Pruneridge Golf Club’s nine-hole par 30 course features few obstacles and just two holes longer than 300 yards so that golfers can concentrate on making solid contact with the ball and enjoying their round instead of worrying about extreme distance or hazards such as “Sink Holes Probable” signs. Meanwhile, range balls spray from both levels of a two-tier driving range with 44 stalls, and Class A PGA professionals dole out advice throughout indoor and outdoor lessons. During these sessions, Visual Golf stop motion video technology helps golfers see their own bad habits and instructors make recommendations on how students could improve.
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.
Designed by Clark Glasson and built in 1961, Deep Cliff's 18 hole, par 60, executive course is nestled in the Cupertino foothills. A short course of 3,358 yards, Deep Cliff is recommended by many course reviewers as a good starting point for beginners.
An acclaimed public golf course voted by Golf Digest's readers among the top 45 in the country in 2009, Cinnabar Hills contains vast expanses of well-tended turf and is unmarred by any nearby houses or fire stations. Three challenging nine-hole courses designed by John Harbottle III present vistas so green you'll need to adjust the white balance on your eyes. The rolling hills will make you feel like you're hitting your ball through a hobbit subdivision, while the majestic oaks lining the fairways play home to the club's signature red-tail hawks. As you shank and slice your way through the course's natural slopes and diabolical hazards, be sure to steer your rental cart off-course to the Brandenburg Historical Golf Museum, which hoards precious PGA championship trophies, an original copy of Humphrey Bogart's Dark Laws of Golf, and Arnold Palmer encased in carbonite. Golfers must reserve their tee time at least five days in advance. Cinnabar Hills Golf Club's rates fluctuate depending on the day of the week and the time.
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.
Emerald Hills Golf Course strings together nine par 3 holes that test short-game proficiency as players use shorter irons to propel their golf balls through course's frequent elevation changes. The sixth hole presents opportunities for holes-in-one with a downhill tee shot of just 120 yards into a bowl-shaped green, easily replicated from a backyard deck into an inflatable swimming pool.
Golfers hoping to shave strokes off their scores can work under the tutelage of the course's certified teaching professional, Chris Raddie. Players can then practice Chris's corrective advice after a lesson or before a round on the two practice greens or midsize practice cage, which can double as a penalty box for prevaricating scorekeepers.
Course at a Glance: