The Ridge Golf Course and Event Center's 6,734-yard course—designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr.—stretches across wide-open, natural expanses, and up and over rippling foothills to reveal breath-taking views. The 18-hole, par 71 course offers challenges for golfers of all levels, daring them to evade the 48 bunkers, water hazards, and oak trees that have been known to hit balls back. Some holes are especially tricky, for instance, on hole 7, an uphill fairway precedes a 26-yard-deep rolling green, prompting golfers to pull their three-wood instead of their driver. But as Greg French—retired director of Golf at The Ridge—said, "It doesn't have to be a difficult course," according to their website. Each hole contains four sets of tees, enabling new players to set up closer, less-difficult shots.
When they're not testing their mettle on the course, players can settle disputes with their empty stomachs at the club’s bar and grill, where cooks grill burgers and sizzle up hot sandwiches.
Course at a Glance:
In 1988, the owners of a ramshackle golf course put it up for sale, taking out a small advertisement in the San Francisco Chronicle. But where others saw a lost cause, Gordon Morrice saw an opportunity. He quickly bought the course and set to improving it, clearing the rocks and trees littering the fairways, planting new trees, and adding concrete paths to keep wild carts from burrowing into the grass. Over two decades, Morrice and his family transformed Black Oak Golf Course into a facility worthy of a country club, with tiered poa annua greens highlighted by the signature fourth hole—a 131-yard par 3 featuring a dramatic tee shot over water. Along with a regular maintenance staff, at least one member of Morrice's family oversees the course on any given day, retaining a level of personal attention that keeps it from shriveling into a mini-golf course like so many before it.
Course at a Glance: