Cinnabar Hills Golf Club is named after the rich, red ore mined from its hills in the 19th century. Its three 9-hole layouts—The Canyon, The Lake, and The Mountain—foreshadow the property's topographical variety. Elevation changes and scenic overlooks are a constant across this 27-hole complex sculpted into San Jose's southern foothills. The 9-hole layouts can be combined into six different 18-hole playing experiences, keeping the adventure fresh as players select from multiple tee boxes, putt on exceptional Northern California greens, and relish scenic views throughout the course. Oak trees fill the landscape and attract a diverse population of wildlife, including red-tail hawks known for preying on unsuspecting bunker rakes. The enchanting layout and location have helped the course garner numerous awards, including the title of Best Public Golf Course from the San Jose Mercury News, San Jose Magazine, Metro, and the Silicon Valley Concierge Association for many years in a row.
After rounds, golfers can refuel at the full-service restaurant and bar, or bask in the game's rich history at the Brandenburg Historical Golf Museum. Full-size replicas of the four major championship trophies glisten in the display cases, along with a host of other golf artifacts.
Staffed by experienced coaches and computers who’ve sworn allegiance to the three laws of golfing robotics, GolfTEC’s motion sensors and high-speed cameras monitor swings and break down each individual’s form on a high-definition video display to get results. Sensors chirp with approval whenever they detect the perfect stroke or an especially witty golfing joke. GolfTEC’s experienced personal coaches will point out flaws and strengths while providing golfers with tips on how to permanently improve their game from tee to green.
After digging up divots as a player on the California Golf Tour and Golden State Tour, golf pro Leigh Ochinero decided to share his passion for the sport by mentoring aspiring golfers. He coached players on everything from improving their short game to developing sound course strategy, and even spent time presiding over golf-instruction company Golf on the Move. Now, he leads GolfSmarts, drawing upon nearly 24 years of teaching experience as he combines traditional hands-on instruction and the modern technology of video analysis. He also invites pupils to join him for playing lessons that test whether or not newly learned skills can stand up to the pressure of a real course's hazards, design quirks, and ball-eating golf carts.
Pruneridge Golf Club equips its patrons with the physical skills and mental edge to succeed at the game of golf, and then nudges them toward the first tee of its 9-hole course. Beginners and scratch golfers alike can benefit from the establishment's game-improvement measures, whether treating themselves to range balls at the two-tier driving range or hitting up a Class A PGA Pro for lessons on driving, putting, and even course management. They can also benefit from some computer-aided assistance with Visual Golf, which employs video technology to let players see their own bad habits, chart a course for improvement, and demonstrate stoicism in the face of difficult lies.
When players are ready to unveil their retooled swings, they can tee up on the nine-hole course, which consists entirely of par 3s and 4s. The club also offers a twist on the game as a home for FootGolf, a combination of soccer and golf that involves kicking a regulation soccer ball into oversized holes on a shortened course.
Designed by Clark Glasson and built in 1961, Deep Cliff's 18 hole, par 60, executive course is nestled in the Cupertino foothills. A short course of 3,358 yards, Deep Cliff is recommended by many course reviewers as a good starting point for beginners.
Within his outdoor classroom at Fremont Park Golf Club, PGA professional David Suh designs unique plans to help each of his students improve their golf games. He does this by taking into account their approach to learning as well as their goals and physical limitations. Using this information, he can tweak their swing mechanics, adjust their preswing setup, or advise them against preshot routines that include 100 knocks on a fairway wood. In addition to stressing the importance of practice, persistence, and patience, David also encourages players to focus on the short-game fundamentals of putting, chipping, and bunker play.
Emerald Hills Golf Course strings together nine par 3 holes that test short-game proficiency as players use shorter irons to propel their golf balls through course's frequent elevation changes. The sixth hole presents opportunities for holes-in-one with a downhill tee shot of just 120 yards into a bowl-shaped green, easily replicated from a backyard deck into an inflatable swimming pool.
Golfers hoping to shave strokes off their scores can work under the tutelage of the course's certified teaching professional, Chris Raddie. Players can then practice Chris's corrective advice after a lesson or before a round on the two practice greens or midsize practice cage, which can double as a penalty box for prevaricating scorekeepers.
