IN THE PUBLIC EYE: Olivier Breaud International Golf Course d'Antimaono in Papara, Tahiti.
THE LAYOUT: California-based designer Bob Baldock found his way to Tahiti in 1968 and carved a sporty championship course out of the jungle across the road from the beach on the south coast of the island, not far from the Paul Gaugin Museum and Botanical Gardens.
Baldock, whose more than 350 courses in California, Nevada and Hawaii include the Shore Course at Monterey Peninsula Country Club in Pebble Beach, designed a challenging par-72 course that stretches 6,944 from the professional tees, 6,550 from the men's tees and 6,370 for women.
The Tahiti Open, an event on the Australasian PGA Tour, is held every June at Olivier Breaud.
Brett Ogle of Australia, winner of the 1994 Hawaiian Open and 1993 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am on the PGA Tour, won the Tahiti Open in 1986, and Simon Owen of New Zealand, who tied for second behind Jack Nicklaus in the 1978 British Open at St. Andrews, claimed the title in 1991.
It's not exactly Magnolia Lane at Augusta, but the picturesque, narrow drive into Olivier Breaud International Golf Course is lined by mombat trees, whose fruit resembles a cumquat.
OWNER, GENERAL MANAGER: Skip Anderson.
LOCAL KNOWLEDGE: Anderson, a transplanted Floridian, used to say he had the best golf course for 2,500 miles in every direction. That's because this layout about 20 miles from the Tahitian capital of Papeete was the only one in this part of the South Pacific until recently.
But it's not so remote that it's off the golf map. Arnold Palmer passed through in the 1970s on a business trip with golf powerbroker Mark McCormack, founder of IMG, and played the course.
Most memorable at Olivier Breaud is as difficult a set of par-3 holes as any golfer might want to play. Anderson can remember only a single hole in one on this quartet since he came to Tahiti in 1982.
The second hole is 209 yards through the trees, No. 8 is a tight 196 yards, the 14th hole is a challenging 216 yards from an elevated tee to a narrow green guarded by three bunkers and a large gully, and No. 17 is 214 yards to a green surrounded by bunkers.
Another hole to be reckoned with is No. 7, rated No. 1 on the card, a par 4 that measures 462 yards to a green protected by a wide creek. Balancing out the difficulty of the course are two relatively short par-5s and No. 4, a very reachable, 255-yard par 4 from an elevated tee.
The course finishes with a par-5 that measures 559 yards, with a large lake and creek coming into play down the left side some 200 yards off the tee. The approach shot must be precise, with several large bunkers surrounding the green.
Anderson bought the corporation that has a contract with the Tahitian government to run the golf course, which now has a legitimate pro shop and an open-air restaurant that serves three meals a day prepared by a French chef.
OTHER COURSES IN THE AREA: There were no others until the first nine holes of Moorea Green Pearl Golf Club in Temae, created by Nicklaus Design, opened early in 2007, with the second nine opening later in the year.
The course's location near the ferry dock at Vaiare and the Temae airport have created tourism golf packages on Tahiti and Moorea.
This magnificent golf resort was the first new course in Polynesia in 35 years. South Pacific Golf Resort Development, headquartered in Papeete, is planning to build a 5-star, 154-room hotel and a hotel residential housing estate with 84 rooms and suites, adjacent to the course
WHERE TO STAY: Most Americans visiting Tahiti stay at the Beachcomber Intercontinental Resort, the Sheraton Tahiti, Le Meridien Tahiti or the Sofitel Maeva Beach.
On neighboring Bora Bora are the Hotel Bora Bora, the Bora Bora Lagoon Resort and the Pearl Beach Resort.
On Moorea are the Beachcomber Intercontinental Moorea, the Sheraton Moorea, Moorea Pearl Resort, the Sofitel Ia Ora and the Moorea Village Hotel.
The larger neighboring islands can be reached from Papeete by ferry several times a day.
Princess Cruises and Radisson Seven Seas cruise through French Polynesia on a regular basis and ships from other cruise lines also call at Papeete on longer voyages.
Tour operators provide transportation from your hotel or cruise ship to the golf course.
ON THE WEB: www.worldgolf.com/course-reviews/south-pacific/olivier-breaud-golf.htm; www.international-golf-olivier-breaud-tahiti.com.
