Golfland debuted its first putt-putt green in 1953 and has since expanded to seven locations across California and Arizona. Each location features one to three 18-hole courses, replete with colorful castles, windmills, and fountains. After navigating the obstacle-filled fairways, guests can try their hands at an array of arcade games, whether felling foes in fighting games, stocking up on tickets to win prizes, or following the spellbinding plotline of a pinball game. At the San Jose location, visitors can cool off in the warmer months with a trip down parallel outdoor waterslides.
Blackbeard's Family Entertainment transports visitors to magical and faraway places. One mini-golf landscape mimics the Wild West with realistic hotel and saloon storefronts, whereas another simulates pirate life, and a third brings storybooks to life with castles, moats, and sand traps filled with porridge.
It's easy to believe you're actually on a roller coaster as you sit in the virtual Cyber Coaster or that you're in a 1980s European discotheque while you sneak through the smoky, music-filled twists and turns of the XTreme laser-tag arena. To take a mock tropical vacation, head for the water slides or an adventure course that resembles a jungle rope bridge. Cap'n Kids' Rideland whisks away youngsters to a realm where gravity is irrelevant, and the go-kart tracks blur adults' everyday stresses into a whirlwind of speed.
At Boomers! Livermore, thrill-seeking families and fun-enabling friends can attack any of five available attractions. Recreationists can wile away the hours at the helm of purring go-karts, scaled-down kiddie go-karts, and bumper boats or explore the vehicle-free joys housed inside the laser-tag arena, game room, and the game room's prize-redemption center. Unlimited-pass holders can also putt the golf course, which like all the best horses, marshmallows, and spy equipment, is miniature.
Home to household names like Pebble Beach and Spyglass Hill, the Monterey Bay area can rightfully claim a place among the world’s top golf regions. The 36-hole complex at Bayonet & Black Horse Golf Course hosted the 2012 PGA Professional National Championship and bolsters the coastal locale’s reputation for world-class links, boasting both a rich historic legacy—Jack Nicklaus, Johnny Miller, and Tom Watson have all graced the Bayonet course—and a recent redesign from famed course architect Gene Bates, which earned both courses a spot on Golf Digest’s Top 10 Course Remodels of 2009.
The older of the two courses, Bayonet Golf Course was originally sculpted through the cypress trees of the since-closed Fort Ord Military Base in 1954 by the Army's Commanding Officer General Robert McClure. Measuring in at 7,104 yards from the tips, the course still captures McClure’s original vision, with a classic, tree-lined layout and several dog-leg lefts the General cunningly installed to favor his left-handed fade off the tee. Gene Bates’ recent design contributions are apparent in the layout’s clusters of creative bunkering, reshaped greens, and areas where trees have been cleared to allow for greater views of the Monterey Peninsula.
Bates also made sweeping alterations to Black Horse Golf Course, changing the layout from its tree-lined, 1964 design into a more open counterpart to Bayonet’s cypress-, pine-, and oak-ensconced fairways. In addition, Bates carpeted the entire 7,024-yard course with new, smooth-rolling bent grass, while revamping the irrigation to provide for more meticulous playing conditions. The remodeling efforts afford many sweeping views that populate the course, but especially the one golfers’ encounter on the newly-added, 224-yard, par three 15th hole, where an elevated tee looks out onto a horizon dominated by the Pacific Ocean.
The Monterey Peninsula produces first-rate golf courses the same way New York City breeds artists and musicians, and Rancho Canada Golf Club is no exception. The club is a 36-hole showcase of rolling fairways and greens intersected by the murmuring ripples of the Carmel River. The waterway's origin is obvious as the course unfolds: the entire complex nestles under the green peaks of the Saint Lucia Mountain in the distance.
The longer of the two layouts, the West Course skips over the Carmel River three times, shifting between broad fairways and narrow ones lined with cottonwoods, sycamores, and drivers that were planted in the ground in hope that they would blossom there. The East Course comes into contact with the river on five occasions, and culminates with a finishing hole replete with scenic views of the mountain range. A natural-grass driving range and greens for putting and chipping faciliate pre- or post-round practice. Players can also demo the latest clubs or groom their game in private lessons or group golf clinics.
East Course at a Glance: * 18-hole, par 71 course * Length of 6,125 yards from the tips * Course rating of 69.5 from the tips * Slope rating of 122 from the tips * Three tee options
West Course at a Glance: * 18-hole, par 71 course * Length of 6,357 yards from the tips * Course rating of 70.6 from the tips * Slope rating of 124 from the tips * Three tee options
Cleaved through the tall pines of the Del Monte Forest, Poppy Hills Golf Course's 18-hole layout blankets the scenic terrain of the Monterey Peninsula with a 6,857 trail of meticulously manicured fairways and greens. Designed by renowned course architect Robert Trent Jones II, Poppy Hills has hosted many high-profile golf events, including co-hosting the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am from 1991 to 2009, a 19-year span during which Bill Murray never left.
Named one of California's Top 10 Courses You Can Play, Poppy Hills gives casual golfers a chance to test their mettle on a world-class course—the 426-yard fifth hole was rated the most difficult par four in PGA Tour play in 2006—with four tee options that make it surmountable for golfers of all stripes. Though its known for its woodland scenery and large, undulating greens, the par 72 course also features water hazards that come into play on two holes, gobbling up golf balls and serving as a convenient vacation spot for fish trying to spend a weekend away from the Pacific.
Course at a Glance:
18-hole, par 72 course designed by Robert Trent Jones II
Length of 6,857 yards from the farthest tees
Course rating of 74.3 from the farthest tees
Slope rating of 144 from the farthest tees
Four tee options