The Stanford Golf Course: An Overview (2022)

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There aren’t many colleges and universities in the world that have a golf course to call their own, but the ones that do usually do it right. Out of all the college golf courses in the world, the Stanford golf course stands at one of the best (sometimes rivalled only by the Yale golf course).

But, for all its glory, it’s not easy to get out onto the course. As stated right on its website, The Stanford Golf Course is a University-owned facility that allows playing privileges for just Stanford students, faculty/staff, Stanford Alumni Association (SAA) members, Stanford Golf Course members and their guests.

If you can’t happen to get out onto the Stanford golf course, but still want to learn more about it, this post is for you! We’ll cover the history of the Stanford golf course, some of the amenities that it offers to members and players, and a couple of unique holes from the course. Let’s get right into it!

History of the Stanford Golf Course

As with Stanford University, the Stanford golf course has a history that’s rich with tradition, innovation, and fame.

Opened in 1930, the course was originally designed by architects George C. Thomas and Billy Bell Jr. It would later undergo an extensive renovation in 2008 by John Harbottle. The only change since then has been the removal of all the bunkers (and rebuilding of several of the holes) in 2018.

Located right on campus below the foothills, the Stanford golf course is a real beauty covered with majestic oak trees and snaking around the San Francisquito Creek creek. Players will find themselves marvelling at the breathtaking views of the mountains on each hole (plus San Francisco can be seen in the distance from the 18th hole)!

The course isn’t just all looks either. The Stanford golf course is also known for being home to some major names in golf. Here are some of the many famous people who honed their skills on the Stanford golf course:

  • Tom Watson – one of the leading golf players of his time, winning eight major championships.
  • Mickey Wright – a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame, winning 82 LPGA events including 13 majors.
  • Tiger Woods – arguably the best greatest golf player of all time and one of the most famous athletes in history.
  • Sandy Tatum – an activist, golf architect, and famously president of the USGA from 1978 to 1980.
  • Grant Spaeth – instrumental in creating the U.S. Mid Amateur Championships and president of the USGA from 1990 to 1991.
  • Walter Driver – ex-lawyer and president of the USGA from 2006-2007 (famously known for not smiling).
  • Notah Begay III – one of the only Native American golfers to play on tour and currently serving as a sports analyst with the Golf Channel and NBC Sports.
  • David Chung – ranked number one golfer in the World Amateur Golf Rankings in late 2010 and currently on the PGA tour.

Not only does the course have some famous alumni, it’s also been home to some very impressive tournaments, including:

  • Men’s NCAA Championship
  • Women’s NCAA Championship
  • U.S. Open Qualifying
  • USGA Junior Amateur Qualifying
  • Stanford Intercollegiate hosted by Professor Condoleezza Rice
  • Peg Barnard Invitational

Info and Ratings

Here’s some information you might find useful about the Stanford golf course:

  • Address: 91 Links Rd, Stanford, CA 94305, United States
  • Phone number: +1 650 724 0944
  • Accessibility: members, guests, and Stanford affiliated players
  • Club manager: Shannon Donlon
  • Head pro: Casey Hall

From the Cardinal tees (the back tees), the course plays 6742 yards long with a par 70. The rating is 73.7 and the slope is 138, putting it on the tougher end of the spectrum.

Amenities

Though you might not be able to play golf on the course (as it’s not a public golf course), the Stanford golf course still has some amenities that you might be interested in taking advantage of.

For one, the Stanford Golf Learning Center is open to the public seven days a week! There you’ll find a driving-range filled with 50 driving stations, five target greens, and even golf clubs available for use. You’ll also be able to visit their newly renovated Arrigala golf shop if you need anything in particular.

Feeling like you want to sharpen up your game? Not a problem. The Stanford Golf Course has tons of certified golf professionals to help you improve your game with golf instruction. All lessons are held at the Stanford Golf Learning Center and the different instructors have different rates (contact them for more info).

For those that really want some Stanford golf merch (like maybe a special Stanford golf tee), you can visit their golf shop! There you’ll find all sorts of clothing and accessories (all with the Stanford Golf Course logo).

Finally, the golf-club also offers a delicious dining spot, Coupa Cafe, where you can sit down, grab a bite, and really experience what being a Stanford golfer is like. Opened in 2013, Coupa Cafe offers tons of food items including their specialties the Coupa burger, Steak & Fries, and Venezuelan Pabellon.

Unique Holes

With every golf course, some holes stand out more than others. Here are some of the coolest holes that you’ll want to take note of if you manage to book a tee time and go out golfing at the Stanford golf course.

Hole 3

A tough and long hole, hole 3 is the first par three of the course. There are tall trees guarding the green on the right, and a hazard left should you overcompensate. Also, hole 3’s green is extremely hard to read as it has a ridge running right down the center. Bogey here is pretty par for the course.

Hole 6

The number one handicap hole of the course, 6 will challenge your short-game, your play from fairways, and your decision making alike. You’ll need a good drive down the left centre of the fairway. Then pop it up to the green (and make sure you don’t catch the creek 70 yards short). And finally negotiate your chips and putts (or putt) with the back of the green sloping away.

Hole 11

At 348 yards, hole 11 wouldn’t strike you as a tough hole at first glance. That being said, there is so much trouble guarding the green left and right that even top college players tend to lay it up short of the fairway bunker, leaving themselves just a short shot in. This is a hole that will test your golf experience and force you to make some tough decisions.

Hole 18

The 18th hole at the Stanford is one of the best finishing holes out of any championship golf course. On a clear and sunny day you’ll be able to see downtown San Francisco from the tee box. However, don’t be fooled by the pretty views; this downhill hole is often much harder than it seems. There is trouble left off the tee, the hole typically plays into the wind, and 2nd shots to the green are usually off of sloping lies. It’s enough to challenge golfers of all skill levels.

Recap: the Stanford Golf Course

When it comes to collegiate golf courses, very few top Stanford. The Stanford golf course is a truly special place with a rich history and tons to offer all those who get a chance to play it (although tee times are very hard to come by if you’re not a student or faculty at Stanford).

That being said, if you have a chance, definitely consider stopping by (be it for golf lessons, to eat their delicious food, or just to try and sneak a peak at some of their famous holes).