Another SoCal golf favorite is Monarch Beach Golf Links which is located in Dana Point, California at the St Regis Monarch Beach Resort. If you want to play “hooky” from your desk job this couldn’t be a better spot to hide. Experience the panoramic Pacific Ocean views and unrivaled natural beauty while perfecting your golf game. Some have called Monarch Beach the “Pebble Beach” of Southern California and it is for good reason. There are very few golf courses that can stand up to the blend of stunning backdrops and a variety of presented challenges but Monarch Beach Golf Links does just that. Designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr; this par 70 championship course offers sweeping views to the sea, dramatic bluffs, and an unending variety of play. Don’t be fooled; this is not an easy course. The master of his craft Robert Trent Jones Jr has designed a very challenging layout in the Scottish links tradition making one pay very close attention to each shot. I must admit I may have lost a ball or two on this natural beauty but honestly never really paid much mind to it because of the overall experience. The backdrops of Monarch Beach are ingrained into my memory forever, there’s a reason why I love to come here. It calms me. With the contrast of deep ocean blue against the manicured grass and Mediterranean style homes adjacent to the course it makes those double bogeys tolerable. My two favorite holes are of course holes 3 and 4 as they are oceanfront property and if you are lucky enough you may be visited by a pod of dolphins or a breaching Gray whale in the distance.
When we finished our round we were greeted by a very friendly staff offering a hot towel and to wash our clubs before heading to Stonehill tavern which is Michael Mina’s acclaimed restaurant. We sat on the patio of course as it was a beautiful Southern California day and naturally started with a nice cold refreshing cocktail. I had the Monkey Business as it sounded interesting; made with Gin 209, fresh lemon juice, pineapple-blueberry tea syrup, combier, yellow chartreuse and orange bitters. I started with the Maine Lobster Fritters with Bacon, Yuzu and Crème Fraiche followed by the Tavern Burger topped with White Cheddar Cheese and Shallot Confit. All in all, another perfect golf experience in Southern California.