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.
A piece of wood hangs outside Linc Raahauge's pro shop, its rugged surface featuring a painted bird and an inscription stating "Pheasant hunting at its finest." It's a business sign, but it could just as easily be a family crest. The hunting club's namesake went into the pheasant-hunting business more than a half century ago, and the same grounds—2,400 acres of Northern California's countryside—now belong to Linc's son, Terry.
Mr. Raahauge chose an ideal setting. Rolling fields stretch in each direction, with not much else around save the occasional building, winding road, or shooting station. Here, pheasants and chukar partridges fly across the blue skies, as hunters below raise their shotguns under the gaze of expert instructors. For a bit of help, the family trains labradors to be fun and useful additions to hunting parties. Nearby, sporting clay stations launch rounds of 25 clay targets from trap houses, helping guests practice their hand-eye coordination.
Players scramble on wide-open, plain-like swaths of grass at Wild Adventure Paintball. This even terrain would make it easy to spot opponents, except that the sightlines on these four playing fields are interrupted by obstacles. The spoolfield is dotted with giant wire spools and bales of hay, for instance, while the lego field features large building blocks to duck behind or construct a life-size replica of the Starship Enterprise. Between games, you can purchase drinks and snacks to enjoy in the picnic area.
There's something timeless about a classic county fair. There are the attractions such as antique cars and horse carriages, rodeos and livestock exhibitions. And, of course, there are the carnival rides. Midway of Fun makes sure that county fairs all over California stay stocked with the kind of flashing, whirling, fun that families have enjoyed for generations. A safety-focused team of pros sets up rides that range from sweet (the Berry Go Round and the Dragon Wagon) to nail-biting (the Viper and the Ranger). Fairgoers can also compete to win a stuffed toy or a term as mayor of next year's fair at games such as break-a-bottle and baseball toss.
Sugar Ditch Stables welcomes horseback riders onto its family friendly atmosphere. Riders young and old and of any experience level can look to the stable's instructors for help developing their command in the saddle and establishing the basics of good horsemanship.
After she was born, Alana Henley basically rode a horse out of the hospital. Hyperbole aside, Alana did, in fact, begin riding at the age of 2. She also began competing at the age of 6, and did so for years with great success. Eventually, though, Alana realized she had another talent: dealing with problem horses.
In 2006, she formally opened SunFire Equestrian Training at Fresh Start Stables in Davis. That same year, she crossed paths with a rebellious young thoroughbred named Derby. Not only did Alana transform Derby’s behavior and instill in him the importance of flossing, the two triumphantly completed events across the West Coast. Today, Alana remains a teacher—both to challenging young horses and to students learning how to ride. She pulls double duty at SunFire’s new facility, a sprawling, 40-acre estate in Woodland.