Riding monumental bluffs along the rugged Northern California coastline, within about a half-hour of San Francisco and the Silicon Valley, Half Moon Bay Golf Links is comprised of two sea-breezy, championship courses.

Brushed — some say menaced — by prevailing winds, a true Scottish links-style layout with dazzling ocean views from every hole, the firm, fast, treeless fairways of the Ocean Course ramble into low hollows and over mounds rimmed with knee-high fescues. Sod-walled bunkers and the plaintive wail of bagpipers at sundown add to the Scottish tradition, while crashing waves create a soft curtain of sound on what some call the best four finishing holes in golf.

With a daunting 75.2/135 rating from the back tees, and greens that undulate madly, the Ocean Course has hosted the LPGA Samsung World Championship and is also a regular site for the U.S. Open men’s and women’s qualifiers. A recent round of improvements have kicked the 6,914-yard track into top-notch condition, with short-mown, faster playing surfaces and revitalized bunkers, and, fortunately for the average player, additional tees.

A battalion of dark Monterey pines and cypress trees lines the fairways of the parkland- style Old Course, an Arnold Palmer/Frank Duane design with narrow chutes and doglegs, and gently undulating fairways crossed by wetlands, riparian areas and small lakes. Longer, yet somewhat less demanding than the Ocean, the Old Course teases with corridor views of the sea to whet players’ appetites for the finish on a 405-yard, par-four 18th hole that ends in a dramatic clifftop setting next to the imposing Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay resort.

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