SAN MARTIN, Cal. – You might have heard about CordeValle, the luxury golf resort set about a half hour’s drive southeast from San Jose in the town of San Martin smack tab in the middle of northern California’s wine country. Maybe you’ve even seen some video of the lush destination on television or in a golf magazine or in your dreams.
I want you to put everything aside that you’ve heard or seen or dreamt and understand that this place is even better than its reviews – I’ve stayed at some of the finest golf resorts and played some of the best courses in the world and would put my two days and a night at CordeValle among the most enjoyable I’ve experienced anywhere.
There’s been loads of great reports on what’s on tap at CordeValle. It’s received kudos for, rightfully so, being the most romantic getaway in the region. Those that are lucky enough to stay here can enjoy the resort’s 5000-square foot world-class spa, a winery and vineyard right next door and its tennis center as well as three dining venues – Il Vigneto, Lion’s Peak Grill and One Iron Bar.
Part of the Rosewood family of great lodging options, CordeValle features its own over-the-top art collection strategically placed throughout the property. Lodging is offered in a mix of 45 bungalows, fairway homes or villa suites and it peerless, roomy and comfortable in every way.
Then there’s the Robert Trent Jones Jr.-designed golf course that’s plenty good enough to put a charge into the best golfers in the world, as evidenced by its heralded run as the host track for the Women’s U.S. Open in 2016. The course and its challenges was the draw for me – and, because we are a golf publication – the impetus behind our visit last fall.
The drive from San Jose down a busy freeway and then through a small neighborhood does little to set the stage for the combination of elegance and exclusivity that await at CordeValle. From the first interaction with the resort’s staff, guests understand that they are some place very special and that the ensuing visit is something that will be cherished and recounted with high favor.
The golf course – a 7,360-yard, par-72, award-winning golf track was fashioned by Jones, Jr. to offer excitement and enjoyment to both the passionate and novice golfer. Many believe that the course at CordeValle is the internationally acclaimed golf architect’s finest work, and after playing 27 holes in one afternoon (all that the day’s sunlight would allow), it’s a claim that’s profoundly justified.
Situated on 270 acres of gently rolling terrain in a pastoral California valley, Jones Jr.’s routing utilizes the natural elevation changes of its peaks and canyons, enhanced by broad meadows, streams, and striking sycamore and oak trees.
Allowing for multiple tees and approaching angles for varying degrees of difficulty, the course takes on new dimensions every time it is played. An elevation change of approximately 150 feet over the entire 18 holes also makes it walkable for the golf purist and demands different strategies and club selections throughout.
There’s a drivable par-4, the eighth, which is attacked over water for those willing to risk the high number. The finishing stretch is particularly stout and features two risk-reward par 5s (the 15th and 18th). The last hole has water that comes into play often, including a large pond left of the green that claimed one of my shots as I foolishly tried to focus in on a hole location on the front near the water.
Along with the Women’s U.S. Open in 2016, CordeValle has hosted the likes of the PGA Tour’s Frys.com Open from 2010-13, the 2011 and 2015 PGA Cup and the 2013 USGA Senior Women’s Amateur Championship.
CordeValle has spared no expense offering golfers one of the finest resorts of its kind in America. Enjoy it with someone you love – or with a group of friends that want to make memories that linger and are cherished. You’ll be glad you did.