Paso Robles is a golf paradise- Just don't forget the bacon

 

Hunter_ranchx412
Credits: San Luis Obispo County VCB / Hunter Ranch Golf Course

by Judd Spicer

The environs of Paso Robles have a slow, easy way of wooing one toward
palate-pleasing evenings.  The region's
luster is found in its ample bounty and the offerings are just too pleasurable
to decline – even with an early tee time.

 

For the nascent
visitor, Hunter Ranch Golf Course will serve as a smooth
segue from whatever bottle was enjoyed the night prior.  Routed through mature oaks and abutting
rolling fields of celebrate vine (Robert Hall winery among them), the track
aptly measures a dearth of distance (6,741 yards from the tips) with an
abundance of beatific quietude that extends from clubhouse, to course to one of
the most enjoyable post-rounds lunches I've ever had.  Really – The Grill at Hunter Ranch is a
must-stop for players and area visitors alike. 
Whatever you order, just ensure it includes bacon.

And don't come
complacent because of the measured yardage. 
Even from the whites (at 6,292), Hunter Ranch is a handful of demanding
shot-making and acute ball placement. 
Those neighboring vineyards mirror the course's consistent display of
elevation change, with some rolls proving more subtle than others.  Long ballers will find themselves
consistently clubbing-down from the box and reaching the well-maintained greens
in regulation will test most low handicappers. 
There's some quirk here, to be sure, but much like one's palate from the
evening previous – a few degrees of prudence will find visitors
well-sated. 

A course key, in my experience, fast
adhered to the rule of playing toward what I could see, even if that meant
hitting a handful of mid-irons from the tee and eschewing a hero's mentality
when playing back onto the short grass post a wayward drive.  The afore-noted elevation changes indeed
present some blind shots here, so newcomers will want to study the layout
before tee times.

Hunter Ranch offered so very much of
what I enjoy about golf; so often, courses are carved through homes, resorts,
highways or cityscapes – and that's fine. 
Golf courses are erected where the brass initially deems wise; the best
players block out such encumbrances anyway. 
But to experience solitude on a golf course is what keeps me coming
back; to ingest a sensation that I'm amid nature, that I may see some foliage
or a wild animal or a grape vine that will remind me that I'm outdoors and
unburdened and bound only by the rules of the game.

And Hunter Ranch is very much that.  Just be sure to add bacon.

Judd Spicer
is a veteran, award-winning freelance writer and a member of the Golf Writers
Association of America.  A native of
Saint Paul, Minn., he has been based on Palm Desert, Calif. since 2011.  To read Judd's work, please visit
www.juddspicer.com and to hear his regular contributions to
"The Elevated Tee" golf radio program based out of Palm Springs,
please click
here.  Judd can be followed on Twitter via
@JuddSpicer.

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