numerous hazards. It's very much a thinking-golfers course. The greens do role very true and are some of the best conditioned public greens around. One more thing, carts are required on this course.. and at about half way thru, you'll really understand why.. I think it took us literally 5 minutes to drive between holes 11 and 12.

Hole #14 and #16, by A. Bradley

The first hole to highlight is number 9. A devilish par 5. Although it seems short at 528 yds, every shot requires accuracy. You start off with a tee shot over a long ravine, and if you take driver, you'll have a 15 yd wide landing area. Plus, there's no going for the water protected green in 2 unless you can hit a high towering Tiger-esque 4 iron cut with laser-like precision. And just when you think the fun stops when you get to the green, you'll have an extreme two-tiered demon to contend with.

My favorite hole on the course was number 10. If you have fear of heights, beware, as the elevation difference from tee to green seems higher than the length of this 343yd par 4. A mid-iron off the tee is the smart play, but one could easily reach the green with a 3 wood, although errant shots will pay deeply. The green is protected by yellow stakes, red stakes, water, bunkers, landmines, sharks, you name it!

Overall, the Ranch is an exciting course, and one that will humble your game for sure... in the true words of the Terminator, "I'll be back".


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At 1:03 PM, Blogger kelly said...

I enjoyed your write-up on The Ranch, but I have to correct you. The par 5 you described as the first notable hole is actaully number 6, not number 9. Although number 9 is a tough par 5 as well.

At 9:58 PM, Blogger Jay said...

One more correction on the correction. Number 6 is a par 4...hole 7 is the 528 yard par 5 described.

Overall great description and one of my favorite and most challenging courses in the south bay.

At 4:00 AM, Blogger Luis said...

Nice review. I think this golf course is going to a bit tougher to crack.

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