These oak woodlands, savannas, grasslands, wetlands, and forests of redwood and Monterey pine rise from 100 to 3,000 feet. They hold 54 distinct habitats virtually hidden from outside view by the surrounding ridges of the Santa Lucia Range, which plunges into the sea at Big Sur.
Tom Fazio Course
The setting “is as good as it gets,” says designer Tom Fazio, who likens a round on The Preserve Golf Course’s 18 holes to “a grand hike” in which you “happen to have a golf club in your hand.”
The course’s 73 playable acres meander within a 350-acre envelope of hills and valleys, wetlands, creeks, and rocky formations that visually separate each fairway and green from the next, and deliver players into a serene natural world free of noise or distractions save the occasional bobcat.
The layout uses the land’s existing contours to create natural challenges. Most holes trend downhill, presenting a succession of splendid views. A limited membership ensures light traffic.
This Jewel of a course combines the visually stunning natural beauty of its surrounding with a very challenging test of golf. The green complexes provide the biggest challenge as a misplaced shot to any of these greens can make for a very difficult two putt.
The 1st hole at The Preserve is a great hole, but perhaps not a great 1st hole. Personally I have struggled mightily with this tee shot that has the appearance of a relatively open tee shot, but in reality the ideal area to place your tee shot is very near the right hazard. A tee shot left or long and left will leave you blocked by a beautiful oak tree that sufficiently guards the left side of this fairway. Most players from the Championship tees hit a long iron or rescue club that still leaves 180-200 yards into a very undulated green from back to front and left to right. In my frustration I have even pulled driver out figuring a shot misplayed further up is well better than one further back. A par here is a welcomed start, but even a bogey here should not sour your day.
The tee shot to #2 is anywhere from 150-200 yards depending on the wind conditions. This downhill par three hole plays approx 1 club short of the actual distance, and a well placed shot to this steeply tilted green is at a premium here. A misplaced shot on the right side of the green will roll down off the green and into the rough. A shot missed left will catch the bunker leaving a near impossible shot to stop down the hill. An extra few seconds of thought is needed before hitting this important shot to #2
The 3rd hole at the Preserve is another risk/reward tee shotopportunity with a bunker out right and heavy rough to the left you widest landing area is approx 210 yards off the tee at 40 yards wide. Another 20 yards down the fairway and the fairway pinches in another 15 yards leaving a shorter shot but certainly brings more of the trouble into play here. The second shot is at least 5 yards longer than the yardage as it plays 15 yards uphill to another sloping green from front to back and left to right. This is definitely a birdie hole and he sloping green does provide a backboard for second shots played safely deeper into the green.
The tee shot on #4 can be played safely down the middle or slid down the right side to attempting to reach the flat spot down the hill for a possible go at this crazy two tiered green with that makes this hole very tough. Your 3rd shot into this green needs to be very accurate or you’re looking at a very tough chance at par. Because of my history of troubles with this green I have a very unflattering view of the top-tier and slope of this green. I feel it’s a little to severe and doesn’t really properly reward a well hit shot. The natural surroundings of this hole are quite breath-taking however and I feel the visual aspects of this hole are quite stunning!
The 5th hole is a short uphill par 4 with a fairly generous amt of room on the tee shot. The uphill second shot is the real challenge on this hole as a shot short will catch the false front and roll back down the fairway up to 50 yards. There are no easy pins on this green and it’s advisable to take an extra club on this uphill shot to the 5th green.
The sixth hole at the preserve is a tough downhill par three hole that can play anywhere from 180-220 yards from the back tee. The green is not as severe as the 1st 5, but still will provide a challenge for shots not left within 30 feet of the pin. The proper line of attack on this hole is left center of the green, as a shot missed right may bound down the hill into very heavy rough. The slight miss left will still allow for a reasonable chance at par here.