Las Positas Golf Course opened for play in 1966, but it's a much different course now than it was then. For one, several renovations have been made to the original 18 over the years, including a major one in 2011 and 2012 that saw the construction of 5 entirely new holes, 12 redesigned tee boxes, and a new cart path that doesn't assume all golf carts are amphibious. Secondly, a new par-3 course was added in 2012, consisting of 9 links-style holes. After a round on either course, players can stop at Beeb's Sports Bar and Grill or log some more practice time on the driving range or putting greens.
Set amid a stretch of hilly terrain, Canyon Lakes Golf Course's 18-hole course offers a player-friendly layout with scenic views of Mount Diablo and the San Ramon Valley. Throughout the course, towering pine trees and treacherous sand traps constrict the fairways, eager to ensnare errant golf balls or 7-iron medal detectors looking for buried treasure. When not taking on the challenges of the undulating course, golfers can head to Canyon Lakes' adobe-style clubhouse, which serves lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. every day and breakfast from 6:45 a.m. to noon on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.
Within his outdoor classroom at Fremont Park Golf Club, PGA professional David Suh designs unique plans to help each of his students improve their golf games. He does this by taking into account their approach to learning as well as their goals and physical limitations. Using this information, he can tweak their swing mechanics, adjust their preswing setup, or advise them against preshot routines that include 100 knocks on a fairway wood. In addition to stressing the importance of practice, persistence, and patience, David also encourages players to focus on the short-game fundamentals of putting, chipping, and bunker play.
Helmed by founder Tom Rezendes, NorCal Golf Academy?s LPGA, PGA, and TPI-certified professional instructors believe that there are infinite ways to swing a golf club. In this spirit, they help each student find his or her own best approach, taking into account physical limitations to craft goals that are as lofty as the berries on a berry bush.
Operating on the premise that there is no such thing as a quick fix and that overall fitness is key to a good game, they also focus on adding new drills over time, and encourage students to participate in the facility?s golf fitness classes. The specially designed workouts can help golfers build a solid swing and generate the muscle needed to fight off water-hazard gators.
While idly discussing the prospect of creating a miniature-golf course festooned with elaborate art installations, Michael Taft realized that he couldn?t think of a single putt-putt course in the Bay Area. Fast-forwarding to his retirement plan of owning a small business, Taft snapped up an abandoned video store and enlisted artistic friends and local craftspeople to make his dream a reality. Subpar Miniature Golf?s map of handcrafted holes has players putting their way through Bay Area landmarks, including an Altamont Pass windmill and the Golden Gate Bridge, tricked out with loop-the-loops. A sprawling, hand-drawn mural wraps its way around the room, depicting scenes of NoCal life and tricking gullible coyotes into trying to sprint through the walls.
Subpar Miniature Golf?s ever-growing arcade area keeps button-smashers busy with vintage pinball machines and a pair of air-hockey tables, contributing to Taft's dream of turning the space into a family institution and community fixture. As he told the San Francisco Chronicle, "Every once in a while, you'll hear a giant cheer in the back by a group that sunk a (great) putt. It makes me feel really good, like 'We did that. That's us.'"
After digging up divots as a player on the California Golf Tour and Golden State Tour, golf pro Leigh Ochinero decided to share his passion for the sport by mentoring aspiring golfers. He coached players on everything from improving their short game to developing sound course strategy, and even spent time presiding over golf-instruction company Golf on the Move. Now, he leads GolfSmarts, drawing upon nearly 24 years of teaching experience as he combines traditional hands-on instruction and the modern technology of video analysis. He also invites pupils to join him for playing lessons that test whether or not newly learned skills can stand up to the pressure of a real course's hazards, design quirks, and ball-eating golf carts.