Sequestered near the scenic environs of Annadel State Park, Oakmont Golf Club's east course provides condensed club-flailing fun across a par 63, executive layout that spans 4,293 yards from the farthest tees. A grassy monolith comprised of eight par 3s and 10 par 4s—three of which measure fewer than 300 yards from the back tees—the course has spent a lifetime making up for its short length with difficult multitiered greens and the endearing social graces of its sentient flagsticks. Throughout the course, the sprawling arms of massive heritage oak trees stand like ancient ball-swatting sentries, ever ready to impede the aerial passage of wayward spheroids. A coterie of 45 strategically-placed bunkers further frustrate duffers on their path to golf nirvana, assisted by the burbling abscesses of intervening ponds and creeks, which come into play on four holes. Divot-tearing duos traverse the emerald links astride an obedient golf cart, which assists in hunting down runaway balls and rogue ball washers throughout the round.
Carefully crafted by renowned course architect Robert Trent Jones, Jr., The Links at Bodega Harbor’s 6,290-yard course brings the coastal majesty of Scotland’s famous links to the seaside hills of Northern California. Stunning elevation changes test golfers’ ability to adjust their yardages for up- and down-hill targets, while hillcrests offer picturesque views of the Pacific Ocean and dolphins using echolocation to chip in golf balls from tough lies in the ocean. Knee-high native grasses and cavernous pot bunkers threaten to ensnare errant shots, and fast, multi-tiered, bent-grass greens make golfers earn every two-putt. The 461-yard par-four 18th is rated the second-hardest hole on the course, ending the round with a dramatic flourish as golfers must launch their approach shot over a brambly ravine to reach a heavily-bunkered green stationed just steps from the sandy beachfront.
Those looking to enjoy bayside views without having to keep track of autonomous golf balls can retreat to The Bluewater Bistro & Bar. Glasses of Sonoma County wine let guests toast to the career of a sandwedge that decided to retire in the ocean as they lounge on couches next to a stone fireplace. The elegant diner serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus anchored by fresh fish and locally-sourced ingredients.
Course at a Glance:
The native beauty of Bidwell Park serves as the scenic backdrop for Bidwell Park Golf Course, a 6,363-yard layout comprised of two distinct 9-hole experiences. Characterized by parkland-style terrain, the front nine includes two of the round's more difficult tracks: the 520-yard, par-five fifth hole and the 412-yard, par-four sixth hole, both of which demand accurate drives and approach shots down narrow fairways and into greens guarded by sandtraps. The back nine ripples over Northern California foothills, creating shot opportunities where golfers will have to adjust their swings for up- or down-hill targets. Though water only comes into play on two holes, a stream runs throughout the entire course, attracting wildlife and caddies who need a place to wash the grass stains out of their coveralls.
Course at a Glance:
Mountain Valley Golf Center's demanding nine-hole golf course challenges club-wielders alongside an ample 75-tee driving range for practice. Verdant par 3 fairways range from 94 to 203 yards, allowing players to hone their short game and competitive-dashing skills across a pair of nine-hole jaunts. The first hole forces golfers to send dimpled projectiles over a horseshoe pond, leaving little room for error. Before finishing the round, duffers must conquer the imposing ninth hole, a long straightaway that rewards risky shots and sends errant projectiles swimming in the pond protecting the backside of the green.
Today’s Groupon also includes a jumbo bucket of range balls for pre- or postgame practice shots on Mountain Valley's capacious driving range, as well as a frosty beer or soda for irrigating parched palates and arid tee-growing plots. Guests can also sharpen orb-nudges on a chipping green or browse the center's pro shop for supplemental golfing gear.
Sprawling across 82 acres, Wild Wings Golf Club invites players to bring their games to a rustic course cut from the bucolic Yolo County countryside. Abutted by a peaceful neighborhood on one side and distant rolling hills on the other, the course may seem peaceful at first. However, the generous fairway landings belie unassuming challenges plucked from the mind of course architect Todd Eckenrode. Whether it’s the extraquick putting surfaces or the siren song emanating from the course’s 13 small lakes, Wild Wings’ nine holes require the perfect balance of careful strategy and devil-may-care bravado. In addition to open-play sessions, the course is home to golfing lessons taught by PGA professional Randy Thomas and frequently hosts private tournaments.