Home to household names like Pebble Beach and Spyglass Hill, the Monterey Bay area can rightfully claim a place among the world’s top golf regions. The 36-hole complex at Bayonet & Black Horse Golf Course hosted the 2012 PGA Professional National Championship and bolsters the coastal locale’s reputation for world-class links, boasting both a rich historic legacy—Jack Nicklaus, Johnny Miller, and Tom Watson have all graced the Bayonet course—and a recent redesign from famed course architect Gene Bates, which earned both courses a spot on _Golf Digest_’s Top 10 Course Remodels of 2009.
The older of the two courses, Bayonet Golf Course was originally sculpted through the cypress trees of the since-closed Fort Ord Military Base in 1954 by the Army's Commanding Officer General Robert McClure. Measuring in at 7,104 yards from the tips, the course still captures McClure’s original vision, with a classic, tree-lined layout and several dog-leg lefts the General cunningly installed to favor his left-handed fade off the tee. Gene Bates’ recent design contributions are apparent in the layout’s clusters of creative bunkering, reshaped greens, and areas where trees have been cleared to allow for greater views of the Monterey Peninsula.
Bates also made sweeping alterations to Black Horse Golf Course, changing the layout from its tree-lined, 1964 design into a more open counterpart to Bayonet’s cypress-, pine-, and oak-ensconced fairways. In addition, Bates carpeted the entire 7,024-yard course with new, smooth-rolling bent grass, while revamping the irrigation to provide for more meticulous playing conditions. The remodeling efforts afford many sweeping views that populate the course, but especially the one golfers’ encounter on the newly-added, 224-yard, par three 15th hole, where an elevated tee looks out onto a horizon dominated by the Pacific Ocean.
The C restaurant + bar's executive chef Jerry Regester crafts a dinner menu that culls fresh, sustainable seafood and local, seasonal produce to craft sophisticated takes on classic American flavors. Steeped in a spicy Dungeness crab and saffron broth, the Monterey-style cioppino stews a sumptuous treasure chest of seafood ready to be unlocked by a discerning palate or an industrial welding torch ($25). The normally humble made-to-order clam chowder takes on justifiable airs with sweet-garlic crème fraîche, leeks, and fingerling potatoes ($12.50). Offering the charms of travel without the detailed digital embarrassment of a full-body scan, sparkling-wine flights from the new ($18) and old worlds ($23) shower the senses with shimmering bliss.
In order to emulate the eco-friendly attitude of the LEED-certified Portola Hotel and Spa that surrounds it, Jack's Restaurant and Lounge regularly culls regional, sustainable ingredients for its contemporary takes on breakfast, lunch, and dinner dishes. With the help of Chef Jason Giles' culinary imagination, Jack's adds innovative flavors to items such as naturally raised beef from Harris Ranch and seafood chosen in support of the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch program, which helps to prevent over-fishing of threatened and endangered ocean life. Small plates of baked scallops lounge on the half-shell, while waiters usher basil-crusted Pacific sole to tables on the heated patio surrounded by edible velvet ropes. Wines poured at the lounge highlight the vineyards and wineries of Monterey County, and fair-trade organic coffees and teas are sourced from Peerless Coffee Company, a Northern California staple for more than 86 years.
As the vineyard manager for Carmel Ridge Winery, Paul Stokes prefers to let nature take its course. He and his team intervene in the grapes' growth as little as possible, instead allowing the weather and the grapes themselves to let them know when to prune and pick. They also let the flavors of the soil seep into the vines, enhancing the grapes' character and flavor nuances. The winery's resident winemaker, Lynn Sakasegawa Stokes, is decidedly more hands-on when the fruit reaches her; she transfers the pressings to small lots of barrels for fermentation. Even then, the barrels are filled by a gravity-based flow system rather than by mechanical pumps—a system invented by Isaac Newton when he brewed his own small-batch cider—so the grapes maintain their earthy taste.
Sunlight streams through the floor-to-ceiling picture windows at Carmel Bar & Grill, where waiters ferry plates of Monterey Bay calamari with lemon aioli. Other classic American pub food fills the menu, such as burgers topped with bacon or onion rings, BLT sandwiches, or chicken doused in tangy barbecue sauce. Patrons can also sample hot wings beneath old-fashioned street lamps on the outdoor patio or perched on a bar stool while listening to performances from local bands.