Golfing the Bay
Golfing the Bay
If you’re a golfer, there’s nothing like the excitement of playing on a course that you’ve never been on. Take that excitement to the next level whether you’re heading to Monterey County for a day at Pebble Beach or staying local and exploring the courses next door. Below are some of the comments made by frequenters of these local courses.
Located in the beautiful rolling hills of Los Gatos, La Rinconada overlooks the Santa Clara Valley from the western hills of the Santa Cruz Mountains. This 18-hole, private championship course is situated in one of the most picturesque places in California.
The course is classic in design with tree-lined fairways, small undulating greens and extensive greenside bunkering that makes this course demand a keen shot. The courses signature hole, #11, is a 150 yard Par 3 over water. The placement of tees and greens close together make this an ideal walking course. In addition to the course, the club has exceptional practice facilities. It is a private club with reciprocal club privileges.
In the rolling hills of Morgan Hill off of Hwy 101 lies the Coyote Creek Golf Club. There are two Jack Nicklaus-designed 18-hole championship courses; The Tournament and Valley.
Sculpted naturally into the Diablo Range, The Tournament Course accommodates all levels of play with 5 tee positions, generous fairways and scenic views. It is considered the more interesting of the two courses. The Valley Course is pretty straight forward and if you keep it straight, you should do well. The course is well maintained and the staff has high marks.
Los Lagos is considered one of the best bargains for a public course in San Jose. The course is very well maintained and the greens are? fast and tricky. One the strange things about this course is that Hole #1 and Hole # 8 share a huge green. There are two separate flags/holes, but it isn’t unusual to see 8 people on the green at once. The course also has a lot of par 3’s that can either work for you or against you.
Take a short drive south of San Jose and you can play on what most players consider the best course in San Jose; Cinnabar Hills Golf Course. Cinnabar Hills is a 27-hole club made up of three 9-hole championship courses; Canyon, Lake and Mountain. Combine any two for a challenging and exceptionally scenic round of golf. The course designer, John Harbottle III, protected the mature Oak trees and crafted the course around the nature slope of the terrain. There is abundant wildlife including many red tail hawks that inspired the club’s logo.
All three courses have their features and there is not a weak course in the three. The course is exceptionally well maintained and the staff professional and friendly. Happy hour at the club is said to be fun and worth going to, even if you don’t golf.
The founder of Cinnabar Hills, Lee Brandenburg, is an avid golf collector and he shares his passion by showcasing his collection at the Brandenburg Historical Golf Museum. In this collection you can view the most prestigious golf trophies and cups including The British Open-Claret Jug, The Masters Trophy, The Ryder Cup and The Wanamaker Trophy.
The course offers free Wi-Fi as an amenity if you’re a Silicon Valley workaholic who needs to carry his laptop in his bag.
The Golf Club at Boulder Ridge, located high above the Silicon Valley in San Jose, is an 18-hole championship private course. The course is very unique and appropriately named since the course meanders around large boulder outcroppings.
The course has charmingly named each hole with names like Rocks to Rocks, Valley of Hearts Delight and Bobcat Den. The wildlife is abundant and the course is very well maintained. Overall the course is highly rated and well worth the drive, even if for the views.
The fourth oldest golf club in Northern California is the San Jose Country Club. Established in 1899, the course designer was originally Scottish born Tom Nicoli. San Jose Country Club is a private club and was a founding member of the NCGA.
The course is challenging with three tees that will provide fair play for all levels. The 83rd Annual Ernie Pieper Santa Clara County Championship was held at the club in 2009.
They rent Segways…what better reason to play San Jose Muni? Better yet, they give free lessons, (actually this is good for them too…easier and cheaper than pulling a Segway out of a lake). The course is considered pretty stress free and not particularly difficult. No need for extra sleeves and a great place for beginners.
The practice facilities are good with a double-decker range that has heaters on the lower level and the buckets are reasonably priced.
Conveniently located and easily accessible by Hwy 101 and 85, Santa Teresa Golf Club is located in the rolling hills of San Jose. The club has 27 holes with one 18-hole championship course and another 9-hole course known as “Shorty”.
The par 71 Regulation course has wide tree lined fairways, fast greens and strategically placed bunkers that will present a challenge for all levels of play.
“Shorty” is considered one of the finest par-3 courses in Northern California and tee times are not required. It has water hazards on 4 holes and the greens are well bunkered.
The club can be crowded at times, but afternoons are usually fast play. The clubhouse restaurant has nice food at decent prices and the view overlooks the course from a small hill.
Quietly secluded from the rush of the valley, Silver Creek Valley Country Club is arguably the best 18-hole regulation course in the area. It was renovated in 2002 by Mike Strantz, the ‘Hottest Golf Architect in the Country’ by Golf Digest and 1998 ‘Architect of the Year’ by GolfWorld magazine.
Silver Creek Valley is considered a challenging course with tight, narrow fairways and fast greens. The course is exceptionally well maintained and the greens manicured. Water hazards come into play on at least four holes. Though a challenge for even the lowest handicappers, the course has five tee boxes that adjust play for all skill levels.
Silver Creek has a beautiful course and the clubhouse is exceptional. This is a private course so you will need to be a member guest or belong to a reciprocal club in the area.
Pleasant Hills Golf Course is a 36-hole public course in San Jose, California. The course has both a regulation 18-hole course and an 18-hole par 3 course. The par 3 course is call Cypress Greens Course and is considered a demanding course due to its tight fairways.
The Pleasant Hills Course is known for fast greens and narrow tree-lined fairways. There are plenty of water hazards on many of the well bunkered holes.
The Ranch Golf Club sits in the hill country of south San Jose. The 18-hole championship golf course is part of The Ranch on Silver Creek planned community. The course has dramatic elevation changes, rolling hills, mature oak groves, lakes, creeks and spectacular views. On the 10th tee you have views of Downtown San Jose and a distant San Francisco skyline.
The Ranch Golf Club has been nominated as one of the Best New Golf Courses in America and one of the Best Public Golf Courses for Women in 2005. With a 150 from the back tees, the course boasts one of the highest slope ratings in California.
The signature hole is #15 with its tiered green that has a bunker splitting the tiers.
Considered a tough course by all but the lowest handicappers; accuracy is much more important than distance. This is one of those courses that improvement comes with familiarity.
The Villages Golf & Country Club is an 18-hole private course that is part of a senior community in San Jose. Located on the slopes of the rolling foothills of the Evergreen district in southeastern San Jose, the club has a nine hole par-3 course in addition to the 18-hole championship course. The course is exceptionally well maintained and the staff attentive and friendly.
Almaden Golf & Country Club is a 19-hole regulation private course in San Jose, California. The course has good reviews for its layout and well kept condition. The course is challenging as well as beautiful and has hosted LPGA and Nike Tour Tournaments. Almaden is a private course, but you may get a chance to play on Wednesday, (guest day), if you know a member.