Pauma Valley Country Club
Pauma Valley Drive
Pauma Valley, CA 92061
SAN DIEGO GOLF RESERVATIONS (858-456-8383) DOES NOT make reservations at Pauma Valley Country Club
by Martin Olivera
R.T. Jones Sr. designed this beautiful golf course so it fit in the valley like a glove. Each hole was carved into the land in such manner that even the homes around the course look like intrinsic part of the environment. Succinctly, the golf course is a jewel in the valley with almost every golf shot having a mountain as background. It's a fair but tough test of golf. In August '96 this course hosted one of the qualifying tournaments for the U.S. Amateur. The field average score was 79 ...
The course is tight. Trees line up every hole, and Jones made sure that accuracy is rewarded in every shot, but also that length is rewarded. Strategic bunkering adds to the difficulty of this course from any set of tees. Each tee shot has to be carefully planned to avoid compromising the approach shots, or even the lay-up second shot on the par-5 holes. Abrupt changes in elevation make club selection even trickier in some holes, and undulations in the Bermuda-grass fairways may result in awkward stances.
The greens are Bent, so the ball rolls true. The difficulty on the greens comes from their severe undulations and slopes. In some cases slopes opposed to the lay of the land can easily trick the eye. Accurate approach shots are a must to have a reasonable birdie opportunity. And the opposite holds true: an approach shot to the wrong place on the green may make two-putting very difficult.
Symmetry seems to hold true here. The course will make a player play "every shot in the bag". The front nine, par 35, starts with pars 5, 4, 3 holes, followed with three difficult par 4's, and ending with pars 3, 4, 4. The symmetry is such that one wonders whether the 9th hole was originally designed as a par-5, thus making the front nine a par 36. Both par-3's are of medium length, and the opening par-5 is a dog-leg right, in contrast to the par-5 holes in the back nine. The middle holes are three difficult par-4s that demand length and accuracy off the tee. The changes in elevation in the front nine are not as pronounced as in the back, as the holes are laid out on a rather flat stretch of land by the river bed.
Symmetry is even more evident in the back nine, par 36. It starts with pars 4, 5, 3 and finishes with par 3, 4, and 5. Both par-5s are dog-leg left, both par-3 are long and well bunkered. The 10th hole requires an uphill, blind, approach, whereas the 18th hole features a severe downhill tee-shot. The middle holes are par 4's of short, long and medium length. The short par-4 13th is a dog-leg right, the long 14th is straight, and the medium 15th is a dog-leg left. Any more golf course symmetry than this back nine is hard to come by.
The club facilities include a driving range and a large practice green. Tennis courts are not far away from the clubhouse. The pro-shop and restaurant are first class in quality products and service. There is an air strip within the club premises for those arriving by airplane.
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