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When You Want Your Drive To Be In The Rough

August 06, 2000|MARTIN J. SMITH

There may be no better endorsement of the resurrected Ocean Trails Golf Club in Rancho Palos Verdes than that offered by Dick Boberg, chief judge of the upcoming Palos Verdes Concours d'Elegance.

You may recall that on June 2, 1999, just weeks before the planned opening of the elegant Ocean Trails, about half of the 18th hole fell into the Pacific and gave new meaning to the term "water hazard."

One year later, after Concours organizers persuaded Ocean Trails to host the eighth annual event, Boberg volunteered his car for a little test drive around the geologically challenging course. The car, a 1930 Rolls Royce Phantom II, ran fine. But that wasn't the point.

Boberg's Phantom weighs 3 tons--hardly what the engineers of the course's cart paths had in mind.

"We figured it was as heavy and as long and wide as any car that'll be out there during the Concours, so it was a great test car," Boberg said of his one-of-a-kind convertible sedan, most recently valued at $500,000.

Of course, the Sept. 8-10 Concours car show will feature more than 200 cars and about 3,000 visitors who'll crowd onto two of the course's most picturesque holes.

"We've got no concerns at all about it," says Bobby Heath, the club's director of golf. "Those cars aren't nearly as heavy as the earthmovers we've had moving dirt around for the past year."

Ocean Trails will open to the public late this month, albeit initially as the world's only world-class 15-hole golf course, with the three holes affected by repairs to be ready by March.

In the meantime, Boberg has been fielding inquiries from nervous exhibitors about the stability of the bluff-top 10th and 11th fairways during next month's Concours. "A lot of people have been asking, 'Where you gonna put my car?' " he says. "We'll put the cheap cars out on the end."

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