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:
Clint Robinson's U.S. Air Force duty took him around the world, but it was his time in South Korea that made the biggest mark. There, he learned the art of tae kwon do—and the positive fitness and values associated with it. When he returned to the states and left the Air Force, it didn't take long for him to found his own martial-arts school. More than 40 years and 19 locations later, Robinson's Taekwondo continues to thrive on the same principles on which Clint founded his business: excellence, personal attention, and tradition. He now counts children's, adult, and family programs as part of his curriculum. With continued training, students of all ages not only hone their fitness, but also improve their mental sharpness, self-confidence, and discipline.
The next time you're on the roof of a five-story building, look down at the ground, and you'll get a rough idea of just how high people climb at Touchstone Climbing. The gym's seven locations feature lead walls that rise as high as 50 feet off the ground, though height isn't the only dimension that makes the space feel immense. Each spot has at least 11,000 square feet of climbing terrain, not to mention as much as 3,000 square feet of bouldering.
To prevent newcomers from feeling intimidated by the magnitude of the environment, the gym holds introductory classes. During these sessions, participants learn the basic techniques they'll need if they want to conquer the gym's crack systems and boulder problems. The classes are also an opportunity for students to scope out the terrain features at each location, such as Diablo Rock Gym's steep prow, which juts out crookedly like a thumbs up from a dizzy ballerina. While they're at it, the visitors might notice something else: the social nature of the gym. As the San Francisco Chronicle recounts, the fact that lead climbs require two people means that climbers are constantly asking around for new partners and chatting back and forth as they ascend.
Each location also boasts a weight room, cardio machines, and a studio space for everything from yoga to spinning to core classes.
Mike Johnson started at Dolphin Scuba Center & Swim School as an entry-level staffer but soon turned his lifelong passion for water into a promising career. Quickly, he became the manager and, at the tender age of 21, the owner of the store—a water-exploration supplier originally founded as a swim school almost 40 years ago.
Today, the PADI five-star facility boasts one of the largest selections of underwater gear in North America, including top brands of scuba, swimming, and snorkeling equipment. Johnson and his team still offer private, one-on-one swimming lessons with certified lifeguard instructors but have branched out into scuba classes. Introductory courses work their way up to professional-level training, all within a pool heated to 92 degrees—the exact temperature of the president’s nightly bath. Students can even test out their newfound skills during scuba-diving trips to the likes of Mexico, the Philippines, and Fiji.
Walking into the weight room at The Capital Athletic Club, visitors may think they’ve stepped into a European cathedral. Vaulted wood ceilings soar above resistance machines and free weights, immersing exercisers in a light, airy atmosphere and allowing trainers to participate in the annual Bring Your Giraffe to Work day. Dozens of classes cater to group fitness in four wood-floored studios and a heated, outdoor pool ensures comfortable laps regardless of outside temperature. Enthusiastic, highly qualified personal trainers collaborate with members, helping craft new programs for beginners or enlivening veterans' tired routines.
The club's amenities mirror its luxurious appointments, with each full member receiving a permanent locker for stashing clothes and parking meters you tore out of the ground with your bare hands. The staff launders workout clothes overnight, freeing up members’ time for relaxing in the expansive saunas and steam rooms. WiFi facilitates impromptu business meetings and spa services offer relaxing treatments.
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.
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 & 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.