You probably haven’t heard of Cordevalle. But the 2016 U.S. Women’s Open might make you want to visit. Here’s our “He Said, She Said” review.
SHE SAID: After witnessing the U.S. Open men at Oakmont crisscrossing the Pennsylvania Turnpike to play a golf course with history but without beauty, TV viewers are going to love the stunningly scenic U.S. Women’s Open newbie Cordevalle. And women, especially, will want to make Cordevalle a bucket-list destination.
First of course they’ll have to figure out where it is. San Martin, Calif., is on nobody’s bucket list yet because it’s in farm country between San Jose and the sunny beach town Santa Cruz. Ladies, note, it’s close to the famed outlets of Gilroy, which also happens to be the garlic capital of the world. If you’re pining for vegetables, you’ll be happy to hear that the artichoke capital of the world, Castroville, is just beyond Santa Cruz.
Rosewood’s Cordevalle, however, is a world apart. It rates five stars as a luxury resort. Developers envisioned an escape for the busy Silicon Valley set, so the designers prioritized serenity and exclusivity over density and sprawl. The luxurious spa, spectacular golf course and diverse dining options are accessible only for members, guests and gate-crashers. Members feel they are home, and even guests walking around the 1,700-acre property get the feeling they own the place.
HE SAID: Take a look at the course online; it’s a beauty. It plays through the eastern side of the Santa Cruz Mountains, which have the coast on the other side and bring some breezes. The rough and fairways are rye with some poa annua. Amazing turf here in drought country. Greens are bent with a bit of poa.
A Robert Trent Jones Jr. design, it is a tough golf course that plays over creeks, wetlands, ponds, up and down hills with big sand traps. The blues are at 6,810 yards and the greens at 6,440, which is plenty to handle at sea level. The women will play it at 6,700 yards.
The No. 1 handicap is No. 3, a huge par-5 split by a creek that none of the women will be able to reach in two unless the USGA moves the tees far forward to change up one round. Seventeen is a brutal par-4 that plays at 420 from the greens, and then we come to 18. At 504 yards, 18 is a tempting, possibly reachable par-5 with a pond in front of a large green, but it has bunkering in the back of it and shaped areas a la Augusta on the front and side that will cause balls to slide into the water. Looks easy, but under pressure will play hard.
I’m really amped for the Open. Our caddies thought the women would get to 12 or 13 under par.
Disclosure: GottaGoGolf’s visit was partially hosted by Cordevalle.
HE SAID, SHE SAID ON CORDEVALLE
HIS AHS: Great course design. … Even without views of the nearby coast, the scenery and natural setting are fantastic. … A first-rate practice area is tucked up a hill and out of sight. … The hillside bungalows all have patios overlooking the course and sitting areas inside by the fireplace. … The 19th hole, on a patio outside the clubhouse, had a nice selection of food and drink and a casually elegant feel. … Everything about it is top notch, including the people.
HIS ARGS: The course is very tough, both to play and to walk. … Not a fan of forecaddies when riding, although they can be helpful finding your way around the first time at the course, and in reading some of the subtle breaks on the greens. … At $295 a player, it’s expensive.
HER AHS: For a relatively small property, it has everything — tennis, Sense spa, fitness room, big outdoor pool and even its own winery. … Caddies add to the golf experience. … Unpretentious, unobtrusive staff, there when you need them. … One of the best selections of top-label women’s golf clothes anywhere. … No weird golf course dress code requiring women to have collars or to cover their thighs — just look sharp!
HER ARGS: Certainly everything is very expensive, although the value is there. I’d choose this over most destinations for a special getaway. … The forward tees are 5,385 yards long — too long to qualify the resort for GottaGoGolf’s Top 10 U.S. Golf Resorts for Women. And the next set is 6,010 yards. Typical RTJII, not kind for the average woman golfer. … Not much to do immediately outside the resort, but then, who’d want to leave?
TEES RATED FOR WOMEN: White 6010 yards/76 rating/139 slope; Red 5,385 yards/72.1 rating/130 slope.
BEST TIME TO VISIT: Maybe when it’s winter in the rest of the country, but it’s hard to envision a bad time. Just be sure to ask about the expected course conditions due to maintenance.
2-2-2* COST: Ultimate Golf Package starting at $1,098 in a fairway guest room. Caddie required, additional charge of at least $40 per round.