Course at a Glance:
Etched into the hills of Livermore Valley wine country, the award-winning Poppy Ridge Golf Course challenges fairway-navigators to conquer its 27-hole, Scottish heath-inspired layout. The course's four sets of tees per hole help golfers adjust for their skill levels, and master architect Rees Jones's extensive bunkering makes the sparingly used quicksand trap that much more surprising.
• 18 holes of golf for two (up to a $39 value/person) • A cart rental (a $15 value/person) • Two small buckets of driving-range balls (a $5 value each) • Lunch for two, which includes a sandwich or hot dog, a side order, and a fountain drink at the Skywest Bar & Grill (up to a $12.49 value/person)
Named as a favorite golf range in 2009 by Golf Digest, Mariners Point offers 64 well-manicured practice stalls, including natural grass and a challenging 9-hole, par 3 course. The double-decker driving range features on-site professionals, high-quality range balls, and power tees that automatically tee up the ball. Use the range card to purchase driving ammunition in small ($7 for 60 balls), medium ($11 for 105 balls), or large ($13 for 165 balls) baskets. Golfers receive 10 additional balls for visiting the range before 11 a.m. on weekdays. Clearly defined target greens and easy-to-read yardage markers make for far easier practice than aiming for the blowholes of passing belugas. When it’s game time, players can hit the course for a round of golf. Drivers, putters, and severely confused baseball players are treated to breathtaking San Francisco Bay views from each of the nine greens.
Rancho del Pueblo Golf Course stands at the site of the old Thunderbird Golf Course, an East San Jose mainstay for more than 30 years, and its 9-hole executive layout is ideal for both newer players and veterans looking to hone their short game. Consisting of eight par 3s and a short par 4, the course emphasizes approach shots and putting—a skill easily practiced on the facility's 10,000-square-foot bent-grass putting green. Golfers can also improve their game at a driving range with 25 hitting stations, relax under patio umbrellas at the on-site cafe, or browse the pro shop to replace the nine-iron that took a new job as a walking cane.
While most of Rancho del Pueblo's resources are dedicated to traditional golf, the course also caters to footgolf—a new, growing sport in which players punt soccer balls over the fairways instead, hoping to reach the hole in the fewest number of kicks.
Ten-year teaching veteran and PGA professional Chris Bradford analyzes his students’ strengths, weaknesses, and styles of play in order to craft individualized plans for golf-game improvement. His lessons center around three core tenets of instruction: personal strengths, which help golfers make the right on-course decisions; swing knowledge, which helps them understand their own mechanics; and quality practice, which teaches players to train effectively and abstain from combining golf and foxtrot practice. V1 Pro video software captures in-lesson swings, allowing for frame-by-frame analysis and side-by-side comparisons.
Veteran golfers may look at Blackberry Farm Golf Course's seven par 3s and two par 4s and immediately think "piece of cake," but they may soon regret it. It's true that the overall length is very short at 1,544 yards, but if they're not dialed in with their short irons and putter, the round will still be a long one regardless of yardage. The fairways are narrow and the greens small, so accuracy is paramount. This makes the course a prime spot for polishing short game skills and building a smooth, reliable swing—something made much easier without the added pressure of extreme length.
The TPC Stonebrae Championship, East Bay’s only PGA Tour–sanctioned event, convinces a friendly group of club-wielding pros to turn on each other during a fierce golfing competition held on a par 70 course designed by David McLay Kidd. Beginning on a cheerful note, the course's first hole greets golfers with picturesque views of the bay and caroling caddies, before players thwack their dimpled orbs into the beautiful yet deceiving emerald expanse. Notable contestants, such as former world top-10 golfer Steve Elkington and legendary San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Jerry Rice, will then have to overcome a bombardment of breezes, hilly terrain scrambling depth perception, and moms yelling to come inside for supper. Children younger than 18 accompanied by a ticket-holding adult will be admitted free of charge.
Short-game specialist and PGA Class-A pro Bruce Vieira improves swings with his time-tested accelerated training program with 20 years of college and professional golf to his name. Conducting lessons at DeLaveaga Golf and Lodge, he starts new students off with an introductory evaluation. From the onset of their training, students learn why certain outcomes happen after a swing, and what needs to change in order for scores to improve. That familiarity comes in handy when students begin building new swings based on their individual traits, such as their body type, range of motion, and whether or not they can get their hands on a corked putter.