The Loop

Torrey is Suddenly a Muny in Spectacular Shape

March 28, 2008

Everyone would likely agree that it is altogether a good thing that the United States Golf Association has added municipal courses to the U.S. Open mix. That said, Torrey Pines Golf Course near San Diego won't remotely resemble a municipal course when the Open is played there in June.

"I've been playing there since 1981," former Torrey Pines men's club president Art Stromberg said, "and I've never seen the condition that good. The fairways are beautiful. They're all kikuyu now. The ball sits up like it's on a tee. They even have sand in the traps."

They even have sand in the traps. That says it all, of course. Its condition is pristine, which is not how the public usually finds it.

The way they're finding it these days is long and hard. Joe DeBock, the head professional, said that rounds are taking upwards of six hours now, mostly the result of players searching for lost balls in the rough.

The Torrey Pines Municipal Golf Club, in fact, has enacted, temporarily, a local rule in the interest of speeding play in its tournaments: After a five-minute search for a lost ball, the player can drop another and take a one-stroke penalty, rather than stroke and distance.

--John Strege