St. Mark Golf Course
St. Mark Golf Course was formerly a private club, Lake San Marcos Country Club, and unless it was radically different from St. Marks, I could not imagine it being very replayable.
The course winds around housing developments that are radically in play on several holes. St. Mark’s certainly has done an excellent job with its renovation. The clubhouse is very friendly, and they seem to have golf course entertainment dialed in.
St. Mark has a vacation feel to it. Several parts of St. Mark have a similar feel to other courses; the front nine gives me a Mission Trails think, mixed with some holes resembling a mid-level Palm Springs track.
Overall, the course is relatively easy and pretty dated. Some holes require quite a bit of dogleg, like hole nine, which is an excellent risk-reward hole with nearly a 90-degree turn left towards the green. A straight drive will kill you here.
It’s well-known how tough the par-five 12th is, a 606-yard monster dogleg left and virtually uphill the entire way. The hole requires three good shots and plays about 30-40 yards longer than what it says on the scorecard. Hole 12 is often in the conversation as one of the longest par 5s in the region.
The highlights come on the back 9 with the massive drop at the signature hole 14, which has one of the highest elevation drops in the county. What makes this unique is how steep it is. Big hitters will try to take it over the lake, but it requires a good shot. A bunker guards the perfectly placed lake, requiring nearly a 270-yard carry to reach the second fairway.
This hole makes playing St. Mark worth it and is one of the few I look forward to playing here. 18 is a nice finishing hole in much better condition than the rest of the course. A straightaway par 5 to an elevated green protected by a deep bunker leaves you at the clubhouse to grab a drink. Something St. Marks does well with their entertainment, bar, and restaurant are all on point; the course is just a bonus.
Hole 12 is a massive par five that plays most uphill and features a sharp dogleg left
Hole 14, this well-known par 4, has a significantly elevated tee box and well-positioned hazards