Manteca Park enjoying new operators!

Jeff DeBenedetti and his wife Geanna have done a wonderful job at Las Positas in Livermore, making the course one of the best value plays in the East Bay. As the operators of the Livermore course, they have combined a good quality course and good prices, appealing to the masses, rather than the high-end, daily use players.

Now the duo is taking on another municipal course – Manteca Park.

“We’re excited,” said DeBenedetti of the challenge after taking over on August 1. “It’s an old-school course – it’s a great course to walk and enjoy the day.”

They have been aggressive from the start, already replacing the golf carts, driving range mats and the range balls. They have also redesigned the course, making it more user friendly.

“You are now playing the outside holes as the front 9 and the inside holes as the back 9,” explained DeBenedetti. “Everyone that has played it, likes it. It helps with the flow and the pace of play.”

Slow play was something plaguing the course. Long rounds had become the norm and during the weekends, can be a major deterrent to playing any course. Word of mouth had gotten out about the snail’s pace rounds.

That had to be changed.

“Since we have come in, we have made it a purpose to speed up the rounds,” said DeBenedetti. “We want to get rid of that stigma of Manteca Park being a slow course.”

Between the re-routing of the course, along with having two marshals always on duty, has already made it a faster playing course.

From the back tees, the course plays 6,418 yards and plays to a par 72. In the day where courses are stretching out to 7,000-plus yards, it’s welcoming to play older courses.

But, don’t let the distance lull you into a false sense of security. Typical of many old-school courses, Manteca Park is somewhat narrow and can be tight in places, meaning accuracy off the tee is at a premium.

It doesn’t take long to get a good feel for the course. Following a welcoming par 5 on the first hole, you get tested on No. 2. At 422 yards and a narrow landing area of roughly 30 yards, the hole demands two good shots to reach the green.

The 18th hole is a signature-type hole, playing 510 yards and is a par 5. The hole is reachable, but there is water short left and as is always the case, it’s visually intimidating.

The course is very affordable, with weekend rates at $44 to ride and only $29 to walk the pleasant course. During the week, rates drop to $22 to walk and $37 to ride.

The clubhouse is a beautiful, two-story building that certainly adds to the ambiance of the experience.

DeBenedetti pointed out the course draws from cities like Stockton, Tracy, Lodi, Ripon and Modesto. The way things are headed at Manteca Park, count on that radius expanding.

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By Dennis Miller