A World Class Golf Community in San Diego- The Bridges
“It took me seventeen years to get three thousand hits in baseball. I did it in one afternoon on the golf course.” -Hank Aaron
I’ve lived in San Diego since 2003. I’ve lived in downtown San Diego, La Jolla, and Historical Rancho Santa Fe, also known as the Covenant. All of those places are wonderful, but in 2011 I decided to get more serious about golf. In truth, I had not played much golf, so any amount of seriousness would be “more serious”. I’d never been a member of a country club either. My first job as a kid, when I was 13 years old, was working as a caddy at a local country club in St. Louis, so I did know a little about the game, but that is quite a bit different than being a country club member. Which character would I be from Caddy Shack? Just kidding, of course.
After looking at a number of country club communities in North County, I decided to purchase a home in the Bridges at Rancho Santa Fe. I was fortunate enough to become a member of the golf club. It is really difficult to describe what I like to call “The Bridges Experience” until you actually live here and are a member of the club, but I’m going to try.
I used to say that it’s like living at The Four Seasons Hotel, but even that description doesn’t do the place justice. The Bridges at Rancho Santa Fe is truly “A Glorious Place in Time”, as their slogan says. I’ve had some of the most wonderful years of my life, and built some of my closest friendships, while living here at The Bridges. The sense of community, especially as a member of the country club, has really been an amazing experience for me.
About the Bridges
The Bridges at Rancho Santa Fe is an exclusive residential community and private country club in North County San Diego. The Bridges, like most of Rancho Santa Fe, or as locals call it, “The Ranch”, initially seems far from everything, but it actually has great access to all that San Diego has to offer. Fine & casual dining, upscale specialty shopping, fun events, entertainment, and the beaches are all just a short drive from my home. This neighborhood is guard gated with a single point of entry and exit, so it is very private and super safe. As residents say, it’s nice to be “inside the gates”!
Living at the Bridges
The Bridges is located on 550 acres of stunning natural terrain. San Diego is known for it’s canyons, and the Bridges has an abundance of them. Some of the signature features of the community are vineyards, many olive and citrus trees, and lush landscaping. Even during this time of drought, the club and the community have found ways to save water while still preserving the natural beauty of the neighborhood.
The Bridges has a Tuscan village design, and reflects the peace and tranquility of the Italian Mediterranean coast. I feel very privileged to get to experience this slice of paradise every day.
Being a Golf Member
The San Diego Union Tribune calls the Bridges Club the “Louvre” of North County country clubs, but I believe it is more like the Palace of Versailles with its manicured grounds and terrific service to its residents, members, and guests.
The golf course is an award winning, world-class 18-hole regulation course designed by Robert Trent Jones II. The club opened in 1999. From the longest tees, it features 6,901 yards of golf for a par of 71. The course rating is 74.0 with a slope rating of 145. For those of you that know a little about golf statistics, this means that it is tougher than the average course.
The golf course is surrounded by three acres of vineyards and seven signature stress-ribbon bridges, some which span 285 feet over deep canyons reaching drops of 90 feet. They are one of the most stunning features of the golf course.
The American Junior Golf Association (AGJA) honored the San Diego region’s rich legacy as a golf Mecca when it selected The Bridges to be the host venue for the Wyndham Cup in 2013. America’s top junior golfers face off against each other annually in this event.
The Battle of the Bridges
Monday Night Golf was a series of match play format golf tournaments that ran from 1999 to 2005 and was broadcast on ABC Sports. The Battle of the Bridges was part of Monday Night Golf and put the Bridges at Rancho Santa Fe on the national and international map. The Battle took place in 2003, 2004, and 2005. Notable players included Tiger Woods, Phil Michelson, Ernie Els, Sergio Garcia, John Daly, Hank Kuehne, and Retief Goosen.
Signature Services and Facilities
The club includes a Concierge service, spectacular Tennis & Rec facility, full-service Sports Centre, and an award-wining Main Clubhouse. All of these facilities have restaurants and they range from casual to fine dining. The Bridges grows its own herbs and has its own vegetable and fruit gardens, and offers farm-to-table organic offerings at the Bridge Grille restaurant. There are social memberships available for residents of the Bridges that prefer not to have a full golf membership. This gives them full access to everything the Bridges has to offer, except the golf.
Some of the most special things about living in The Bridges are the events including signature golf tournaments, weekly wine tastings, family dinner nights, and over-the-top holiday parties and picnics. One thing I have never seen before is the Easter Bunny landing in a helicopter on the driving range for the Easter egg hunt! The events are one of the best ways that the club builds a sense of community with its members.
During the development of the Bridges there was a dispute with the original developer and Lennar Corporation. This dispute has been settled long ago and there aren’t any residual effects on the community or its residents. The LA Times documented the dispute in their 2011 article Inside a high end real estate deal gone bad http://articles.latimes.com/2011/jun/25/business/la-fi-marsch-20110624 . See a video of how the Bridges was built in The Bridges Video Tour by Eldorado Stone.
Fun for the Whole Family
The entire Bridges experience is designed for everyone in the family. In addition to the professional instruction for adults, there are tennis, swimming, and golf instructions for children as well. Many residents have their own golf carts, which is a fun way to get around the club.
The Bridges is a no-tipping club for both members and guests. Gratuities for dining are automatically included in the monthly bill. An automatic outdoor service fee covers valet parking. There are so many special touches that The Bridges offers, there are too many to mention in this article, but my fiancée is so “on fire” about all of the great things in The Bridges, she may publish a follow-up story with more details. I’ll be sure to let you know!
What are your favorite golf courses and neighborhoods? What’s your experience with country clubs? What are some of your most special memories with neighbors and friends? We’d love to hear from you!