The Links at Summerly knocked the ball out of the park last month at its grand opening in Lake Elsinore.
Architect Cal Olson conjured the ghosts of Old Tom Morris, Henry Cotton and Harry Vardon to fashion 18 intriguing golf holes. Olson's forward design move required taking a step back into the game's history, and the layout will give area players a glimpse of what it's like to play golf on some of the finest courses in Europe.
The Links at Summerly feels authentic and wonderfully out of place in the Inland Empire.
The course is set in a low-lying area next to Lake Elsinore with large sand walls obscuring the water from view. The terrain and subtle mounding weave naturally through Scottish-style burns and ponds, while kidney-shaped bunkers dot the landscape.
The hard and fast ground conditions make run-up shots a legitimate option as you attack the flag, and it also makes the layout, which can stretch to more than 7,000 yards, manageable. Greens are large and flowing, which can result in some long putts, but Summerly's use of the burns are the real story.
The burns meander throughout the course, and they're often invisible from the tee. Red hazard stakes mark their position as the trenched terrors lurk just out of view, always poised to swallow a misplaced shot. Most of the burns are relatively shallow and never more than a few feet wide, but some are filled with water, rocks or both and have stone facings, making extraction from the hazards perilous at best.
The stellar layout is enhanced by a large grass practice facility and a quaint clubhouse with a small-town feel. The restaurant smokes its own meat with delectable tri-tip and barbecue sandwiches on the menu that are a notch above the standard golf course fare. Cap the experience by lounging on the patio next to a fire pit while the sun sets over the Cleveland National Forest.
The Links at Summerly is off Interstate 15 at Diamond Drive. Green fees are $50 on weekdays and $69 on weekends and holidays, including cart. For more information, call (951) 674-3900 or visit linksatsummerly.com.