The greens at Morro Bay Golf Course have settled into some challenging undulations.

Courtesy Photo

The greens at Morro Bay Golf Course have settled into some challenging undulations.

Morro Bay Reminds of New Zealand

Sea Feasts and Tricky Putting Greens

Years ago I made a short journey to the North Island of New Zealand. If you want to know what it is like, you need not go any further than Morro Bay. The views, the nature, and the unspoiled feel of this coastal gem are exactly what New Zealand offers. From the Morro Bay Golf Course the vistas are incredible, stretching across the peaceful bay to Los Osos and miles of oceanfront sand dunes.

The Town

I have been going to Morro Bay since I was a kid, and it has not changed much. How many places can you say that about? Most visitors spend their time here taking in great seafood, like at Giovanni’s Market with its outdoor dining service to go. Or they walk around looking for souvenirs at the many shops. Often they are on the way to or from Hearst Castle and just making a short stop.

Morro Bay is actually worth a trip of its own. Morro Rock is a must-see with the rugged Cayucos coastline on its north side. On the southern side is the calm inlet leading into this quaint fishing village, which is always full of sea otters quite happy to have found their way here. The more adventurous traveler might want to rent a kayak and take in the bay itself. The waters are very calm most of the time, especially in the morning. This way you could make it over to the pristine sand dunes of Morro Bay State Park. Check out The Kayak Shack ([805] 772-8796) or Rock Kayak ([805] 772-2906).

The Course

Morro Bay Golf Course is a great place to spend the day. This classic 18-hole layout has two very distinct nines. The front is fairly hilly, rising up from the clubhouse to the top of the hill with stunning views of the entire area unfolding. The back nine is probably a better layout and still offers plenty of vistas of the bay with Los Osos in the background. The scenery reminds me of the journey I took to the north from Auckland to Kauri Cliffs on the west coast of New Zealand. Along the way we visited several towns with scenic golf courses, but none more scenic than right here at Morro Bay.

The dry conditions mean clear skies and more likelihood that you will be treated to the wonderful views here. The Morro Bay Golf Course is in great condition, including the greens that are difficult to read. Over the years the greens have settled, with the severe slopes making for some serious undulations. Every putt breaks a little more than you think in the direction of the bay.

By Courtesy Photo

Trattoria Café Roma sits in San Luis Obispo’s historic Railroad Square, offering feasts from the sea.

Dining in SLO

After an invigorating day of golf or other outdoor sports in Morro Bay, a good place to stop on the way home is Café Roma right next to the Amtrak Station in San Luis Obispo. This classic Italian eatery is a local landmark and sits right in the historic Railroad Square section of town. Owner Marco Rizzo is carrying on the family tradition here with his mother, Maria Rosa Rizzo, who founded the restaurant in 1980.

The Tuscan-style architecture provides a very warm feel, and the inside setting is very comfortable with a friendly atmosphere. Many of the servers are students at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and they are happy to be working here, which is not always the case in the service world. We started with the fried calamari and the mozzarella Caprese, which both hit the spot. From there we dined on pan-roasted duck and wild salmon entrées. The food and service were excellent, and we noted the restaurant was popular even on the midweek night of our visit. Café Roma provided a very relaxing end to our Morro Bay visit.

The Rizzo family is mostly from Northern Italy, and Marco told us about his lakefront home that he still has not far from Lake Como. He enjoys fishing on the few days off that he gets and has had some great adventures in Montana and Idaho. For complete details on Café Roma visit

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