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La Habra Heights, California
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Patrick Koenig
Patrick Koenig
La Habra Heights, California

William Watson is a relatively unheralded Golden Age golf architect who designed numerous golf courses (primarily in California) including the Olympic Club and Harding Park. One of his best courses is the Hacienda Golf Club nestled among the trees and streams of La Habra Heights.

GalleryPatrick Koenig
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Patrick Koenig

Hacienda opened with nine holes in 1920 and quickly moved to a full eighteen in 1923. The clubhouse takes a visitor through its substantial history including Gene Sarazen initially holding the course record and Tiger Woods shooting a 62 during his amateur days.

The course has a wonderfully quirky parkland routing that takes advantage of the hilly terrain as well as a valley floor that features a meandering stream. The conditioning of the course is top-notch and the club is notorious for its fast greens. A golfer would do well to stay below the hole.

The standout holes at Hacienda are the par threes which feature forced carries and deviously placed bunkers making them the most thought-provoking shots of the day. The par fours and par fives challenge the golfer with doglegs and elevated greens with streams and ponds presenting additional challenges.

The late John Harbottle III renovated Hacienda in 2006 after studying old aerial photographs. The architect added extra length and altered bunkers to maintain modern-day shot values. Hacienda is a true gem of Golden Age design and will continue challenging its members and guests for years to come.

Article by Pete Flanigan.


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William Watson

William Watson began designing golf courses during a time period when most people in the United States knew nothing about the game of golf, much less how to play or gain access to golf clubs.

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