The path to a dependable golf swing starts at Natomas Golf Center, a full-service practice facility where golfers can fine-tune their game until midnight every day of the week. A fully-lit driving range with both mats and grass hitting areas fosters straighter drives, and covered hitting bays keep players safe from inclement weather or screaming eagles convinced that golf balls are their eggs. Golfers can also practice their touch with the putter on an 18-hole putting course and a practice green, or work on their feel around the pin at a chipping area with a practice bunker. To enhance their practice sessions, golfers can enlist an on-site instructor for a private lesson.
In 1947, John B. “Bing” Maloney saw that the city of Sacramento had a golfing problem, and that he, as the superintendent of the city's recreation department, could fix it. The problem lay not with men shirking their familial responsibilities to squeeze in a round, nor with pastors cutting their sermons short in order to join their congregations on the range. Rather, the city's “principal problem,” as he called it, stemmed from the fact that the only existing course was a measly, overcrowded 9-hole layout—a disservice to the golfers of the community, who wanted a bona fide 18-hole loop. He took the matter up with city officials, presenting such a watertight case that they unanimously voted to not only build a new course, but name it after him. Thanks to Mr. Maloney's political strategizing and the design input of M.J. McDonaugh, former associate of the legendary course architect Alister MacKenzie, Bing Maloney Golf Course opened in 1952.
Today, the 125-acre site welcomes golfers with wide fairways lined with stately oak trees and the placid ambiance of mid-century golf-course design. Golfers encounter water just once, on the third tee box, where they must make a choice between flying the pond to reach the green 140 yards away or inventing a golf-ball-sized rocket pack. After a round, players can address newfound kinks in their game at the lighted practice area, which includes a putting green and a 40-station driving range with real grass tee boxes.
Championship Course at a Glance:
The waters of Covell Creek, several ponds, and patches of tall, native grasses shape the 18-hole course at Wildhorse Golf Club—a 6,828-yard track sculpted by award winning golf course architect Jeff Brauer. The natural hazards may not be hospitable to errant golf balls, but they do sustain a thriving population of geese, swans, owls, and a cattail or two that can be used as a pitching wedge. The course features several challenging holes, including a memorable finisher. At 465 yards from the tips, the 18th hole—a par four for men and a par five for ladies—will have even long hitters struggling to reach the green in regulation. To prep swings and putting strokes, golfers can warm up at a 30,000 square-foot chipping and putting green or graze on calorie-rich grass at the 18-stall driving range.
Course at a Glance:
Since 1958, players have migrated to Cordova Golf Course in order to try their hands, woods, and putters at the public course's 18 holes and to calibrate their swings at the driving range or with lessons. PGA professional Jacob Marta tailors swing instruction to an individual's needs and physical limitations, helping golfers attain their own natural, repeatable swing motion. Creating a comfortable, encouraging atmosphere, Jacob also takes his instruction onto the course, where he helps players knock strokes off their scorecards.
Spanning about 4,832 yards, the course challenges golfers of all skill levels with well placed trees and three lakes boasting the combined gravitational pull of a small planet. A smooth cart path allows players to ferry their clubs swiftly from hole to hole, or head over to the clubhouse to catch a drink or meal at Stu's Bar & Grill. Cordova Golf Course also houses an illuminated driving range where golfers can launch Srixon range balls or calcified tangerines off of grass and mat hitting areas.
In five decades as a golf-course architect, the late Robert Muir Graves put his stamp on more than 800 golf courses worldwide. His artistry is on full display at Cherry Island Golf Course, where he sculpted shapely fairways and greens into the scenic wetlands of Elverta. Throughout the course, Graves balanced holes pocked with streams and ponds with more straight-away tracks, where the only threat of water comes from the clouds and the open mouths of pelicans flying overhead. The course's hardest-rated hole, the par-4 seventh, is a titan of a hole. Though it only measures 391 yards from the tips, a pond runs from the right side of the fairway to the front of the green, imperiling golf balls on both tee shots and approaches.
Before testing their mettle on the links, golfers can get their timing down at a driving range with grass and artificial tees. The practice facility also encompasses two putting greens where golfers can get a feel for the speed of the putting surfaces without having to drive their cart onto the first green.
Course at a Glance: * Designed by Robert Muir Graves * 18-hole, par 72 course * Length of 6,494 yards from the tips * Course rating of 71.0 from the tips * Slope rating of 120 from the tips * Four tee options
Antelope Greens Golf Course challenges experienced and novice players alike as its par-58 executive course draws them through up to 3,250 yards of landmarks, from an island green to a 70-yard downhill hole girded by bunkers and a creek. Rented golf carts zip through the sinuous landscape, dropping off golfers by their desired tees and taunting hitchhiking caddies. A course map offers an aerial view of the 18 holes, their landscape of watery obstacles, and an all-grass driving range where Groupon customers can exchange two tokens for 80 golf balls or a tarot reading.