Monarch Beach Golf Links: A Challenge by the Sea

There are some golf courses that simply enjoy a somewhat unfair advantage in terms of surrounding landscape and vistas. You can include the Monarch Beach Golf Links in that club.

And, since its neighbor and partner resort, St. Regis Monarch Beach, recently wrapped up a $30 million+, the Golf Links must remain on top of its game to remain a golf experience to match a five star venue. 

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Designed by Robert Trent Jones, Jr., Monarch Beach Golf Links take maximum advantage of its private beach setting. Its well-manicured fairways funnel the course layout and subsequent views toward the Pacific consistently — never allowing more than a couple holes to go by before the player is once again overlooking the sea.

Naturally, that makes for a golf experience a step up from your local muni — and a year-round experience at that, considering the perfect Orange County weather.

Related: St. Regis Monarch Beach Improving a Good Thing

Trent Jones’ design created a true resort course — with reachable distances and bowl fairways to encourage the ball to stay in bounds. Still, there are a handful of holes threatening to consume your golf balls and your patience.

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As the course’s own description puts it, the seventh hole is “one of the longest par fives in Orange County, but often plays shorter than advertised due to the prevailing wind.” Big hitters might try to get home in two or go for the second fairway on the left Avoid the hazard right of the green; the tightly mown area left is the better miss.

The seventh includes a split fairway encouraging some players to lay up for a longer approach with a little altitude.

The third hole is Monarch Beach’s early signature hole. It sweeps toward the ocean with an aggressive dog leg left. The “smart play is to lay up between the fairway bunkers, while more aggressive play is rip one onto the green.”

The third hole packs the course’s most difficult green — a two tier affair with severe sloping and thick, stiff rough on all sides. But, the player does get a postcard view of the ocean as he strolls toward that challenge.

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The golf course runs as an independent club alongside the St. Regis, with private memberships available. However, golf packages are open to the public and resort guests. Rates vary between seasons and across various resort stay offers and playing packages. But, a player coming in off the street for a round needs to bring multiple Ben Franklins.

The Monarch Beach Golf Links offers all of the charm of playing over California’s Pacific coast without the pressures of Pebble Beach or the crowds at Torrey Pines. And it doesn’t hurt that there’s one of the world’s elite resorts next door to freshen you up once play wraps for the day.