My first experience with Airbnb was great. What I didn't mention was why I was in Southern California. Like every red-blooded petrolhead I wanted to answer the age-old question,
Given a half mile stretch of open road and no cops, how fast can I go in my car.
At "No Fly Zone II" I would find out. 4,900 feet of tarmac at Shafter Airport just outside of Bakersfield.
Now, I know, Bakersfield is not Southern California but logistics dictated I make Newport Beach my home base. I would wake up at 4 am and drive up to Bakersfields for the 7:30 am driver's meeting. Google Maps says about 3 hours but I figured I could do it in 2 with no traffic.
After a few hours of fast and furious action I would drive back to Newport, shower and meet my sister for dinner. An ambitious plan indeed. But hey, I've driven from San Francisco to Bandon, Oregon to play a round of golf; Newport to Bakersfield is nothing!
In preparation I got some Martini Racing livery,
and a new, updated SA2005 Speed Sparco helmet to replace my old HJC,
I'd probably be the slowest car at the event but I want to be slow in style.
In hindsight, my plan was just too ambitious. I ended up waking up late! Didn't factor in,
- Los Angeles traffic. Took me 2 hours Friday afternoon to go from LA to Newport. Very draining.
- Dinner with college buddy. Late dinner Friday night meant I didn't sleep until about midnight.
- Old age. Energy level just ain't what it used to be.
Even though I woke up late I actually did start driving toward Bakersfield (already paid and there's no refunds). But about 20 minutes into the drive, when the GPS said "160 miles," I realized the stupidity of my plan. Alas, I returned to the carriage house.
Time for plan b. You always need a plan b, just in case. My plan b needed to be cheap (already out $200) and occupy me until dinner. How about golf at Coronado Golf Course?
I read about Coronado last year in one of those "cheap fun" golf course articles. The photos look absolutely amazing. $30 green fees for a course in San Diego next to the water?!? Torrey Pines was close to $300! Coronado is an "affluent resort city in San Diego County,"
Yea, that sounds about right. Very cool little city. Lively downtown area with lots of restaurants and postcard scenery everywhere you turn. The Hotel del Coronado, a wooden Victorian landmark visible from the golf course, has hosted Presidents and Royalty, including President Obama. The beach is also suppose to be top notch.
Back to the golf. As you may have guessed, $30 green fees means muni course. Don't expect lush, manicured greens or pampered service. Coronado reminds me a lot of Pacific Grove. Well maintained (for muni) course, good value, fun layout and spectacular views. How can you not like playing golf next to boats?
I've read Coronado is very busy and was worried about walking on as a single golfer but for whatever reason it was very empty Saturday, May 4. Like Torrey Pines, Coronado has a separate, dedicated starter setup. You pay your green fees in the proshop then head over to the starter's box to figure out when you'll go out. It was $56 for me to ride, including range balls. Bargain.
The range balls were decent. Fairly new Wilson range balls. The range itself isn't great. You're hitting off mats. Moreover, I don't think the ground is level. Felt like I was hitting on a downhill lie. Didn't matter, barely hit 10 balls before the started called me.
The course is relatively short. With the firm fairways you get a lot of roll. There's not much rough. The greens are surpisingly good. They roll very nice and I made a lot of putts. I'm not a good putter by any means but I was draining putts left and right! It was very windy. Not sure if it normally blows that much but definitely 1-2 clubs on many holes.
The layout is OK. The holes themselves don't stand out but the backdrops sure do. You're next to a bridge, hitting directly into the marina, hitting along the shore, etc.. One hole (16 or 17) you're next to a beach volleyball court!
For the price, I can't recommend Coronado enough if you're in San Diego on a visit. As long as you're not a golf snob, you'll have fun at this unique muni course.
Some additional tips/info,
- There is a cart girl for drinks/beers but not much food besides chips. You can get food at the turn at the snack shop (hot dogs, etc.).
- Not cart path only if you choose to ride.
- Very walkable course.
- Carts are not allowed in the parking lot but if you park way back in the lot (near the 10th tee), you can basically ride your cart to the 10th tee and unload there.
- As you enter Coronado via the 75 bridge watch out for cops. They are lurking!
- To get to the course you basically exit the bridge, then wrap around the city to get back onto the bridge heading toward San Diego. But before you get back on the bridge (before you see the golf course) you need to make a sharp right, otherwise you are heading back to San Diego!
Plan b ended up being quite fun. Another course off the bucket list. Still need to answer that question, how fast can I go in 1/2 mile? Because you know, I live my life 1/2 mile at a time.