Coronado Municipal Golf Course

and the

History of Golf on California’s Coronado Island

pg. 2

 

Twelfth Hole, 300 yards: Coronado’s twelfth hole offers the best and the worst of golf course design techniques. An extensive forest of tall trees on the inside of this dogleg infringes on the hole’s design merit; the lack of the opportunity to drive the green eliminates the fun and the risk-reward nature of a good short par-four. If the trees did not exist, the hole would improve drastically; golfers could then take a stab at driving the green, having to maneuver a precise tee shot between the left greenside bunker and the long, winding bunker guarding the approach to and the front right corner of the green in order to have a putt for eagle. Despite the lack of options from the tee, the twelfth does exhibit great design merit. Recovery from a tee shot missed to the right (if not outside the margin of the in-course out of bounds, which I will discuss shortly) is difficult due to the right-hand bunker that leads up to the green; thus, a tee ball that flirts with the trees to the left of the fairway helps to take said bunker out of play. In addition, the backside of the built-up lip of the left-hand greenside bunker works nicely as a mound to feed approach shots onto the green.

The thick conglomeration of trees just off the left of the twelfth tee box negates any chance at driving the green (located through the trees and just to the left of the yellow stakes in the ground), which in turn hurts the design merit of the hole.

The thick conglomeration of trees just off the left of the twelfth tee box negates any chance at driving the green (located through the trees and just to the left of the yellow stakes in the ground), which in turn hurts the design merit of the hole.

This mound at the front left of the twelfth green helps feed approach shots onto the putting surface. Putting from the front of the green to left hand hole locations can be tricky thanks to this mound, as well.

This mound at the front left of the twelfth green helps feed approach shots onto the putting surface. Putting from the front of the green to left hand hole locations can be tricky thanks to this mound, as well.

Thirteenth Hole, 543 yards: The three-shot thirteenth hole showcases Coronado’s quirky side. A severe dogleg to the right, the hole wraps all the way around the twelfth hole and then some; in fact, if one were to draw a straight line from the thirteenth tee to the thirteenth green, it would measure only 390 yards! To keep the tiger golfer from carrying the trees and taking this shorter route, the course installed in-course out of bounds down the entire right side of the hole. While the merit of this out of bounds is debatable, it forces the golfer to maneuver an accurate tee shot—optimally a fade—between the left-hand fairway bunker and the tree-lined out of bounds stakes. From the fairway, the tiger golfer must remain wary of the in-course O.B. if going for the green in two, which takes a mighty hit. If the golfer found the first half of the thirteenth to be of little design merit, his mind will likely change when looking at the grand green complex. From fifty yards or so short of the two-tiered green, the top tier seems like a mere sliver of green; however, closer inspection reveals that plenty of room exists beyond the ridge, invisible only because of the top tier’s gentle slope toward the back of the green. A brute of a par five, the thirteenth houses one of the best and most difficult greens on the course.

Today’s hole location at the thirteenth seems diabolical from the front of the green, as the top tier appears to be tiny; however…

Today’s hole location at the thirteenth seems diabolical from the front of the green, as the top tier appears to be tiny; however…

…Daray once again deceives the golfer; the top tier is large enough to be a green by itself!

…Daray once again deceives the golfer; the top tier is large enough to be a green by itself!

Fourteenth Hole, 391 yards: Like the other roadside holes on the golf course (nos. 6 and 10), Daray puts the golfer’s mind at ease on the fourteenth tee; he pointed the hole’s tee shot away from Glorietta Boulevard thanks to penal right-hand fairway bunkers. The fourteenth green is the most open in front of all the greens at Coronado; ample room abounds for a running approach shot.

Daray left the front of the fourteenth green free of hazards in order to welcome a running approach.

Daray left the front of the fourteenth green free of hazards in order to welcome a running approach.

Fifteenth Hole, 175 yards: The last of Coronado’s one-shotters, the fifteenth may look the same as the other par threes (except the ninth hole)—open entrance to the green, bunkers left and right; however, this hole is strikingly different. With the beautiful Coronado Yacht Club in the background, the fifteenth green is a rarity in Dark Age architecture: once past the front quarter of the putting surface, the green slopes away gently toward the back of the green. This is markedly different from the par-three fifth and eleventh holes, whose greens tilt sharply from back to front. The fifteenth green only adds variety to an already varied set of great golf holes.

Wide open in front and backed by the idyllic Coronado Yacht Club, the fifteenth hole brings a fine set of one-shotters to a close.

