Our tour started in bright sunshine at our base for the week Desert Princess. We opted for teams of three with one score to count on the front nine and two on the back nine. It took a few holes for all of us to find our pace on the excellent greens, which were running at 12 on the stimp meter! Roger, Michael and Jennie pipped Arnold, Vanessa and Tony by a point. Most of us caught up on some sleep in the afternoon. Re-energised we had an excellent dinner at La Catalan, Spanish restaurant.
Day Two we travelled to Desert Willow to play the Mountain View Course. The clue was definitely in the title and the views were amazing. Once again the greens were brisk, however our putting strokes were tuned up for this and in the team format today Arnold, Vanessa and Jennie won by a point. Individually, Roger scored an excellent 34 points. We had a nice lunch afterwards with some more mountain view appreciation.
Tuesday we visited the excellent Indian Wells and after a frost delay another enjoyable round of golf was had. Incredibly on the individual front there was a six way tie for first place with everyone scoring 35 points each! Clearly the team event was tied too and with that in mind I suggested we ate at the Thai that evening, but we stayed with the original idea of Mexican with musical entertainment!
Unfortunately our 4th game was rained off on Desert Princess as Southern California experienced over two inches of rain. In fact it was the most rain in a day in Southern California in 70 years! We cheered ourselves up with a nice Chinese meal in the evening and hoped for better tomorrow.
For our final game we revisited Desert Willow to play their excellent Firecliff course. It was quite remarkable, there was no sign of any surface water from the previous days deluge. Even the bunkers, which we all visited, were fine to play out of and the greens kept up a good speed. There were some tricky pin positions today and Roger coped best with the challenge and had a very respectable 33 points to win the day.
Our week in Temecula started with a visit to a lively restaurant in the scenic old town. We watched with interest as across the road a seemingly never ending queue of line dancers looked to enter the marvellously named Stampede for their Saturday night fix.
The travails of California weather had afflicted the courses although damp under foot, the greens everywhere were excellent pace. Unfortunately having experienced the coldest February in living memory, the grass was still dormant on the fairways. We visited the Penachanga resort for golf and a spot of people watching in their mind boggling casino. The golf course featured several eye catching holes with incredible views of the Temecula region. Food in the evening was good and highlights were an incredible bread pudding in an Italian restaurant run by an engaging Italian Rastafarian who had lived in Yeovil! The other fun night was at the Shamrock Bar and Grill (you can always find an Irish Bar somewhere in the world!) and after a drink or two Jennie decided to try her hand at Karaoke which she did as with all her activities with great aplomb!
The weather took an upturn for our Santa Barbara week. Sunday in a sunny Santa Barbara was a joy. After a nice breakfast by the Harbour we played at one of their local golf courses. After a few injury problems it was good to get Michael and Roger back on the course and both played well. Arnie and Tony had an excellent front nine however with some strategically played 3 point holes, winners on the day were Vanessa and Jennie with 38 points. An excellent dinner on the front, set us up for a good day at Glenn Annie GC.
The undulating Glenn Annie provided a good technical test of golf. With teams of three today, the Roger, Tony & Jennie trio got off to a fast start being 8 under thru 9 holes, add another four birdies on the back nine and bingo 13 under, is tough to get close to! Having a post game drink on the patio we met some British golfers who now live in Santa Barbara, which was interesting.
We had an early wake up call for our game at Sandpiper and it was well worth the early start. A golf course with great ocean views and some terrific holes and challenging quick greens. The signature 11th hole didn’t disappoint and in today’s play Arnie, Michael and Tony triumphed with 40 points.
With no early start on our day off, we treated ourselves to a visit to downtown Santa Barbara for shopping, catching up on sleep and local art appreciation. After dinner we ended up at the lively Red Piano Bar. Our resident dancer in chief (Mike) “busted some moves” (as the kids say) with some of the appreciative locals. The day off was well planned as rain swept in, so a day for being under cover.
Our second visit to Sandpiper, whilst wet under foot after the rain, was still fun. We all had a better idea of their sloping greens, although couldn’t say we had totally mastered them! A good days golf and played at a brisk pace. Impressively, everyone got over the water on the par 3 18th, not saying we all made pars, but we all stayed dry.
Final day at Glenn Annie and although the wet weather made the fairways challenging, the sloping terrain made for some interesting golf. A great days golf to finish with and with Arnold on fire on the back nine and ably supported by Jennie and Vanessa they won the days play by a point.
Our tour although not blessed with great weather was nonetheless an interesting one. Outside of the golf we enjoyed the varied cuisine and Jennie and I particularly enjoyed the art on offer which abounds in southern California.