Staffed by experienced professionals and computers who’ve sworn allegiance to the Three Laws of Golfing Robotics, GolfTec’s syndicate of golf training centers grooms games with a five-pronged approach enhanced by technological refinements. Score-shaving wisdom resonates within the walls of the indoor facilities, where certified personal coaches point out flaws and strengths while providing golfers with tips to permanently improve their game from tee to green. By utilizing video swing analysis and motion-measurement software, instructors can assess pupils’ abilities with objective data and a fact-based tact superior to traditional hearsay-oriented coaching strategies. To further enhance performance, GolfTec offers club-fitting services to match each swing profile with its ideal set of sticks.
Before Manifest Destiny and the Gold Rush took hold, the land now occupied by Whitney Oaks Golf Club was home to the native Maidu culture's Nisenan. In 1857, George Whitney established Whitney Ranch after purchasing 320 acres of grazing land for his sheep. Exactly 140 years later?once all of Mr. Whitney's sheep had graduated college?Whitney's old ranch officially became Whitney Oaks Golf Club.
Owned and operated by the United Auburn Indian community, the club envelops rounds with thousands of majestic oaks and an abundance of well-placed bunkers. Large granite outcroppings make for tricky shots on certain holes, and the wetland-rich topography adds to the unpredictability of the layout. Prior to stepping foot on the course, golfers can also squeeze in some practice thanks to a 15-station driving range, putting green, and pitching area.
Course at a Glance * 18-hole, par 71 course * Total of 6,794 from the back tees * Five tees per hole * Slope of 140 * Rating of 74.0 * Scorecard
The duo of 18-hole courses, Woodcreek Golf Club and Diamond Oaks Golf Course lie side by side, making it easy for guests to sneak in a double-header. The former, a par-72 track, unravels amongst mature oak trees and native wetlands, while the latter, a Ted Robinson-designed classic open since 1953, accommodates the skill spectrum with three sets of tees and straight fairways. Guests can fine-tune their games on the night-lit driving range and chipping green, or head to the pro shop to stock up on the latest golf gear, including drivers, designer shirts, and blow horns for waking up napping caddies.
Designed to incorporate sparsely populated groves of trees, Foothill Golf Course’s nine-hole, par-3 layout tests golfers' short to mid iron skills across 1,096 yards of holes that range from 100 to 155 yards. On certain nights, the course invites guests to tee up phosphorescent golf balls and pummel them into the darkness during rounds of glow golf. An indoor sitting room and an outdoor area lined with picnic tables await golfers after rounds, where they can enjoy beverages from the pro shop and speculate about which water hazard has eaten the most golf balls.
Course at a Glance:
9-hole, par-27 course
Length of 1,096 yards
Course rating of 27.0
Slope rating of 90
Copses of serene pines, oaks, and redwoods cluster along no fewer than 36 rye-grass fairways at Lincoln Hills Golf Club. Even after creating its first 18-hole Hills course, designed by professional golfer Billy Casper and famed course architect Greg Nash, the club decided it wanted another. Its ambition created a second par 72 layout—the Orchard course—giving golfers a choice between two courses where large greens nestle amid rolling hills and naturally occurring wetlands.
The older Hills course unfurls over 6,876 yards. Its second hole demands a tee shot over a lake and onto a tight fairway before players even begin to aim at a green guarded by a bunker on the left. The newer Orchard course also makes golfers sweat at the second fairway, its hardest, which earns a par 5 by coming in at 598 yards and offering a plethora of sand bunkers as well as a 75-foot slope from the tee box to the green.
Instead of smashing cell phones to make rudimentary compasses, golfers navigate the course in GPS-equipped golf carts. The club also entices players with an 8-acre driving range, a practice area for putting and chipping, and individual or group lessons with professionals Steven Treadway and Patty Snyder—a former LPGA Tour player.
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: * Designed by Robert Muir Graves * 18-hole, par 72 course * Length of 6,494 yards from the tips * Course rating of 71.0 from the tips * Slope rating of 120 from the tips * Four tee options