In five decades as a golf-course architect, the late Robert Muir Graves put his stamp on more than 800 golf courses worldwide. His artistry is on full display at Cherry Island Golf Course, where he sculpted shapely fairways and greens into the scenic wetlands of Elverta. Throughout the course, Graves balanced holes pocked with streams and ponds with more straight-away tracks, where the only threat of water comes from the clouds and the open mouths of pelicans flying overhead. The course's hardest-rated hole, the par-4 seventh, is a titan of a hole. Though it only measures 391 yards from the tips, a pond runs from the right side of the fairway to the front of the green, imperiling golf balls on both tee shots and approaches.
Before testing their mettle on the links, golfers can get their timing down at a driving range with grass and artificial tees. The practice facility also encompasses two putting greens where golfers can get a feel for the speed of the putting surfaces without having to drive their cart onto the first green.
Course at a Glance:
Designed to incorporate sparsely populated groves of trees, Foothill Golf Course’s nine-hole, par-3 layout tests golfers' short to mid iron skills across 1,096 yards of holes that range from 100 to 155 yards. On certain nights, the course invites guests to tee up phosphorescent golf balls and pummel them into the darkness during rounds of glow golf. An indoor sitting room and an outdoor area lined with picnic tables await golfers after rounds, where they can enjoy beverages from the pro shop and speculate about which water hazard has eaten the most golf balls.
Course at a Glance:
9-hole, par-27 course
Length of 1,096 yards
Course rating of 27.0
Slope rating of 90
In 1965, the twists and traps of Ancil Hoffman Golf Course were born from the brain of course architect William Francis Bell. Bell's approximately 200 course designs also include the South Course at Torrey Pines, a La Jolla course that was selected to host the U.S. Open in 2008. Ancil Hoffman is replete with watery views, including lateral water hazards on holes 1 and 10. Additionally, the Merle Priddy Memorial grass driving range runs next to the American River, offering golfers a place to perfect their swings using Nike practice balls. Practice facilities also include two large putting and chipping greens.
Led by PGA director of golf instruction Eric Pollard, the instructional programming at the course is based on a teaching method Pollard designed himself after years working with California golf instructors Eddie Merrins and Carl Welty. In addition to adult lessons, Ancil Hoffman Golf Course offers camps where juniors can develop their swings and grow into kilts made of the family tartan under the watch of a professional instructor.
Course at a Glance:
The duo of 18-hole courses, Woodcreek Golf Club and Diamond Oaks Golf Course lie side by side, making it easy for guests to sneak in a double-header. The former, a par-72 track, unravels amongst mature oak trees and native wetlands, while the latter, a Ted Robinson-designed classic open since 1953, accommodates the skill spectrum with three sets of tees and straight fairways. Guests can fine-tune their games on the night-lit driving range and chipping green, or head to the pro shop to stock up on the latest golf gear, including drivers, designer shirts, and blow horns for waking up napping caddies.
Since 1958, players have migrated to Cordova Golf Course in order to try their hands, woods, and putters at the public course's 18 holes and to calibrate their swings at the driving range or with lessons. PGA professional Jacob Marta tailors swing instruction to an individual's needs and physical limitations, helping golfers attain their own natural, repeatable swing motion. Creating a comfortable, encouraging atmosphere, Jacob also takes his instruction onto the course, where he helps players knock strokes off their scorecards. The same atmosphere extends to junior clinics, in which youngsters can learn all facets of the game, including rules and basic etiquette.
Spanning about 4,832 yards, the course challenges golfers of all skill levels with well placed trees and three lakes boasting the combined gravitational pull of a small planet. A smooth cart path allows players to ferry their clubs swiftly from hole to hole, or head over to the clubhouse to catch a drink or meal at Stu's Bar and Grill. Cordova Golf Course also houses an illuminated driving range where golfers can launch Srixon range balls or calcified tangerines off of grass and mat hitting areas.
Each round at Antelope Greens’ 3,250-yard, par 58 executive course takes club-toting quorums careening across a lush tapestry of tree-lined fairways and intervening waterways. Golfers can jump-start days of rapidly escalating one-upmanship with stints at the driving range. There, players can hit personal supplies of 80 balls off of all-grass hitting stalls and play games of longest ball, closest to the target, and most disastrous grass stain. Rented golf carts zip through the sinuous landscape, dropping off golfers by their desired tees and further expediting the already condensed rounds, which divoteers can expect to finish in 3.5 hours or less. Misguided spheres run the risk of falling prey to aquatic hazards throughout the course, most notably on the par 3 seventh, where tee shots must carry water on their way to an oval green girded on all sides by precarious pools. A course map offers an aerial view of the 18 holes and their encroaching waterways, allowing duffers to map out their plans of attack or scuba-diving destinations.