The Olympic Club has a well-deserved reputation as a challenging golf course. The fairways are bounded by beautiful trees and the greens guarded by bunkers that often require an aerial approach. While there is only one hole with fairway bunkers, there are plenty of doglegs requiring a tee shot to the proper side of the fairway to provide the best angle for the next shot. The strongest stretch is the last six holes, with the unusual par sequence of 3-4-3-5-5-4. And while the first three holes are also strong, the nine holes in between are a bit repetitious. From the members’ tees holes 4-6 are all within 20 yards of each other—though with elevation changes. The 7th and 8th (a short par 4 and a par 3 added a few years ago) are excellent, but then dullness returns. Holes 9-12 are all within 10 yards of each other and quite flat. When I was told that 10 plays a lot like 5, I had to stop and think to remember a hole I’d played only an hour ago. The greens are quick and challenging but only a couple have the kind of undulations I find interesting. The best feature of this middle portion of the course is Hot Dog Bill's behind the 10th green. Many years ago, Bill had a little hot dog wagon outside the course boundaries and members would send their caddies for Bill’s hot dogs. Eventually the club invited Bill onto the course and he and his descendants have been serving hamburgers in hot dog rolls there ever since. This unusual combination is a remnant of the tiny wagon that did not have enough room for both hamburger and hot dog rolls. While I enjoyed Olympic, my host also took me to the Menlo Country Club. I found the the recent Kyle Phillips remodel there even more enjoyable.
Date: November 28, 2015