Because most of his designs are outside the U.S (in 20 different countries), Kyle Phillips is not always on the American golf radar. When my host at Menlo heard Phillips would be working there, he joined even before one shoveful of dirt had been moved. He wasn’t disappointed……….and neither was I. Obliterating Robert Trent Jones’s work from the 50s, the creator of Kingsbarns has built almost as fine a course in Silicon Valley. Phillips employed a modified Muirfield routing with the front nine running around the perimeter of the property (though clockwise in this case) while the back nine holes runs in a variety of directions inside the front. The result is that every hole is memorable.
There’s a line of charm in evidence on every tee shot and plenty of options on approach shots. The contours on the greens are challenging, but not obscene. The course gets better as one goes along with the finishing holes being among the strongest. The short par 4 fifteenth features a challenging approach to a fallaway green with a creek behind it; sixteen is a tiny par 3 with a devilish green and the 17th is a double dogleg par 5.
Date: May 17, 2016