It's easy to spot the new superintendent at Torrey Pines—the shoulder- length blonde hair gives her away. One of the few women entrusted with the care and feeding of a golf course, Candice Combs will be charged with preparing this California muni's marvelous 7,607-yard South course for the 2008 U.S. Open. Combs, 52, who oversees all thirty-six holes here, always liked to grow things; she just never thought she'd be growing kikuyu and rye fairways and bent-grass greens. "I didn't know what a green was," she says, referring to the day she was promoted by the San Diego Parks Department to a job at the city's Balboa Park course three decades ago. In 2000 she attained certification from the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America; only twenty-five women have earned such status. Architect Rees Jones, who renovated the South for the Open, is confident the course is in sure hands. "It's improving every day under her watch," he says.
Torrey Pines Golf Course 11480 North Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla, California; 800-985-4653, torreypinesgolfcourse.com. Nonresident Greens Fees: $115$135 (South); $75$85 (North). Architect: William F. Bell, 1957.