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.
The postcardable Fremont Hills and Central Park's Lake Elizabeth act as inspiring backdrops for Fremont Park Golf and Practice Center's wide-open driving range and verdant 9-hole, par-32 course. In addition to puttering around the course and navigating its bunkers, water hazards, and packs of feral groundskeepers, dedicated swingers can head to the driving range to impress swooning geometry teachers with their perfect golf trajectories. With 18 matted stalls and more than 20 grass tees, the range makes it easy to fire off a constant volley of dimpled grapeshot into the stratosphere.
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.
• 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)
Golf legends Johnny Miller and Fred Bliss teamed up to design the course at Metropolitan Golf Links, and were rewarded with numerous accolades, such as the 2010 ELGA Chapter Award for Public Facilities from the GCSA of Northern California and Golf Digest. To achieve their links-style vision, the golf gurus incorporated the natural contours of the land and covered the terrain with omnipresent sand traps and modern turf hybrids. The result whisks golfers around a labyrinthine layout complete with straightaways, doglegs, and double doglegs, each made more difficult by heavy breezes that blow in from San Francisco Bay, which can disrupt shots and ground scorecard paper airplanes.
Course at a Glance:
Though Metropolitan Golf Links sometimes features a discounted price online, this Groupon still offers the best deal available.
A self-described "cattleman," Jack Roddy made the shrewd business decision to turn his 2,000-acre cattle ranch into Roddy Ranch, which opened its pristine greens in 2000. The outcome was a resounding success, as the club's 18-hole, 7,024-yard course garnered praise from its early guests, including a San Francisco Chronicle writer who lauded the "home-free surroundings" as "the finest golf course that's opened in the greater Bay Area in years." With mounded terrain, relatively scarce tree lines, a multitude of bunkers, and ball washers that speak Gaelic, the course brings the links-style characteristics of golf's Emerald Isle forebears into the rustic hills of northern California. As golfers traverse the grassy labyrinth, elevated greens and tee boxes give way to scenic views of the brown- and green-toned landscape as rising foothills graze the distant clouds.
The expansive club also encompasses a 400-yard, three-tiered driving range, as well as a pro shop featuring golf apparel and accessories from Titleist, FootJoy, Antigua, and other top industry brands. After trolling the fairways or burying disloyal 9 irons in the deepest bunker, players can retreat to The Corral, where a full repertoire of sandwiches, salads, soups, soft drinks, beer, and liquor foster post-round rejuvenation and revelry.
Course at a Glance: