Within his outdoor classroom at Fremont Park Golf Club, PGA professional David Suh designs unique plans to help each of his students improve their golf games. He does this by taking into account their approach to learning as well as their goals and physical limitations. Using this information, he can tweak their swing mechanics, adjust their preswing setup, or advise them against preshot routines that include 100 knocks on a fairway wood. In addition to stressing the importance of practice, persistence, and patience, David also encourages players to focus on the short-game fundamentals of putting, chipping, and bunker play.
• 18 holes of golf for two (up to a $39 value/person) • A cart rental (a $15 value/person) • Two small buckets of driving-range balls (a $5 value each) • Lunch for two, which includes a sandwich or hot dog, a side order, and a fountain drink at the Skywest Bar & Grill (up to a $12.49 value/person)
The TPC Stonebrae Championship, East Bay’s only PGA Tour–sanctioned event, convinces a friendly group of club-wielding pros to turn on each other during a fierce golfing competition held on a par 70 course designed by David McLay Kidd. Beginning on a cheerful note, the course's first hole greets golfers with picturesque views of the bay and caroling caddies, before players thwack their dimpled orbs into the beautiful yet deceiving emerald expanse. Notable contestants, such as former world top-10 golfer Steve Elkington and legendary San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Jerry Rice, will then have to overcome a bombardment of breezes, hilly terrain scrambling depth perception, and moms yelling to come inside for supper. Children younger than 18 accompanied by a ticket-holding adult will be admitted free of charge.
Set amid a stretch of hilly terrain, Canyon Lakes Golf Course's 18-hole course offers a player-friendly layout with scenic views of Mount Diablo and the San Ramon Valley. Throughout the course, towering pine trees and treacherous sand traps constrict the fairways, eager to ensnare errant golf balls or 7-iron medal detectors looking for buried treasure. When not taking on the challenges of the undulating course, golfers can head to Canyon Lakes' adobe-style clubhouse, which serves lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. every day and breakfast from 6:45 a.m. to noon on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.
Named as a favorite golf range in 2009 by Golf Digest, Mariners Point offers 64 well-manicured practice stalls, including natural grass and a challenging 9-hole, par 3 course. The double-decker driving range features on-site professionals, high-quality range balls, and power tees that automatically tee up the ball. Use the range card to purchase driving ammunition in small ($7 for 60 balls), medium ($11 for 105 balls), or large ($13 for 165 balls) baskets. Golfers receive 10 additional balls for visiting the range before 11 a.m. on weekdays. Clearly defined target greens and easy-to-read yardage markers make for far easier practice than aiming for the blowholes of passing belugas. When it’s game time, players can hit the course for a round of golf. Drivers, putters, and severely confused baseball players are treated to breathtaking San Francisco Bay views from each of the nine greens.
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: * 9-hole, par 27 course * Total length of 1,156 yards from the back tees * Course rating of 54.2 from the back tees * Course slope of 88 from the back tees * Two sets of tees per hole