PGA Class A Professional Scott Marson imparts swing-honing advice to aspiring aces from Links at Summerly’s verdant golf course and practice facilities. The passionate pedagogue eats every meal with a modified divot tool to maintain the well-oiled swing mechanics he has mastered through 20 years of teaching. Bolster your orb-blasting skills with today’s first option, which grooms golf swings during a one-hour lesson to impart solid form and smooth out herky-jerky backswings. The package also includes a five-hole playing lesson, during which players can enlist Scott’s sage counsel through strategic quandaries, such as when to hit driver, when to play it safe with a 3-iron, and how to break a disobedient nine-iron’s rebellious spirit. With the second option, Scott augments each lesson with the use of video swing analysis, providing players with an invaluable visual aid while also documenting their progress through three, one-hour sessions.
Designed by renowned course architect David Rainville—whose resumé includes famed courses such as Indian Wells Country Club—the 18-hole California Oaks course stretches across 5,218 yards of bucolic Southern California topography. Towering trees, intervening ponds, and immense bunkers conspire to kidnap wayward balls throughout the course, and the club's immaculate fairways provide a hospitable landing zone for pinpointed drives and golf-obsessed extraterrestrials. A stream flows alongside every hole, adding a sense of continuity to rounds as golfers contend with each on-course challenge. After 18-hole expeditions, players can replenish at Oaks Bar & Grill, which, like the course itself, affords customers splendid views of the Temecula Valley, the San Jacinto mountain range, and the cloud-like spirits of drowned golf balls trying to contact 9-irons from the beyond.
Course at a Glance:
Cottonwood Golf Center's nine-hole executive course sharpens straight shots with one par 4 and eight par 3 holes. Duffer duets amble through the meandering fairways, launch dimpled orbs through 2,466 yards of emerald alleys, and defeat lesser opponents in pull-cart street races. The scenic course overlooks rugged hills and scraggly pines, thwarting off-kilter shots with a petite water hazard filled with foghorn-wielding ducks. Players can supply their own clubs, rent one of the facility's sets ($5), or thwack golf balls with the neighbor's flamingo lawn ornaments.
A 200-foot downhill tee shot opens Champions Club at the Retreat, rendering the 485-yard, par 5 first hole reachable in two strokes. Such elevational considerations color play throughout the 18-hole course, cradled as it is within the Temescal Valley's undulating canyons adjacent to the Cleveland National Forest. Bermuda grass fairways slink through the rocky outcroppings and low-lying brush, corralling foursomes onto smooth greens of bent grass. Yet despite its imposing appearance, a major renovation in 2011 tempered the course's difficulty a tad, eliminating some of the more punishing aspects of the course such as 16 bunkers.
Anchoring every round is the 25,000-square-foot clubhouse. Done up in a Tuscan theme and accessorized with trickling fountains and golden sunshine, the structure immerses visitors in creature comforts before they tee up. Players can stop for post-round drinks or fuel up for a round with pub-style eats on the grand patio, which overlooks the 9th and 18th greens.
Course at a Glance:
For more than 30 years, Southern California Golf Schools' professional golfers and teachers have been passing their club-swinging tutelage on to golfers of all ages. The director of the golf school's operations, Steve Bean, started his teaching career in the early 80s and went on to teach alongside such golf luminaries as Derek Hardy and Hank Haney, who was Tiger Woods' swing coach and shadow-puppet partner. Bean has been a golf pro for several country clubs, has worked as a custom fitter for Titleist, and has owned multiple golf schools in San Diego and Las Vegas since 2011. In 2010, he was named the teacher of the year by the Professional Golf Teachers & Coaches Association of America.