Cleaved through the tall pines of the Del Monte Forest, Poppy Hills Golf Course's 18-hole layout blankets the scenic terrain of the Monterey Peninsula with a 6,857 trail of meticulously manicured fairways and greens. Designed by renowned course architect Robert Trent Jones II, Poppy Hills has hosted many high-profile golf events, including co-hosting the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am from 1991 to 2009, a 19-year span during which Bill Murray never left.
Named one of California's Top 10 Courses You Can Play, Poppy Hills gives casual golfers a chance to test their mettle on a world-class course—the 426-yard fifth hole was rated the most difficult par four in PGA Tour play in 2006—with four tee options that make it surmountable for golfers of all stripes. Though its known for its woodland scenery and large, undulating greens, the par 72 course also features water hazards that come into play on two holes, gobbling up golf balls and serving as a convenient vacation spot for fish trying to spend a weekend away from the Pacific.
Course at a Glance:
18-hole, par 72 course designed by Robert Trent Jones II
Length of 6,857 yards from the farthest tees
Course rating of 74.3 from the farthest tees
Slope rating of 144 from the farthest tees
Four tee options
Adventures by the Sea is owner Frank Knight’s love letter to Monterey Bay. As an avid cyclist, kayaker, and surfer in his youth, Frank decided to share the gift of the bay by providing land- and sea-activity rentals for tourists. But, what started out as a small bike-rental shop frequented by local hotel guests eventually transformed into a four-location recreational company that now offers kayaking, bicycling, SUP paddling, and surrey-carriage rentals and tours.
Bicycle renters can cruise along 17-Mile Drive and the rocky shorelines of Pacific Grove, while surrey-carriage rentals provide a low-key communal pedaling adventure for up to four riders. Patrons can also enjoy the serene environment of Monterey Peninsula as they glide through the waters of Cannery Row and Stillwater Cove—both part of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary—on the company’s kayaks and standup paddleboards (SUP). During tours, knowledgeable guides rattle off facts about the area while pointing out its wildlife, such as harbor seals lounging on the rocks and otters snapping pictures of kayakers.
Along with providing land and water activities, Adventures by the Sea helps guests build stronger relationships with one another through their local group adventures, which include scavenger hunts. When customers are ready to invest in their own trustworthy gear, the company’s pro shop helps them stock up on boogie boards, snorkeling equipment, and paddleboards from brands such as Surftech, Naish Hawaii, and Paddle Surf Hawaii.
The Monterey Peninsula produces first-rate golf courses the same way New York City breeds artists and musicians, and Rancho Canada Golf Club is no exception. The club is a 36-hole showcase of rolling fairways and greens intersected by the murmuring ripples of the Carmel River. The waterway's origin is obvious as the course unfolds: the entire complex nestles under the green peaks of the Saint Lucia Mountain in the distance.
The longer of the two layouts, the West Course skips over the Carmel River three times, shifting between broad fairways and narrow ones lined with cottonwoods, sycamores, and drivers that were planted in the ground in hope that they would blossom there. The East Course comes into contact with the river on five occasions, and culminates with a finishing hole replete with scenic views of the mountain range. A natural-grass driving range and greens for putting and chipping faciliate pre- or post-round practice. Players can also demo the latest clubs or groom their game in private lessons or group golf clinics.
East Course at a Glance: * 18-hole, par 71 course * Length of 6,125 yards from the tips * Course rating of 69.5 from the tips * Slope rating of 122 from the tips * Three tee options
West Course at a Glance: * 18-hole, par 71 course * Length of 6,357 yards from the tips * Course rating of 70.6 from the tips * Slope rating of 124 from the tips * Three tee options
Laguna Seca Golf Ranch requires action from every club in your bag. The course was designed in 1970 by famed architects Robert Trent Jones Sr. and Robert Trent Jones Jr., and it bears the markings of their creativity. Though the father-son duo didn't emblazon the family crest onto every fairway, they did outfit the championship gauntlet with elevated tees, several water hazards, and a bevy of bunkers to defend every hole. At hole 15, for instance, water swallows solid drives, and at hole 17, five bunkers can prove catastrophic for scores. But golfers don't have to face these challenges unprepared: Laguna Seca also boasts a 13-acre natural-grass practice facility, complete with putting and chipping greens. The ranch also offers visitors a stocked golf shop, dining, and full bar service.
Course at a Glance * 18-hole, par 71 course * Course rating of 70.6 * Course slope of 132 * Total of 6,174 yard from the back tees * Five tees per hole * Click here to view the scorecard
On the gorgeous greens of Pasadera Country Club, associate head golf pro Webster Peterson has improved the game of a wide range of players, including 3-year-olds, 80-year-olds, and rookies who've turned pro and swung their way onto television. His thorough teaching technique begins with stroke development and tactical strategy, ensuring that players have the fundamentals down pat before they start serving and slamming. Lessons are for all ages and skill levels, and students don't have to be members of the Pasadera club to learn under Webster's racket.
At 18,000 feet in the air, the view is peaceful: Monterey Bay and Santa Cruz sprawled out below, bordered by the immense blue of the Pacific Ocean. And yet, this view is also exhilarating?it means you're about to leap out of a plane and fall at 120 miles per hour. Luckily, if it's your first time with Skydive Monterey Bay, you'll be strapped to a tandem instructor.
These coaches take their guests up to one of the world's highest jumps, in one of the fastest jump planes. Their mission is to balance the right amount of thrills with the utmost consideration for safety, whether they're with a skydiving newbie or an experienced parachuter. In addition to leading?and filming?first-time jumps, they host one-on-one lessons and accelerated freefall training for students who want to dive on their own. They can teach visitors to pack their own parachute, fall in different postures, and frighten William Shatner on the wing of a plane, all before coming back to earth. And according to their FAQs, landing is as gentle as "stepping off the curb."