Oak Quarry Golf Club in Riverside, Calif, a perennial “Best of Everything” favorite among Fairways + Greens editors, never fails to serve up a thrilling and beautiful journey through the sheer cliffs and sawed-off hillsides of historic Jensen Quarry.
So, it’s no surprise that the unique public course has racked up another award — the California Golf Course Owners Association’s 2011 Course of the Year. Samuel Koh, President of Oak Quarry Golf Club, accepted the award at the Golf Industry Show in Las Vegas.
Oak Quarry’s picturesque course winds through the jagged terrain of the quarry, which was a major source of marble, limestone and other minerals used to construct buildings, freeways and bridges throughout Southern California until it was abandoned in 1979. Two decades later, Lee Schmidt and Brian Curley of Schmidt-Curley Design teamed up with Senior PGA Tour star Dr. Gil Morgan to transform the old quarry into an amazing golf course. Instead of importing soil, the designers used the quarry’s own supply of high-quality topsoil to build the course. Oak Quarry opened in 2000 and has since become one of the highest rated courses in Southern California.
The award-winning 14th hole, known as Spinel Slide, is a must-see. Rated the “Best Par 3 in Southern California,” Spinel Slide plays into the lowest gully of the quarry. The tee boxes are set on a ledge overlooking two natural ponds on the left. The 25-yard green is the smallest of the course and is guarded by four bunkers, with a large bailout area to the right. A stunning, white wall of limestone rock towers nearly 400 feet above the hole and shimmers in the afternoon sunlight, making Spinel Slide one of the most dramatic holes in Southern California.
Overall, Oak Quarry boasts some of the most spectacular views in golf, and has earned the title from one magazine as “The National Park of Golf.” The course features four sets of tee boxes and offers the finest playing surfaces with greens in Pennlinks Bentgrass and fairways and roughs in 419 Hybrid Bermuda. Oak Quarry’s golf club features a full practice facility with a grass-station driving range, two putting greens, a chipping green and a bunker practice green. The 7,200 square-foot clubhouse serves breakfast and lunch daily and is available for banquets, weddings, and private meetings.