A Day on the Bay by Frank LaRosa


With the full 36-hole renovation complete, the Bayonet and Black Horse golf courses on the Monterey Peninsula should be on your must-play list. If you have played them before the eye-popping makeover, you’re in for a treat.


The history behind the Bayonet and Black Horse golf courses is as colorful as their lush green fairways and white sand bunkers. Located overlooking the beautiful Monterey Bay on the former Fort Ord Army base, Bayonet Golf Course was built in 1954 by Commanding General Robert McClure and named after the 7th Infantry’s Bayonet Division.


It seems the lefty general was plagued with a bit of a slice and a little creative architecture managed to reduce his handicap with a series of sharp dogleg holes known as Combat Corner where I’ve waged a bit of war myself. Black Horse was named in honor of the Blackhorse 11th Cavalry Regiment.


Renovations on the 36-hole layout began at the bottom with new fairways, redesigned bunker complexes, and beguiling bentgrass greens. The result is two sparkling ocean-view gems…each offering a different experience. Bayonet’s more traditional deep bunkers and tamer greens contrast with the stunning large serrated bunkers and greens with more movement you’ll find on Black Horse. 


Correspondingly, tee shots are more challenging on Bayonet with plenty of room to miss on Black Horse. Architect Gene Bates, is the artist behind the renovation. Bates, who may just be the most affable person I’ve met in golf, has created a masterpiece with unobstructed views of the Bay and perfect bentgrass tees, fairways and greens.


My host, the personable tournament director, Julio Rodriguez ordered up perfect Peninsula weather with blue skies and puffy white clouds to go along with the temperate climate. Even if I had found myself with a bad lie on the course (which I didn’t), it wouldn’t have mattered.


Pick one or play them both. You won’t be disappointed. For more information, visit bayonetblackhorse.com


P.S. The photos here are by Julio Rodriguez. Top is number 18 on Bayonet and the other photo is the finishing hole on Black Horse.





November 27, 2009 at 1:20 pm | Golf To Go by Frank LaRosa, Uncategorized | No comment

On the Bookshelf by Frank LaRosa

Although we’re blessed with great weather most of the year in Northern California, we’re getting into the time of year when the winter weather might be more suited to reading a book about golf than actually going outside to brave the elements. Three new offerings from Abrams Books will give you plenty of pages to turn as you look forward to the return of our 100 degree summer days.

David Barret’s new book, Golf’s Dream 18s presents a unique premise. Barret has imagined 18 amazing courses, each made up of the greatest holes in different categories. Barret has chosen the 18 best scenic holes, the 18 best shore holes, 18 best historic holes, etc… If that’s not enough, he put together his ultimate course made up of the best of his other 17 categories!

Add some great color photos and tips on how to play the holes and you’ve got a book that will either have you nodding in agreement or wondering how Barret could choose his over yours!

Author Darius Oliver visited every course he reviewed in his book Planet Golf USA which not only outlines his best, hardest and most dramatic courses and holes, but also reviews the Top 100 ranked courses in the United States according to two national golf magazines.

I went through the list quickly checking off the ones I’ve played while making a mental note of the ones I still want to play.

I’m looking at the title of Chris Santella’s book as an assignment in the hopes that it actually keeps me around until I complete the Fifty More Places to Play Golf Before You Die! The author interviews 50 golf world luminaries asking about their favorite courses and experiences. From touring professionals, photographers, journalists and travel specialists, he put together a list that included Royal Dornoch in Scotland, Nirwana in Bali and China’s Jade Dragon Snow Mountain where players tee off at 10,000 feet at the base of the Himalayas. Can you imagine the hang time on that one?

Look for these books and more golf diversions at your local bookstore.

November 23, 2009 at 5:15 pm | Golf To Go by Frank LaRosa | No comment

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