Contra Costa Country Club

December 21, 2009 10:49:46 AM PST
Contra Costa's gorgeous greens roll so fast, and so deceptively, that even when you think you've stroked one pure, you're likely to face a thirty-footer back to the hole.

The course is big, noble, and fun. It first opened in 1925, although subsequent renovations tweaked the original design, possibly to excess. For instance, the layout didn't need additional fairway mounding.

Contra Costa is 6550 hilly yards from the tips. Because of the mounds, you'll deal with more than a few awkward lies. So why make the greens so difficult? The day we played, they were too fast for the course.

Be careful when playing the 481/477/462/412 yard, par five, 3rd. You'll lick your chops from the tee box. The fairway is broad and flat. The green is elevated, but appears reachable. In fact, it best belongs on a miniature golf course.

Contra Costa has two other tricky holes. The 343/336/313/282 yard, par four, 12th has a tree in the middle of the fairway. Play a wood to the left for your optimum shot into the green.

The 352/337/322/290 yard, par-4 13th is another mystery. The short, downhill fairway ends abruptly with a tree and a creek, 105 yards from the middle of the green. From the tips, lay back with a 175-180 yard iron, and keep the ball left-center to avoid the tree.

Contra Costa is a fun course, with a pleasant staff, a classy clubhouse, and nice members. I remember every hole and will happily play there, again.

But after putting those greens, I am convinced that the superintendent is a sadist.


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