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CordeValle’s No. 7 will play as No. 4 in the championship.

it was a cattle ranch owned by the Lucky Lager Co. It felt like “Old California,” with its golden hills, the aged native oaks, the natural creek running through the valley and the sun setting over the mountains cast- ing lingering shadows. It was like entering a sanctuary. Two decades later I was


approached by a group of investors about building a golf course there, but they wanted to exploit the good golf terrain with an intense housing development as well. That was not our style and nothing ever came of it. Still, I always felt it was a lovely site for a core golf course, and I’m thrilled that we eventually were able to build exactly that for CordeValle with a like-minded group. It is such a beautiful place to play, and the cur- rent owner, Dr. Hasso Plattner, is a wonderful patron of sport. Did I envision a national champi- onship at CordeValle? Honestly, no.

hen I first saw the San Martin property in the late 1960’s that would later become CordeValle,

But I am very proud that this will be the first U.S. Women’s Open played in the San Francisco Bay Area, where I’ve called home since 1961. The flexible design is perfect for

this championship. CordeValle has lots of subtleties and it’s a real shot-makers course. There are plenty of hole loca- tions that leave room to stop the ball in the ideal location. I can’t predict who will win, but I do know the winner will have mastered what I see as the keys to survival at CordeValle: Recognize that each tee shot

is in front of you, along clear discern- ible lines.

Think before you play. It’s not the total length of the shot; it’s where the ball comes to rest after it lands. It matters which side of the fair-

way you play from to obtain the best angle for approach shots to the green. There are greens within greens.

> > > >

It’s not only the stylish, well placed bunkers that defend the hole, but the contours within each putting surface. Pick your spots and try not to


get above the hole. It’s tremendously rewarding to have

designed two courses that will crown our national champion for the second

year in a row, following last year’s U.S. Open at Chambers Bay. And while it might not appear so on the surface, Chambers Bay is actually similar to CordeValle. Each is a core golf course, meaning you can easily walk from the green to the next tee. And each appeals to the highest level of competitor and knowledgeable spectators. Furthermore, both courses illus-

trate one of the key tenets of an RTJ II design: that the course be site- specific. Some have said we don’t have a “signature look” to our courses. I take that as a compliment. I say, “Let the land speak for itself and reveal the golf course within it naturally.” I think you’ll see the same design

characteristics at Poppy Hills Golf Course, another one of our original designs that was recently awarded the 2018 U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship. We are very grateful to showcase

CordeValle on a global stage through the best women golfers in the world. They will be playing for our national championship, as well as world rankings to qualify for their nations’ Olympic team at Rio de Janeiro in August 2016. I hope to see you there.

SPRING 2016 / NCGA.ORG / 33

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