Sports in Watsonville

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Since his first run-in with Brazilian jujitsu at age 7, Claudio França has been busy. Now a fifth-degree black belt, he's spent more than 30 years mentoring MMA competitors, winning multiple championships, and hosting the annual U.S. Open Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Tournament in Santa Cruz. He also teaches classes at three eponymous dojos with the help of fellow black belts. Training sessions teach groups how to execute BJJ's signature ground-fighting techniques and instill in individuals the keys to becoming a part of the martial-arts community.

Claudio's classes mix advanced students with total beginners, enabling the new arrivals to learn from more than one person, while regulars hone their coaching chops. The environment is family friendly, as well: there are programs for kids as young as 4, youth classes, and both women-only and co-ed adult lessons.

1933 Main Street
Watsonville,
CA
US

Tucked into the tranquil foothills of Mount Madonna, BellaMar Training Stables and Riding School educates students of all abilities either inside one of two arenas or on the airy stretches of the facility's many trails. Head instructor Elizabeth guides riders through every level of equitation and instructs more advanced students on the styles of dressage and eventing.

New riders begin with private lessons, during which they learn such skills as correct position, grooming, and cleaning tack. Private lessons also maintain an overarching focus on good sportsmanship, emphasizing both respect as well as the importance of never spiking a helmet after a flawless trot. As riders improve, they can then move on to semiprivate or group lessons.

295 Webb Rd
Watsonville,
CA
US

In 1959, Bob and Jean Sanford and their four children could be found tending to livestock and avocado trees on the site that Casserly Golf Course now rests. But six years later, the family took the ranch into a different direction, and Bob and his three sons laid an irrigation system and began to sculpt the earth into a 9-hole, par-three golf course, which they opened in 1966. Today, Bob and Jean's son Rod runs the course, which offers two distinct sets of tees so golfers can play an 18-hole round without having to erase their memory in-between nines. The original barn still stands as a relic of the course's half-century history.

626 Casserly Rd
Watsonville,
CA
US

Pristine fairways gently rise and fall across 6,664 yards of undulating terrain at Pajaro Valley Golf Club's 18-hole course. Located a mere Goliath's drive from the Pacific Ocean, golfers can smell the crisp sea air and hear the hushed whispers of heist-planning pelicans throughout the picturesque par 72, once the verdant kingdom of 1930s golf legend Olin Dutra. The club’s E-Z-Go golf carts ferry about the arsenal of woods and irons needed to triumph over the transition from shorter par 3s and 4s to the lengthy fairways at the 1st, 4th, 15th, and 17th holes, all par 5.

After looping the horticultural haven, golfers can retreat to the club's full-service restaurant, where frothy beers and hamburgers refuel weary bodies and famished 9-irons. Spiky-shoed journeymen can place their order ahead of time at the 9th or 18th tees, ensuring their meal will be ready for them at the turn or shortly after the round.

967 Salinas Rd
Royal Oaks,
CA
US