Jack Nicklaus has certainly designed many courses that have incorporated his nickname into their title, but California has gone so far as to include his alias on its state flag! Bear Creek Golf Club was one of the Golden Bear’s first forays into design, and already his penchant for challenging, heroic golf was on display.
Right off the first tee, players will see just how large the sand hazards at the club are. Avoiding them is key to scoring well, and indeed scoring well may be the only way to avoid them! Some of the more notable traps on the course are the “Lion’s Mouth” bunker that appears ahead of the boomerang-shaped bunker on the par four No. 6, and players will confront a barrage of bunkering on both nos. 9 and 12.
Although the former is a par five and the latter is a par three, the pair share a green. On the shorter hole, it almost looks like Nicklaus crafted a bear’s paw, based on the way that several smaller pot bunkers resemble pads off the bigger palm.
No. 10 may be the signature hole, however, playing off of a wide barranca from the tee, and then right back over the same valley on the way to the green.