The Spanish to English translation for CordeValle is roughly “The Heart of the Valley” and it’s a perfect phrase to describe everything the CordeValle Resort has to offer on 1,700 picturesque acres south of San Jose and north of the Monterey Peninsula in San Martin.
While staying at the resort, you have nothing to worry about. Even transportation is handled by staff members, who transport guests from check-in to their accommodations and then anywhere else they want to go via golf cart. There are no automobiles outside of the resort parking lot.
There is golf, a spa, tennis, fine dining and a winery, all on the property. It is truly a destination for those looking for a high-quality resort.
When it is time for golf, the Robert Trent Jones Jr. track is a tremendous golf resort course. It combines the elements of a great course—a test of golf, but fair. A resort course needs to give the middle- to high-handicapper a chance to enjoy the round as well as provide the single-digit player a good challenge from the back tees. CordeValle succeeds on both counts.
It also has challenged both PGA Tour professionals, top collegiate players and this month will host the Women’s U.S. Open for top LPGA pros and other qualifiers. CordeValle was home to the PGA Tour’s Fry’s.com Open for four years before that tourney moved north to the Silverado Country Club in 2014. (It has a new sponsor and will be the Safeway Open this fall).
Alan Campey, regional vice-president and managing director of CordeValle and the president of the golf club, said about the move in 2014, “After four years, we decided the membership needed to feel the love. (October) is the most beautiful time of the year for the course.
“I think the biggest thing we will miss will be the charitable contributions. I hope the legacy we leave that we made a substantial commitment to the tour and the community.”
The PGA Tour event helped set the stage for this year’s Women’s U.S. Open. The venue was designed with big events in mind.
“We started talking with the USGA because we felt they had the largest menu of tournaments that could be sized to our property,” Campey said.
CordeValle also has hosted the Gifford Collegiate Cup, the 2011 PGA Cup and the USGA’s Women’s Senior Amateur in 2014.
“In 10 years, to go from inception to the world stage is kind of daunting. When we look around, we have a smile on our face. This is pretty satisfying—we think we have found our niche,” he concluded.
The center of that niche is the Trent Jones Jr.-designed golf course. It measures 6,703 yards from the green tees with the tips playing 7,169.
The front nine allows a golfer to ease into the round with a routine par 4 followed by a short par 3 before hitting a tough par 5. At 555 yards, it is a three-shot hole, with a green that requires all carry over a hazard on your approach. Your second shot also must carry a hazard.
Take a deep breath before the fourth hole because it may be the toughest hole on the course. At 428 yards, the par 4 features through bunkers that gobble up their share of shots and place a premium on accuracy.
A reachable par 5 follows at No. 6, then it is a downhill par 3 at No. 7 before the front nine closes with a pair of enticing holes.
No. 8 is a downhill, 325-yard par 4, which is reachable off the tee. It is a classic risk/reward hole. A large pond guards the right side as well as most of the front of the green. Five bunkers add to the challenge of trying to drive the green. The tee shot screams for an iron, but where’s the fun in that.
Rocco Mediate, playing in the 2010 Frys.com, took iron off the tee and then jarred his second shot for an eagle and went on to win the tournament. During the tournament, he holed out four times on four different holes.
The closing hole on the front nine forces the golfer to make a decision off the elevated tee. A double fairway, featuring a creek down the middle, gives the option of a safer play to the left, which makes the hole longer, or the risky shot to the right side of the fairway, which shortens the hole and gives a far better angle on the approach shot.
The second nine starts much the same as the front, with the a straight-forward, wide-open par 4. That changes quickly on the 11th hole where there appears to be more sand than grass. There are seven—yes, seven—bunkers from tee to green.
No.14 plays downhill and, standing on the tee, it Is easy to think about bombing the driver, but the smart play is to go for accuracy over distance. Next comes another reachable par 5, but, once again, seven bunkers throughout the hole make good shot placement a necessity.
The uphill 16th is a nice little par 3 that is better known for the view looking back from either the tee or the green. It is a stunning view over most of the property.
No. 17 is a tough, downhill 449-yard par 4, which, for my money, is the toughest hole in the course. With a hazard running along the right side and a pair of bunkers on the left, the landing area is minimal. Three well-placed bunkers affect the tee shot as well as the approach.
At 504 yards, No. 18 is reachable in two, but there are a fair share of hazards on the hole, with a creek cutting through the middle of the fairway, followed by a lake running along the left side of the hole and then around the green. Four bunkers on the right side are daunting and force a delicate touch because the green seems to run right into the lake on the left.
In a word, it is sensational. We stayed in one of the 750-square-foot bungalows and it was a special experience. You walk through the front door into the bedroom, which features a pair of comfortable chairs and a fireplace with a flat-screen TV mounted above it.
Walk across the room out onto the patio where you have the option of a pair of recliners or a table with chairs. I recommend breakfast on the patio as you enjoy the serenity and the view. The bathroom is as big—if not bigger—than the bedroom and features a spa tub and a shower that allows you to set the exact temperature of the water.
The resort offers two other lodging options: the 1,100-square-foot Villa Suites are located on the hillside overlooking the resort and golf course as well as the Fairway Homes. The homes are located along the 1st fairway and total 3,100 square feet with four master bedrooms surrounding a central living area with a living room, kitchen, and patio. Each bedroom has a separate entrance and private patio.
There are three options ranging from the top-of-the-line Il Vigneto to the One-Iron Bar to the Lion’s Peak Grill that is just off the pro shop.
Il Vigneto is a sensory-filled dining option featuring classic Italian dishes inspired by contemporary California cuisine created by Chef Timothy Wetzel. From the time to are seated until you savor a dessert, it is a first-class dining experience in a low-key atmosphere. Seating is offered both on the patio and inside.
You cannot go wrong with any of the main courses because Chef Wetzel has captured the local California flavors with an Italian flair. To cap off the evening, you can enjoy a dessert, a cigar and cognac or an after-dinner drink. There is a large fire pit in the center of the patio to chase the evening’s chill.
The Lion’s Grill offers your standard golf grill fare outdoors off the pro shop.
Inside the main resort building, the One Iron Bar offers the expected cocktails, but also serves a full menu throughout the day.
There are plenty starting with the Sense Spa and including the four-court tennis complex, plus the Clos LaChance Winery on the north end of the property. Golf carts will take you everywhere.
There is no doubt that CordeValle, which merges a private golf club with the resort operated by Rosewood, is a 5-star property. Guests are treated as kings and queens. This is the definitive couples’ retreat and not really for the buddies’ trip. The resort is so relaxing that even if your wife does not play golf, there is plenty to do or she can simply relax with a good book.
If you are looking for a romantic getaway, CordeValle is perfect.
By Dennis Miller
**This story was previously published in ACES