Hurry, don’t be late
I can hardly wait
I said to myself now that we’re old
We’ll go drinking at the bar, golfing while searching for par
Since four old (and I mean “old”) friends were golfing and staying at the Little River Inn, I thought it was appropriate to step back in time and reminisce with the Little River Band.
The first night we spent “drinking at the bar”. North Coast Brewing Company was the destination for a night of eating, drinking, and listening to a jazz quartet. The next day it was time for “golfing while searching for par” at Little River Inn Golf Course.
Today, we were treated to one of the most outstanding pars ever witnessed but more about that later. We tee’d it up on the Blue Tees (front 9 – white tees for the back 9) and Hole #1, which is a 380 yard par 4. This is a relatively easy, straight hole that should produce a par to start your round. The Always Time for 9 team carded 5, 6, 7, and 8 – so much for a good start. The crowned green slopes dramatically from back to front, so stay below the hole for best results. All kinds of trouble awaits the wayward shot at the par 3 second hole. You will find water, bunkers, and trees to the left; trees behind the green; and trees, bunkers, and out of bounds right. Your best bet – choose your straight 159 yard club!
Make sure the “coast is clear” before you unleash the “big dog” at the uphill par 5 third hole. Your second shot is blind and the hole continues uphill, and uphill, and uphill along the tree-lined fairway. Hole #4 is the number one handicap and a sharp dogleg to the left. Trees are in play all along the left side, but the right is open. Your big slice off the tee is a welcome sight. It’s about 270 yards to the bend in the fairway, so that makes par for any of us impossible. I gladly accepted a bogey and felt good about it.
Hole #5 is a short (290 yard) par 4. If you want any chance of attacking the green a draw is needed of your tee shot. That leaves me out. Your approach shot needs to find the correct level if you want any chance of making birdie/par on this multi-level green. I somehow managed a par. At Hole #6 I am thankful that I do not have any hook tendencies. OB is close on the left at this 248 yard driveable par 3 (even for us old fogeys). Someone in our group (I will not name names) found a telephone pole to the left that helped keep his shot in play. If you decide to let it all “hang out”, there are a couple of bunkers that front the green. The pro shop hands out a Golf Course Guide and the suggestion at this hole was to lay up at about 200 yards. I took that advise and was able secure another par.
Woody carded his first par of the day at Hole #7. Your tee shot must carry the vegetation and large bunker fronting the green and land softly on the putting surface. Well done, Woodman! The Pacific Ocean came into view behind Hole #8 (pictured on photo at top of page). This is a 335 yard downhill par 4. A birdie is attainable if you are straight and avoid the bunker that borders the left and rear of the green.
Hole #9 was the scene of the most incredible par I have ever witnessed. Take a bow, Woody! This par 3 is 177 yards from the blue tees. If you go around again to play 18, there is a separate green and the hole expands to a par 4 of 269 yards. Standing on the tee, we were all basking in the beauty of the Pacific Ocean. Woody’s tee shot went right, hit the cart path, and disappeared from view. After an extensive search, it was found resting on the stump of an old, cutdown tree. You can see the stump in the below photo at the curve of the path. Play it as it lies, Woody (or did we decide his name now was Stumpy)! He did and advanced it about three feet. It was at least now on the ground. From there he proceeded to drain a 40ft chip for par. Unbelievable!
P.S. Dave’s par was a little more conventional; Ed had a good bogey; and for me – no comment.
Birdie: The Little River Inn is an awesome oasis along Highway 1 on the California coast. There are a few hiking trails that can take you down to the beach or up to a waterfall. The service was outstanding at the inn, the restaurant and the pro shop. We spent time on the ocean-view porch drinking beer and wine, smoking cigars, and watching the sun set over the Pacific. Oh, and the 9-hole course is the icing on the cake – a hidden gem with a fun history behind it.
During our time in the area, we visited Humboldt Redwoods State Park and took a drive along The Avenue of the Giants. We also sampled some of the local beer and enjoyed a night of jazz at North Coast Brewing Company in Fort Bragg.
7751 North Highway 1, Little River, CA 95456; 707-937-5667; www.littleriverinn.com