The Preserve Golf Club – Carmel, CA

Categories: California and Communities.
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The private Preserve Golf Club in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California is located deep within the remote 20,000 acre Santa Lucia Preserve.  The Santa Lucia Preserve was a working cattle ranch for 50 years prior to it’s founding in 1990.   Now, the Santa Lucia Conservancy, a non-profit conservation trust, manages and protects the 20,000 acres.  Located within the Preserve are 300 home-sites, 100 miles of hiking trails, an 18 acre recreational lake, Equestrian center, two lodges and the private golf course.  While the 20 minute drive off the main highway along a narrow winding road is tedious, patience has its rewards.   When the gorgeous Mediterranean style clubhouse appears, you know you’re in for a real treat.


The Preserve Golf Club Course

The Preserve enlisted Tom Fazio to shape a championship caliber course which opened in 2000. Fazio immediately understood that the immense beauty of this 365 acre property is surreal.

This is as good as it gets; you really don’t need me. The course is already here.- Tom Fazio

He winds the championship layout through severely undulating terrain surrounded by thick towering pines creating multiple intimidating tee shots over cratering chasms. As a result, The Preserve Golf Club receives a remarkable achievement ranking #87 on Golf Digest’s 2016 list of the Top 100 Greatest Golf Courses only 15 years after it’s opening. The Preserve Golf Club golf course serves all player abilities stretching from 5148 yards to 7057 yards.  Starting times are not required.

The downhill Par 4 first hole opens with a deceptively narrow landing area and is typical of the elevation changes awaiting you.  Fazio took advantage of the natural terrain as many of the holes are downhill, uphill or a combination.  Watch out for the slopes around most of the greensimg_6829



The Par 4 Hole #3 illustrates a common dilemma at the Preserve Golf Club – the challenging tee shot over a wide chasm.  Fazio provides multiple teeing areas.  Players choosing teeing markers inconsistent with their abilities will be severely punished.


The greens of the Preserve Golf Club are absolutely ideal perhaps due in part to the very low level of play.  Several greens are framed by spreading oak trees which inherently come into play.  Nevertheless, the forest floor is playable if you stray off line (and find your ball).


Finally, the long finishing Hole #18 requires navigation of perhaps the most intimidating chasm on the course.  Members have five different teeing grounds – all undoubtedly needed.    If you’re lucky enough to get access, don’t pass it up.


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