Looking out to sea at the 2nd holeLooking down at the 7th green The beautiful par 3 17th hole
It’s 6.30am, the sun is slowing rising and I’m chatting to one of the starters at Half Moon Bay Golf Links. I have a 7am tee time and I’m first out, but I’ve just been informed that one of the owners wants to go out first in a fourball. Ouch. You can imagine my dilemma – I’m going to be stuck behind a fourball so this could be a long day, and I have a 1pm tee time at TPC Harding Park over an hour away. Thankfully after a quick chat to let them know, the next time they see me after I tee off will be in the bar. Two-and-three-quarter hours later I’m holing out on the stunning 18th green which is perched on a clifftop looking out to a very calm Pacific Ocean while I can see the fourball putting out on the 13th.
In 1997 Arthur Hills was given some superb land to work with, and by all accounts the course could’ve been even better if they had gone through with his original design. That’s not to say that what is here now is not a tremendous track – because it is, and not just the famed finishing stretch of holes from the 16th. All of the par-3s are strong – there is not a weak hole among them. The change in elevation from the tees to the fairways offers some great views of the ocean. It’s as if the course whispers to you, wanting you to play your best golf and succumb to this wild beauty. And wild it can certainly be – and when you least expect it. The wind can pick up and, like any links course, wreck that immaculate scorecard.
From the 394-yard par-4 opening dog-leg right with its green that sits below the fairway and with an ocean backdrop, to the par-5 18th where you have a blind tee shot over a pedestrian pathway, you will enjoy this track immensely. I do, but I don’t get to let the owner know because I’m not waiting around that long to let him know!