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.
• 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)
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.
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.
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: