So you are looking for a golf getaway but want to make sure your spouse, who doesn’t play golf, also has fun? Monarch Dunes is just the place. Located in the pristine Nipomo Dunes area, this upscale daily-fee course is also home to the Monarch Club and Sandalwood Spa. This links-style layout is one of the best along the Central Coast, and the spa/athletic club is like one in a five-star hotel.
The Monarch Club
Set on a bluff overlooking the golf course sits the elegant Monarch Club, which is the hub of activity at Monarch Dunes. This contemporary building looks as if it were designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and fits in well with the rolling dunes and tall eucalyptus trees that line the property. The Monarch Club is home to the Sandalwood Spa and Athletic Club, which features several pools. The structure’s unique design includes an indoor/outdoor pool with waterfalls and lush landscaping throughout. The facility is normally reserved for property owners at Trilogy Monarch Dunes, but guests of the spa have access for the day.
The elegance of the Monarch Club is further enhanced by a great restaurant offering in Adelina’s Bistro. Chef Charles Weber has created a regional cuisine by using the best local, organic produce. The menu will have something for everyone, and my salmon sandwich was excellent. The setting and interior reminded me of Pebble Beach’s The Inn at Spanish Bay. Monarch Dunes’ first tee and ninth green frame the view. Visit adelinasbistro.com for complete details.
The Marketplace adjoins the restaurant and offers lighter, quicker fare from Chef Weber. This would be perfect for before the round or right after if you have less time. Both the Bistro and Marketplace are open to the public and welcome golfers to stop by. Set aside some extra time to experience the Monarch Club as you plan this visit.
Since my first visit here some eight years ago, this course has really blossomed. The dunes features lining the fairways have matured as has the entire layout. Monarch Dunes is now one of the elite layouts along the Central Coast and will give you a feel similar to the famed Bandon Dunes.
The Monarch Dunes Old Course is a links-style design created by Damien Pascuzzo. The routing is very interesting as you wind your way through large eucalyptus trees set on rolling terrain close to the Nipomo sand dunes. The front nine has many holes reminiscent of the seaside venues found in Scotland, especially hole numbers 1, 4, and 5. As you play on, the terrain gets more rolling with several strategically placed lakes to cross. A while back they switched nines, and I think this was a great idea. What is now the 10th hole was too tough for a 1st hole as it is probably the toughest hole on the course. A dogleg left par four of 434 yards, it plays into the prevailing wind with water guarding the entire left side. The approach must also cross water to a well-guarded green. The finishing hole also creates much excitement. Big hitters will need to throttle down here to avoid the large lake front and left. This downhill dogleg to the right is usually downwind, and the fairly long approach must cross the same lake.
The Challenge Course is a 12-hole short course, with most of the same design features as the Old Course. This is a great option if you have a beginner along or just want to sharpen your short game. If you had the time you might even warm up by playing the Challenge Course first then tackling the Old Course. As with most of our coastal golf, you can count on a steady breeze starting around 10 a.m. daily. Monarch Dunes also has an excellent range, with three different putting greens to tune up on.
For further details visit monarchdunes.com.
Monarch Dunes is about an hour-and-a-half drive by the coast route and 15 minutes shorter via the San Marcos Pass. You will not be disappointed making this visit and will most likely eagerly await a return.