Etched into the hills of Livermore Valley wine country, the award-winning Poppy Ridge Golf Course challenges fairway-navigators to conquer its 27-hole, Scottish heath-inspired layout. The course's four sets of tees per hole help golfers adjust for their skill levels, and master architect Rees Jones's extensive bunkering makes the sparingly used quicksand trap that much more surprising.
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.
• 18 holes of golf for two (up to a $39 value/person) • A cart rental (a $15 value/person) • Two small buckets of driving-range balls (a $5 value each) • Lunch for two, which includes a sandwich or hot dog, a side order, and a fountain drink at the Skywest Bar & Grill (up to a $12.49 value/person)
The TPC Stonebrae Championship, East Bay’s only PGA Tour–sanctioned event, convinces a friendly group of club-wielding pros to turn on each other during a fierce golfing competition held on a par 70 course designed by David McLay Kidd. Beginning on a cheerful note, the course's first hole greets golfers with picturesque views of the bay and caroling caddies, before players thwack their dimpled orbs into the beautiful yet deceiving emerald expanse. Notable contestants, such as former world top-10 golfer Steve Elkington and legendary San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Jerry Rice, will then have to overcome a bombardment of breezes, hilly terrain scrambling depth perception, and moms yelling to come inside for supper. Children younger than 18 accompanied by a ticket-holding adult will be admitted free of charge.
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. The indoor facility’s wealth of technology helps the teachers create such individualized road maps with K-Vest motion analysis—a system that uses wireless sensors to assess movement patterns—and Flight Scope and Trackman radar launch monitors, which depict ball flight on flat-screen HDTVs.
The LPGA and PGA professionals take all this information into account while offering recommendations. 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.