The small coastal town of Half Moon Bay lies less than an hour’s drive south of downtown San Francisco, where the Half Moon Bay Golf Links opened the first of its two 18-hole golf layouts (the Old course) in 1973.
Unfortunately, apart from the spectacular closing par four hole which plays along the Oceanside cliffs, the playing corridors of this Arnold Palmer and Frank Duane design are routed around large residential areas, away from the coastline.
On the other hand, the Arthur Hills-designed Ocean course to the south of the property was unveiled in 1997 and it’s largely devoid of any housing elements, offering golfers an entertaining links-like golf experience with firm and fast playing conditions.
Feature holes include the short par four 2nd (with a wide gully to carry on the tee shot), the par three 7th (the only water-laden hole on the card), and the trio of cliff top finishing holes at 16, 17 and 18, where wayward shots to the left are consigned to Davy Jones’ Locker.
The Ocean course hosted the 28th and penultimate edition of the Samsung World Championship on the LPGA Tour in 2008. Paula Creamer won the event by one shot with an aggregate score of 279, nine under par, claiming the first prize share of the tournament’s $1 million purse.
Better overall than the big brother Old Course but still there's way too much shaping for my tastes that makes the Ocean Course stand apart from the site itself. It doesn't help matters when you see obvious man made creations meant to give "definition" to the site.
Much is made of the ending trio nearest to the Pacific and they are a good bunch but for anyone to confuse them with the gems along the Pacific that you find further south as one nears the Monterey Peninsula would be a big time stretch of one's imagination.
The resort amenities are well done. However, the golf is merely present for those who are non-architectural devotees. The design provides functionality -- not compelling architecture.
M. James Ward