Looking for the weekend getaway? Want to take a trip close to home, bur far enough away to relax and have some fun? Northern California features a lot of wonderful options where you can enjoy a resort and get in some great golf while you are there.
The following list of golf resort options features places that give the golfer a variety of options, whether it’s the romantic weekend, so the weekend buddy trip! There’s something for everyone here, so enjoy and make sure to book a trip to one of these wonderful destinations!
Pebble Beach Resorts (www.pebblebeach.com): Well, there’s not much more to say about the property, lodging, dining or golf as they pretty much speak for themselves. My favorite for the lodging has always been Spanish Bay as it’s removed just enough from the daily crowds at Pebble that there is a more relaxed feeling. Therefore, you will see a fair share of the professionals stay here during the AT&T. The Fairway One lodging property opened within the last year and as the name implies, is located along the first fairway at Pebble. My recommendation is to tackle at least two of the courses with each visit. The last time I played in the area at Spyglass, I had the joy of joining a pair of gentlemen from Southern California that were playing the course for the second time that day and then taking on Pebble the next day.
Saddle Creek (www.saddlecreek.com): Love this place! About two hours east of the Bay Area up in Gold Country, Saddle Creek offers wonderful lodging in their villas, as well as world class golf. Wake up in the morning and your golf cart is waiting for you outside of your villa. The dining is first rate as well as the Copper Grille, making so guests never need leave the property once they arrive. Above the fog line in the winter, Saddle Creek is great for year-round golf and fun. The practice facility is excellent as well, allowing for fine tuning the game before or after the round. Head into the nearby Copperopolis Town Square for more dining/drinking/shopping experiences.
Half Moon Bay/Ritz Carlton (www.halfmoonbaygolf.com, www.ritzcarlton.com): The lodging is off the charts with luxury, a trademark of the Ritz Carlton. If you can, get a room on the first floor with your own fireplace. Sit outside and have a beverage or two and watch the sun set. The golf matches the property. There are two options, the Old Course and the Ocean Course. Most people will play the Ocean as it has views of the Pacific Ocean throughout the round, but the Old Course is a stunning, immaculate round of golf. The irony of the courses is the most photographed hole – the one that runs down to the Ritz and runs along side the cliffs overlooking the ocean – is No. 18 on the Old Course.
Yocha Dehe/Cache Creek (www.yochadehegolfclub, www.cachecreek.com): A great trip for the couple or for the buddies, as its tough beat playing golf on an awesome course, followed by some gaming in the casino. I love the course, from the driving range to the stunning first tee that features a 10-story drop to the fairway. It’s a fair course with open landing areas, if you play the proper tee box. The Cache Creek hotel is first-rate and is getting a much-needed expansion with over 400 rooms being added. The gambling facilities are top-notch as are the dining options. There is a solid list of entertainment regularly coming through Cache Creek as well.
Greenhorn Creek (www.greenhorncreek.com): Got a group of guys you want to take a buddy trip of golf for a couple days? Then look no further than Greenhorn Creek and its Caddy Shack lodging property. Accommodating up to 12 people, the 5-bedroom house is the former maintenance facility that was transformed into, well, a party house. There is a big kitchen, BBQ and yard with horse shoes. Located right off the 9th fairway, the Caddy Shack is the definitive buddy trip location. The course is awesome as well and much the same as Saddle Creek, it’s above the fog line, allowing for year-round play. There is also Camps restaurant, a cool bar and a wine tasting lounge all within walking distance from the Caddy Shack.
CordeValle (www.rosewoodhotels.com): Located in the foothills around the Morgan Hill area, this hidden retreat is a gem. The golf is spectacular, the lodging sensational and the dining sumptuous. Upon arrival you are shuttled to your room, all of which are up on the hillside overlooking the sprawling golf course. Sitting out on your patio is a relaxing experience, often enhanced by a bottle of wine from the nearby Clos LaChance winery. In fact, there is a free shuttle from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day from the resort to the winery and back. The golf course was previously the home to the PGA Tour’s Frys.com Open and hosted the 2016 U.S. Women’s Open. There are fun holes throughout, all scenic, as well as offering many different challenges.
Silverado Resort and Spa (www.silveradoresort.com): It wasn’t that long ago when I would have had a hard time recommending staying on the property as it was in serious need of upgrading. Then Johnny Miller and his partners bought Silverado and turned it around. It’s gone from having a must-play course, to having a first-rate lodging and golf complex in the Napa Valley. There are 36 holes of golf, with the North Course the home of the PGA Tour’s Safeway Open. The South Course is a nice compliment to the North. With the renovations you have great lodging, golf, food and wine all right there. Oh, and by the way, there are just a few world-class wineries within a close distance to the resort!
Quail Lodge (www.quaillodge.com): Located in the Carmel Valley, Quail Lodge and Golf Club offers a different type of getaway from the coastal Carmel/Monterey vacations. Located inland, the weather is warmer, but the views, while different, are every bit as enjoyable. The golf course is a historic one in the area, originally opened in 1964, and was renovated in 2015. I had the pleasure of playing a round one of my times on the course with the late Lawson Little III, the son of Lawson Little Jr., the winner of the 1940 U.S. Open. Little III was instrumental in the development of Quail Lodge. Every time I step foot on the course, the memories of playing a round with Little III will always be with me. An additional golf touch to the Lodge is the 9-hole putting course that winds through the lodging property. It allows for a casual golf experience, often between golfers toting a bottle – or two – of tasty Carmel Valley wines.
The Dragon/Nakoma Lodge (www.nakomaresort.com): Located in the Graeagle area the property was known for year as the home to The Dragon, one of the toughest courses anywhere. The original motto was “Send Me Your Heroes,” and initially many took on the beast. The problem? The course was so tough, few wanted to make the drive to get their rear ends handed to them a second time. In recent years the course was re-engineered, taking some of the bite out of it and making for a more pleasure able golf experience. Then in the last couple of years when the 42-room Lodge at Nakoma opened it became a destination worthy property. Before we stayed in either Truckee or Reno and made the drive out to the Dragon, but now you can stay right there. There are other great courses in the area as well as several great dining options. It’s a bit of drive to get there, but one well worth making. Enjoy the putting and chipping green at the Lodge to settle your bets!
Whitehawk Ranch/The Lodge at Whitehawk (www.golfwhitehawk.com, www.lodgeatwhitehawk.com): Another wonderful destination in Graeagle, the course and the lodge go hand in hand to provide the perfect golf giveaway. The course is another wonderful mountain track that is fair and challenging at the same time. It was the last course I played in the area and once on the course I wondered what took me so long. The Lodge is comprised of 14 cabins, making another great buddy-trip destination. There is a dining option available Wednesday-Sunday from mid-May to mid-October.
By Dennis Miller