Supporting and promoting golf in Northern California

What They’re Saying About the New Poppy Hills

What They’re Saying About the New Poppy Hills

March 21, 2014
11 prettyThe reviews are coming in. Poppy Hills was played for the first time since March 10, 2013. So, what does everything think of the new course?

From Golf Channel‘s Matt Ginella:

Screen Shot 2014-03-21 at 9.17.00 AMI can’t tell you how excited I am that this is back. It brought Poppy Hills back to relevance.

Having played it now and seeing how much better it is … this is definitely a part of anybody’s itinerary going to the Monterey Peninsula.

On playing with Robert Trent Jones Jr.:

He’s 74 years old and you would have thought he was 14 years old running around on Christmas morning. Every time I hit a tee shot, he knew where it was going to bounce before it hit the ground. … Yesterday marked a point where I learned more than I can even share.

Watch the Golf Channel segment below:

Ginella also followed up with another segment on Poppy Hills and the NCGA Foundation’s Youth on Course program:

The Northern California Golf Association is the most progressive golf association in the country.

From‘s Mike Bailey:

…all-in-all, this course was pretty close to perfect.

From‘s Josh Sens:

Poppy’s eye-popping.

A sneak-peek at overhauled Poppy Hills Golf Course in Monterey reveals a vastly different layout: faster and firmer with wider fairways and freshly opened vistas like this stunner from the tee box of the reborn 12th hole. … The metamorphosis of the 12th marks one of the more striking changes to a course that’s been so dramatically transformed, it now appears as a different creature altogether. Its forgiving landing zones and rustic waste areas, fringed by native grasses, reflect a throwback aesthetic.

The new Poppy isn’t just faster and firmer. It’s fairer, too, meting out its punishments without swallowing an unnecessary number of balls. The layout also consumes less water, thanks to the removal of nearly 20 acres of irrigated turf. … No doubt it reflects an aesthetic that had largely been abandoned in the modern era but now, happily, has been embraced again.

From‘s Travelin’ Joe Passov in the SCGA’s FORE Magazine:

The transformation is startling, the results spectacular. Another bite of the apple, and the taste is especially sweet.

Pinehurst-like touch, with just a hint of near-neighbor Cypress Point

From‘s Gary McCormick:

 The remodeled layout combines risk, reward, and playability in a pristine Del Monte Forest setting. … In short, the new Poppy Hills is a dramatic re-imagining and reconfiguring of the NCGA’s flagship course, elevating the layout to an equal footing with its world-renowned neighbors in “Golf’s Greatest Zip Code”.

From Links Golf Magazine‘s Tom Cunneff:

93953 might not look too good on a scorecard, unless it happens to be part of the address of the course on the back flap. That means it would be located in Pebble Beach, Calif.—“the best zip code in golf,” as the saying goes.

Well, with the reopening of Poppy Hills on April 4th, the neighborhood is about to get even better. 

From‘s Pete Wlodkowski:

“Fast. Firm. Fun.” is the new mantra, embroidered on the commemorative opening day cap. The fairways are easy to hit if you play the right tees, and the ground game has been brought into play with the closely-mown areas and slopes around the greens. Like Bandon Dunes? You’ll love Poppy.

From Golf Getaways‘ Vic Johnson

Previously overlooked in the shadow of Pebble Beach and Spyglass Hill, the NCGA’s home course now rates must-play status after a thorough redesign 

At certain points it feels like Pinehurst, other times like Augusta, with dashes of Pine Valley

Before, this course fought the land on which it was born. Now the two get along just fine, moving through some of America’s most revered golf landscape in perfect rhythm. … And that means a friendship reborn for golfers of every type, from pro to beginner.

From the Modesto Bee’s Ron Agostini:

Not only is the Robert Trent Jones Jr. design back in business, it’s receiving rave reviews. If you have been deemed born-again “relevant” with Pebble Beach not far away, you have passed a major test.

Virtually all rough has been eliminated as the edges of the fairways transition easily into the bordering forests, not unlike Augusta National.

All told, Poppy’s comeback shows that it again belongs in the 93953.

From Bob Fagan:

Reborn, rebuilt, re-birthed, restyled, re-established, refashioned, re-engineered, or renovated? No matter what you call it, the news about Poppy Hills in Pebble Beach, CA is exciting. There’s been some major surgery, more than a simple facelift done on the Northern California Golf Association’s game-breaking Home Golf Course, and it’s marvelous. Golfers take notice: a new gem of a golf course inhabits the Monterey Forest.

From Southland Golf Magazine‘s Al Petersen:

…the revamped canvas looks like a Monet work of art

Tweet from Sports Illustrated‘s Alan Shipnuck:

Tweet from Golf Digest‘s Ron Whitten:

From Cal State Monterey Bay Golf Coach Jason Owen:

It’s everything you thought it would be, and more.

From Bruce Charlton, Chief Design Officer at RTJ II:

I have been in the profession of golf course architecture for 33 years, and I have never seen a better grow-in. The superb playing conditions displayed for the Grand Opening at Poppy Hills are the best I have ever seen. To have turf grass surfaces playing so pure and well groomed has elevated the new Poppy Hills to a standard that will be difficult for other courses to match.

There’s more than one kind of course to look forward to at the new Poppy Hills:

devivoFrom Monterey County Weekly‘s Mark Anderson:

As I’ve gotten to know the new Poppy Hills—which revolutionizes its water efficiency while enjoying an artistic layout Jones compares to a signature painting—my favorite part of the transformation is happening off the course.

Poppy scored a surprisingly sophisticated chef for a golf course clubhouse when it landed former Casanova chef and artist-in-his-own-right Johnny De Vivo. 

He gets to do something trending that he’s thoroughly excited about: comfort food with an expert touch of sophistication. And he gets to do what he wants.

“I’ve been doing Michelin fine dining stuff, now it’s fun food, street car grub done in a contemporary way,” he says. “I’ve been given the green light. They don’t want me to be bored and complacent.”

From Monterey County Herald‘s Mike Hale:

…try the ricotta pancakes with fresh blueberries or a Top 5 worthy eggs Benedict…

Poppy Hills has always been a really nice golf course with an ordinary restaurant. Now a wider audience — from hungry golfers swapping lies to discriminating diners craving something deliciously different — can mix and match at a remarkable 19th hole.

We’ll keep you posted as more reviews come in!

Want to come up with your own review? Reserve a tee time at Poppy Hills today!

-Kevin Merfeld

Author: Kevin Merfeld

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