To avoid the heat of the day Steve booked our tee time at Quintero for 6.38am. I am a morning person so the earlier the better, however, when I googled where Quintero was I discovered that it was an hour from where we are staying. That meant setting the alarm for 4.30am – the things you do to go and chase a little white ball around the desert : )
Due to a lot of new road construction and not having updated our GPS we did take a couple of wrong turns enroute to Quintero which meant we were cutting it fine re getting to the course on time. When we got to the course we checked in and got our clubs loaded onto the cart – the guy in the Pro Shop then said we had a 6 minute drive to get to the first tee! It all worked out and the Starter introduced us to our playing partners for the day – Ken & Mary from Austin, Texas.
We could see parts of the course as we drove to the first tee and we could tell we were going to like it. The sun was just coming up and the green amongst the desert stood out clearly. Ken & Mary had played the course before so were able to give us some useful pointers. The course has some great elevated tees and the backdrop is spectacular. It is a fairly challenging course and some of the holes are visually intimidating. If you hit your ball into the desert you can kiss it goodbye unless you want to come face to face with a rattle snake. There are signs on the first and tenth tee warning of the dangerous snakes that live in the desert.
Ken told us that he had come across a rattle snake recently when he went into the desert to look for Mary’s ball. Jeez I was really freaked out now – even walking to our tee boxes I was on high alert. As we whizzed along in the cart I was constantly looking into the desert to see if I could see anything untoward but it be honest it would be pretty hard as they blend in with the environment which is why you don’t venture off the green stuff.
Synopsis: Quintero can be described in two words: Stunning and elevation. The funny thing is you can keep those descriptions separate, or combine them into the phrase, “stunning elevation.” Either way, it works. Three of the four par 3s, feature severe elevation changes. Steve decided to play off the tips on the par 3 ninth – 190 metres long, a 55 metre drop with a lake blanketing the front of the green. He hit a great tee shot and made the 40 metre putt for birdie!
Despite the snake threat it is a stunning course and we really enjoyed it. It is one of the best courses we have played so far on our tour and Ken & Mary were great company. We went in for a drink afterwards and got chatting to the girl in the bar. There was a road runner bird outside who we saw her talking too – it turns out “Ricky” the road runner is a local and hangs out at the clubhouse daily. Apparently he keeps the snakes at bay around the clubhouse – he eats them – WOW! We also learnt that they have a resident skunk that lives under the clubhouse who stinks the pro shop out from time to time.
Crazy as we are we went back for a second round today getting up at 4.30am again! Ken & Mary had booked a tee time and asked us to join them which was great. It was quite overcast today so a bit cooler than when we played on Wednesday. When we were driving back to the clubhouse Steve spotted a snake slithering across the road – it was just a common brown snake apparently – we watched it slither into the desert and it confirmed how well camouflaged they are – you wouldn’t have noticed it if you hadn’t followed it in there.
Ricky was waiting at the clubhouse for us too : )
Quintero was designed by Rees Jones who is one of the most acclaimed designers in golf. Rees Jones portfolio of golf courses has hosted seven U.S. Opens, seven PGA Championships, four Ryder Cups, two Walker Cups and one Presidents Cup. With his traditional philosophy of golf course architecture, Jones creates courses that stand the test of time. His design for Quintero is strategic and challenging, yet respectful of the surrounding landscape.
It initially was a private club, meant for serious golfers with a lot of cash in their pockets. But when the economy went south, Quintero, like many private courses, opened its doors to the public to improve its bottom line. The course opened in 2001 but in 2010 was placed into receivership. By opening the course up to the public they managed to trade there was back into the black which is great because it really is worth the trip.The Marshall bought freshly baked chocolate chip cookies around to us and they were delicious : )