Though the course is surrounded by vineyards in California's Central Valley, rounds at Micke Grove Golf Links aren't all cheese and crackers. Each obstacle on the links-style layout—including eight different lakes and 42 sand bunkers—ensure that every shot poses its own set of risks, such as losing a golf ball to the watery depths or waking the ancient mummies beneath the sand. Course architect Garrett Gill's choreography reaches a climax on the signature 5th hole, where tee shots must clear 179 yards of water in order to reach the green unharmed.
Course at a Glance:
At the Forest Meadows Golf course designed by Robert Trent Jones, Jr., golfers can traverse long fairways bordered with oaks and pines as they play 18 challenging holes. After avoiding water hazards and treacherous sand traps, players can stop by the driving range to hone their skills or pick up new gear at the pro shop.
At age 6, when most little boys are obsessed with their toy trucks and plastic dinosaurs, Ken Miller was interested in playthings with steel shafts and the ability to send a ball soaring over the grass. Young Miller’s passion for golf didn’t wane as he grew older: after making a splash on the junior golf scene, he attended Fresno State University on a golf scholarship and toured competitively before retiring to teach. But after 10 years of working for someone else, Miller was ready to realize his own dream: a family-friendly range that satisfied even the pickiest golfer. So, with his kids and wife in tow, Miller spent a year sculpting 19 acres of land into what is now McHenry Golf Center.
Today, the practice facility—which was named one of the Top 100 Ranges in America in 2009 by Golf Range—presents players with an all-grass driving range whose lighting makes it possible to play with balls that are afraid of the dark. After landing shots on the range’s seven target greens, which taunt them from 50 to 250 yards away, golfers can work on their short game at an 11,000-square-foot putting green, then head over to a practice green guarded by five circular and kidney-bean-shaped bunkers. If they want help with their chipping technique or sand play, they can take lessons with Miller and other PGA pros. Golfers can refuel with fare from the center’s snack bar after a lesson or independent practice.
While creating McHenry Golf Center, Ken Miller designed a pro shop to meet the needs of both casual and dedicated golfers, whether they carry a standard coin purse or suitcases filled with golden golf balls. Customers can get an expert fitting before picking their clubs, thanks to the center's TaylorMade SelectFit System and Ping Advanced Fitting System. For putters and woods that need attention, Golfsmith Clubmakers–trained Jim Tocco awaits at the repair center, where he fixes grips and shafts, working quickly enough to offer next-day service.
With a 9-hole course, a driving range with nine target greens, and lessons with Head Golf Professional Kevin Hill, St. Stanislaus Golf Course presents the beginner and avid golfer alike with a suitable spot to hone their games. Beginners of all ages—from adult lesson-takers to youngsters participating in the course's Junior Program—enjoy the course's relatively short overall length and opportunities for improvement. More seasoned club swingers, meanwhile, use the course to calibrate iron play and work on course management—that aspect of golf strategy that dictates when to lay up, what club to use, and how to barter with a chipmunk to get your ball back.
The 18-hole course at The Golf Club at Rio Vista lives up to the club's moniker, as sweeping views of the scenic Sacramento River Delta abound throughout the layout. Designed by renowned architect Ted Robinson Sr., the course extends beyond 6,800 yards when played from the tips and showcases water features, sand traps, and elevation changes that have earned it accolades from Golf Digest. After rounds, guests can stop in at the onsite Rio Vista Nines restaurant for a salad, a sandwich, or a hearty entree more delicious than a homemade fairway smoothie.
A self-described "cattleman," Jack Roddy made the shrewd business decision to turn his 2,000-acre cattle ranch into Roddy Ranch, which opened its pristine greens in 2000. The outcome was a resounding success, as the club's 18-hole, 7,024-yard course garnered praise from its early guests, including a San Francisco Chronicle writer who lauded the "home-free surroundings" as "the finest golf course that's opened in the greater Bay Area in years." With mounded terrain, relatively scarce tree lines, a multitude of bunkers, and ball washers that speak Gaelic, the course brings the links-style characteristics of golf's Emerald Isle forebears into the rustic hills of northern California. As golfers traverse the grassy labyrinth, elevated greens and tee boxes give way to scenic views of the brown- and green-toned landscape as rising foothills graze the distant clouds.
The expansive club also encompasses a 400-yard, three-tiered driving range, as well as a pro shop featuring golf apparel and accessories from Titleist, FootJoy, Antigua, and other top industry brands. After trolling the fairways or burying disloyal 9 irons in the deepest bunker, players can retreat to The Corral, where a full repertoire of sandwiches, salads, soups, soft drinks, beer, and liquor foster post-round rejuvenation and revelry.
Course at a Glance:
18-hole, par-72 course
Length of 7,024 yards from the farthest tees
Course rating of 74.5 from the farthest tees
Slope rating of 142 from the farthest tees
Five tee options
See the scorecard