Wide open in front and backed by the idyllic Coronado Yacht Club, the fifteenth hole brings a fine set of one-shotters to a close.

Sixteenth Hole, 370 yards: Coronado’s impressive closing stretch begins with the sixteenth, the best hole in terms of design and strategy on the course. Glorietta Bay juts into the sixteenth hole, giving the golfer great strategic options: take his tee shot down the left side and away from the water, or take the aggressive line directly over the bay. The latter option (if executed perfectly) affords a shorter, easier approach into the raised, sloping green, whereas the former choice yields a much longer approach with the left-hand greenside bunker—nearly out of play from the right portion of the fairway—encroaching upon the golfer’s angle into the green. With its inspiring setting and outstanding strategic options, the sixteenth is a favorite of many who walk Coronado’s fairways.

Bite off as much of Glorietta Bay as you can chew for a shorter, easier approach into the raised sixteenth green. The golfers in the group ahead strayed away from the water, leaving them a much lengthier approach shot from the left side of the fairway.

Bite off as much of Glorietta Bay as you can chew for a shorter, easier approach into the raised sixteenth green. The golfers in the group ahead strayed away from the water, leaving them a much lengthier approach shot from the left side of the fairway.

The sixteenth houses another sharply back-to-front sloping green, fitting for a hole of only 370 yards. Note that the ample amount of short grass in front of the green is more easily accessible from the right side of the fairway (closest to the water).

The sixteenth houses another sharply back-to-front sloping green, fitting for a hole of only 370 yards. Note that the ample amount of short grass in front of the green is more easily accessible from the right side of the fairway (closest to the water).

Seventeenth Hole, 427 yards: The longest two-shotter on the course, the bayside seventeenth doglegs sharply to the left around the boomerang thirteenth hole. Thus, the course, once again, installed in-course out of bounds down the left side of the seventeenth in order to keep the tiger golfer from carrying the trees and playing a short wedge approach from the thirteenth fairway. Like many of the greens at Coronado, the seventeenth green is fronted by plenty of short grass that accepts a running approach shot.

Fitting for the longest two-shotter on the course, a sea of short grass awaits a run-up approach shot to the idyllic seventeenth green. Does the view from the sixth at the California Golf Club of San Francisco come to mind?

Fitting for the longest two-shotter on the course, a sea of short grass awaits a run-up approach shot to the idyllic seventeenth green. Does the view from the sixth at the California Golf Club of San Francisco come to mind?

Eighteenth Hole, 493 yards: A fitting end to a charming set of holes, the eighteenth lends the golfer one last opportunity for a birdie or even an eagle. However, trouble lurks at every corner. One must hug the small bunker to the left of the fairway off the tee for the best angle into the well-bunkered green; a drive to the right of the fairway will find the bay. The green is surrounded by five bunkers, including a long, winding one at the front right of the green, appropriate for a reachable three-shotter. The backside of said bunker’s built-up face creates a mound that will kick slightly mishit approach shots onto the green; otherwise, an accurate shot is needed to avoid the four other greenside bunkers.

An approach from the left side of the eighteenth fairway provides the only opportunity for a running approach shot, as the deep, winding right-hand bunker ensnares many a mishit approach shot, especially to today’s hole location. However, the same bunker…

An approach from the left side of the eighteenth fairway provides the only opportunity for a running approach shot, as the deep, winding right-hand bunker ensnares many a mishit approach shot, especially to today’s hole location. However, the same bunker …

…Can be used to help a misclubbed or mishit approach shot feed close to the hole thanks to the backside of its built-up lip.

… can be used to help a misclubbed or mishit approach shot feed close to the hole thanks to the backside of its built-up lip.

If you come to Coronado Municipal expecting a monotonous stretch of holes with little strategic merit; sandless, circular bunkers; and grueling, 450-yard two-shotters; be prepared for a pleasant surprise. Coronado Golf Course is not a typical Dark Age golf course. Yes, most of the greens slope sharply from back to front, but that is the only evidence that this course took shape in the era of blah bunkers and monotonous layouts. Strategy takes precedent at Coronado, whether it comes at the hands of Glorietta Bay or the refreshingly interesting bunkers. Most pleasantly surprising about Coronado is its ability to cater to all levels of player; vast areas of short grass fronting each green welcome running tee and approach shots, yet the undulating greens and deep bunkers provide challenge to the scratch golfer. No wonder locals make Coronado Golf Course a tougher round to book than Torrey Pines!

THE END