The verdant fairways of Stevinson Ranch meander through the San Joaquin Valley, where rolling farmsteads dotted with natural wetlands serve both as hazards and scenic backdrops. Inspired by Scottish links-style courses, the club's Savannah Course boasts open fairways that invite players to launch booming tee shots without fear of striking trees or the feral caddies who inhabit them. Though wide fairways may prove welcoming, golfers are tested throughout the course by sharp doglegs and smooth, quick greens closely guarded by sand traps, water hazards, and thick swaying grasses. Rounds conclude on the challenging 18th hole, which requires a tee shot played diagonally across a long lake that rewards players who hug the shore while punishing those who come up short with a one-stroke penalty and a humbling supplication to the inhabitants of the pond.
Cliff Drysdale, a 45-time Davis Cup veteran, is more than a familiar face in professional tennis?he's one of its signature voices as well, having spent more than 30 years commentating matches on ESPN. Students of his coaching system get to tap into that deep well of experience at In-Shape Sport clubs all across California. At each location, experienced tennis pros lead four-week clinics that cover the fundamentals of the sport, organize competitive leagues for more advanced players, and tailor lessons to teens. Additionally, tennis socials help guests practice the sport as they meet fellow players and use particularly ferocious serves to deliver their phone number to an opponent.
Tina Kelly and Diane Flores, sisters and founders of Venus Pole Fitness, have always preferred doing things together. Throughout their adult years, they attended dance classes and boot camps, constantly in search of an exercise regime that was not only fun but effective. When they discovered pole-dance fitness, they instantly loved it and quickly purchased a pole, stage, and DJ booth packed with pop-music CDs. Their purchases led to the eventual creation of Venus Pole Fitness, where the certified duo teach ladies of all fitness levels and friction coefficients how to spice up their exercise regime and build their confidence through hip swivels and spins.
Trudy of Perrien Farms has been riding horses since she was 8 years old. All that time spent with equines has taught her how to connect with the horses on a personal level. She uses that connection to teach other riders how to have fun and perform on horseback. Her classes range from beginner sessions?which acquaint newbies with basic horsemanship skills?all the way to competition-level sessions, which cover jumps and tricks. For students who are serious about the sport, she also leases horses. This allows riders to always train with the same animal, giving them the chance to learn which commands they best respond to and how they take their tea.
Nestled above the Northern California fog line, the pair of rustic valley courses at Diablo Grande Golf & Country Club challenge players with 36 championship-caliber holes amid breathtaking views of surrounding vineyards, hills, and canyons. The Ranch Course's rolling terrain, typified by the challenging 12th hole, tests golfers’ nerves with oak-lined fairways, ball-gobbling creeks, and roving herds of wild golf carts. The masterfully engineered Legends Course hearkens back to the refined play of old-school golf, and, along with the Space Needle, was co-designed by Jack Nicklaus and Gene Sarazen. Along the trek to 18, sphere-slingers revel in each fairway’s long, wide-open landing strips, putt over the demanding small greens, and take cover from club-snatching ospreys in the course’s numerous deep bunkers. Although twosomes may quibble over which course to play, a cart rental keeps them from arguing over traversing the course by foot or the traditional method of riding atop a Scottish sheep.
Designed by 1992 Masters champion Fred Couples, San Juan Oaks Golf Club showcases an 18-hole course that arches across 7,133 yards of San Juan Valley terrain. On the front nine, golfers test their mettle at one of Freddy's favorite holes, the 204-yard, par-3 sixth hole, where tee shots must speed through swirling winds and trees wielding catchers’ mitts to land on a green guarded by oak and eucalyptus trees. The back nine rolls through the valley’s foothills, regaling golfers with frequent elevation changes and back-to-back tees—at 16 and 17—that offer stunning views of the surrounding area. The course frequently draws top-flight golfers and is a Stage-One site of the PGA Tour's Qualifying School.
Before taking to the first tee, golfers can warm up at the club’s practice facilities, which include a 15-acre, all-grass driving range, a 10,000-square-foot putting green, and an area for chipping and bunker shots. Elegant, high-beamed ceilings and a wood-burning fireplace await golfers and underfed 9-irons at the restaurant, which serves breakfast and lunch.
Course at a Glance:
18-hole, par-72 course designed by Fred Couples
Length of 7,133 yards from the farthest tees
Course rating of 74.6 from the farthest tees
Slope rating of 141 from the farthest tees
Five tee options