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Poppy Hills

Poppy Hills

Del Monte Forest, California
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Patrick Koenig
Patrick Koenig
Del Monte Forest, California

Owned and operated by the Northern California Golf Association, Poppy Hills Golf Course first opened for play in 1986. Five years after its inauguration, it was co-hosting the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am event on the PGA Tour and this arrangement lasted until 2009.

GalleryPatrick Koenig
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Patrick Koenig

Robert Trent Jones Jnr originally designed the course and it underwent an extensive renovation in 2013 under the stewardship of RTJ II's project architect, Mike Gorman. When it re-opened the following year, its length had been increased by almost 150 yards but the par had been reduced from 72 to 71.

Located within a heavily wooded landscape, the fairways have all been sand capped to help foster permanent firm and fast conditions and the greens were redesigned to soften contours, with playing surfaces converted to bentgrass.

The renovation also involved reconfiguring some holes. For example, the direction of the 11th was reversed – changing it from the longest par three to the shortest – and the 12th was altered from a severe right doglegged par five to a straight par four which now offers spectacular Ocean views of Monterey Bay.

Another important aspect of the course refurbishment was the establishment of fairway waste and pine straw areas, which brings the trees more into play and reduces the acreage of irrigated turf by almost a quarter, further enhancing the course’s water conservation credentials.

The course has co-hosted the First Tee Open on the PGA Champions Tour since 2014. The format of this event is a little unusual, as every group competing comprises a senior player, a junior golfer and two amateurs.


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Course Architect

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Robert Trent Jones Jr.

As a teenager, RTJ2 worked for his father, learning how to run a bulldozer. His dad paid him the union rate for the job and he used the money for flying lessons, obtaining his pilot’s license aged sixteen.

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