THE LAST RESORT: Ojai Valley Inn and Spa in Ojai, Calif.
THE LAYOUT: Humphrey Bogart and some of his Hollywood cronies commissioned the great George C. Thomas Jr. -- who designed Riviera, Bel-Air and Los Angeles North among other notable layouts -- to create this golfing treasure in the Topa Topa Mountains above the beach community of Ventura in 1923.
Another noted designer, Billy Bell, assisted Thomas, who said his goal in designing this course was " ... that the average golfer could enjoy his round without too great a penalty, and that a test must be afforded requiring the low-handicap man to play fine golf in order to secure pars."
This classic course, which measures 6,292 yards and plays to a par of 70 with a rating of 70.7 and a slope of 125, was retooled in 1988 by noted modern designer Jay Moorish -- who paid particular attention to the greens.
Ojai hosted the Senior PGA Tour, now the Champions Tour, for seven years during the 1980s and 1990s, in addition to hosting the EMC Skills Challenge and the Michael Douglas and Friends Celebrity Tournament, two made-for-television events.
DIRECTOR OF GOLF: Mark Greenslit.
LOCAL KNOWLEDGE: Doug Sanders and three-time Masters champion Jimmy Demaret once represented Ojai on the PGA Tour.
Winners of the FHP Health Care Classic, which was played at Ojai from 1991 to 1996, included Walter Morgan, Bruce Devlin, Jay Sigel, Al Geiberger, Bruce Crampton and Chi Chi Rodriguez.
In 1999, two holes of Thomas' original layout that were dormant for more than 50 years were restored. The U.S. Army took over the hotel during World War II to house officers returning from overseas and Quonset huts were placed on the back nine. When the course was handed back after the war, two of the holes had been replaced.
One of the new-old holes is a 203-yard downhill par-3 to a green guarded in front by a massive bunker complex, a gaping arroyo on the left and out of bounds right -- but the green area is like a giant catcher's glove, funneling balls toward the hole. It is a replica of a hole Thomas grew up playing at famed Pine Valley.
Two-time Masters champion Ben Crenshaw, a golf historian and a fan of George C. Thomas courses, has called the tee ball on this hole "one of the great shots in golf."
Next is a gorgeous par-4, 403 yards uphill with a panoramic view of the mountains.
A few years ago, Ojai finished a multi-million renovation of the inn that includes a new clubhouse. The course has been reconfigured, with the two "lost" holes leading to the No. 1 handicap hole, a 442-yard uphill par-4 that now is No. 18, giving Ojai one of the most beautiful and challenging finishes anywhere.
The picturesque par-4, 358-yard second hole requires two shots over barrancas and has been selected as one of the "500 Greatest Golf Holes" by Golf magazine.
The new two-story, 1,645-square-foot pro shop is designed in Spanish Colonial style of architecture with a red tile roof and white plaster walls, arches and terra cotta floor tiles.
OTHER COURSES IN THE AREA: Right down the street in Ojai is a terrific municipal layout, Soule Park Golf Course.
It's only a short drive from Ojai to Buenaventura and Olivas Park golf courses in Ventura, Elkins Ranch Golf Course in Fillmore, River Ridge Golf Course in Oxnard, Rustic Canyon Club in Moorpark, Moorpark Country Club, Tierra Rejada Golf Club in Moorpark, Lost Canyons Golf Club in Simi Valley, Sterling Hills Golf Club in Camarillo and the nine-hole Saticoy Regional Golf Course.
Also not far are Robinson Ranch in Canyon Country and TPC Valencia.
WHERE TO STAY: The Ojai Valley Inn and Spa is listed among Great Hotels in the World and has been rated among the top 10 hotel spas in the United States by USA Today, Travel and Leisure magazine, National Geographic Traveler magazine and Town & Country magazine.
Ojai once was a hideaway for Hollywood stars such as Bogart, Jack Benny, Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, Ronald Reagan, Walt Disney, Clark Gable, Rita Hayworth, Hoagy Carmichael, Judy Garland, Paul Newman, Lana Turner and Loretta Young.
Other fine accommodations in the quaint village of Ojai include Best Western Casa Ojai, the Rose Garden Inn, the Emerald Iguana Inn, Casa de La Luna and Theodore Woolsey House Bed and Breakfast.
ON THE WEB: www.ojairesort.com.