Maderas Golf Club
In the summer of 2001, Maderas Golf Course (MDC) was little more than a collection of grass, sand and rocks situated inside an oblong bowl of hillsides in Poway.
Although it was new, a golf professional at Torrey Pines recommended it to me and a friend who was preparing for Q School and had flown out from Denver to play some of the better San Diego courses.
We were skeptical but we forged on.
Arriving in Poway, we found the course and contacted the starter, who was housed in a temporary trailer. We were put on a short waiting list and had some time to warm up on the excellent practice range before winding our way to the first hole.
Unfortunately my friend was a much longer hitter than I was and he insisted on going to the back tees. I was definitely at a disadvantage.
Maderas has so many tee boxes on each hole they have practically run out of colors to name them.
They have black, maderas, gold, silver, copper and jade tees. I can almost understand jade but maderas means "wood" in Spanish so I couldn't quite make the connection to a color.
In spite of this idiosyncrasy on the part of the designers, having a large choice of tee boxes is an excellent attribute for a track like Maderas.
It allows even the golfers with a higher swing challenge to have the experience of playing a world-class golf course without enduring the frustration of losing a small bucket in the process.
Once in the rhythm of the game, however, I forgot about my deficiencies as a long driver and began to marvel at what a truly fine design the architects of Maderas had created.
On most good courses, one or two holes will stand out as being more enjoyable than the rest but finding this relative value at MDC was impossible. Each hole was a delight.
Maderas had a "feel" to it, that complementing blend of features coming together to make the whole seem greater then the sum of its parts.
It was as if the builders of Saint Andrews and the Anasazi traveled forward in time to create a masterpiece in the California hills.
As our day progressed, the game intensified for both of us and, eventually, my friend and I were neck and neck coming into the 18th.
This 600-yard par 5 finishing hole required every long wood in my bag for three shots and I somehow walked away with a birdie to top my friend's score of 73.
At the time, the clubhouse had not been built so I had to wait until we returned to Point Loma to collect on the drink I won but the drive back was made all the more enjoyable by having played one of the best golf courses I had ever seen.
Time has supported my initial reaction to Maderas. In the ensuing years since my friend and I played there, the club has collected a good number of accolades and awards, and uncountable fans.
Our congratulations to Johnny Miller and Robert Muir Graves for their inspiration, attention to detail and doing such an outstanding job on Maderas.
To reserve a tee time at Maderas, click here
866-668-5808 (toll free)
To book a golf tournament, call Charles Rosen at: 858-451-8100