When golfing legend Gary Player designed Steele Canyon Golf Club, he did so in a manner that both respected and showcased the region's natural beauty and terrain. Gary divvied the 27-hole championship course into a trio of nine-hole courses, each presenting golfers with different challenges and vistas.
Located on the Ranch Course, the signature hole, "Parachute," has players tee off from more than 175 feet above the fairway. The result: a stunning aerial view of winding greens and escaped caddies as they make a break toward new lives as bankers. Not to be outdone, the Canyon Course features some lofty shots of its own. Hole four, for instance, challenges players with a sloping two-tiered green, but earned the nickname "Goosebumps" for its panoramic view of the canyons.
The percussive clacking of club and ball welcomes club-toting compatriots to City Golf of America's indoor training facility, a golfer’s haven with more than 23,000 square feet of swing-honing amenities. Inside the vast facility, students of golf can gain valuable reps at 1 of the 18 hitting bays of the indoor driving range, plant spiked shoes into the soft grains of a real sand bunker, and inoculate themselves against outbreaks of the yips on two nine-hole putting greens. The immense screens of high-tech golf simulators channel the lush landscapes of 60 of the world’s most renowned courses, whisking golfers to the famed greens of Amen Corner of Augusta National, the windswept heathers of St. Andrews, or near the loudmouth porpoises of Pebble Beach. The facilities are rounded out by a fitness area and members' lounge, where golfers can sink into divot-free leather furniture while noshing on snacks from the café, surfing free WiFi, or watching flat-screen TVs. A staff of teaching professionals and PGA pros leads students through private lessons. The staff makes use of JC video-analysis technology to deftly diagnose swings and proffer both onsite corrective tips and longer-term practice strategies to streamline swing mechanics.
Originally built in the 1920s by A.G. Spalding of Spalding Sports and having hosted professional golfers such as Phil Mickleson, Sam Snead, and Craig Stadler, Sail Ho Golf Club’s charming and historic 9-hole course endows orb-smackers with an expansive view of the San Diego skyline. Seasoned swingers and golf greenhorns alike can send their balls sailing across the 8th hole’s flourishing fairway, or practice ESP-communication with aberrant balls in flight to steer shots away from the 9th hole’s five sand bunkers. Players can sharpen shots even more with the expert instruction of golf lessons ($25 each, not included), taught by an on-staff PGA Professional. A bounty of breakfast items, burgers, and sandwiches await hole-in-one hunger pangs at the Sail Ho’s bar and grill, which also features an array of wine, beer, and specialty cocktails for post-round libations.
Scratch Junior Golf combines the latest golf technology with some of the top instructors in the game to help clients improve their overall golf skills. The PGA-certified instructors—including Rick Smith, named one of the top 10 instructors in America by Golf Digest in 2007, and Tina Mickelson, sister of Phil Mickelson—create a personalized lesson plan using the Scratch Skills Handicap System, which uses advanced technology to measure progress after each lesson. The facility includes a 2,500-square-foot putting green that allows golfers to practice a variety of scenarios. By using computer simulators, live shots, and fitness techniques, Scratch offers a welcoming, interactive learning environment to improve your golf proficiency. Call ahead to schedule your lessons and add some swagger to your sad swing.
StoneRidge Country Club’s 18th hole is almost an island green; a pond to the left and an oversized bunker to the right surrounds it, leaving only a slim parcel of grass to access the actual putting surface. The 350-yard par 4 finale is just one of the challenging holes found on the Ted Robinson design, a layout that often leaves golfers staring down tricky lies or into the souls of nervous irons. For more than half a century, golfers have flocked to the private club to test their shot-making skills on the course's eclectic features, which include drastic elevation changes, interspersed ponds, and narrow fairways cleaved between rows of mature arbores.
PGA professional Mike Feeney and a fleet of golf aces roam the grounds and are available for lessons to teach players how to improve their swings and approach different course conditions. Golfers can practice their techniques at the driving range’s 18 hitting stations, working up an appetite before dropping by the clubhouse restaurant for a snack or meal from the dinner menu of classic grill fare and upscale entrees.
StoneRidge Country Club also entertains members with a 25-meter swimming pool, complete with a wading pool and jacuzzi. Guests looking to transform their backstroke into a groundstroke can engage in friendly competition on the nine tennis courts, seven of which are lighted for nighttime play or when the solar system's dormant sun is blocking the good one.
Course at a Glance: