Golf in Northern California is in great shape, with excellent players, delightful courses and outstanding teachers. I don’t mean to infer that business is robust&emdash;not this year. The slowdown of the regional economy and the challenges of learning a complex and typically lengthy game amid growing time constraints are impacting the economics of this magical and maddening sport. Beyond that, however, wonderful things truly are happening in regional golf. As you read through this 13th annual edition of the Northern California Golf Guide, you’ll see this is true.
Consider the region’s outstanding young talent, for example. Some extraordinary golfers are coming into their own, competing at high levels and sporting golf indexes in the pluses. Vince Mastracco’s feature on page 182 highlights six local teenagers with the potential to join the ranks of the sport’s elite. Having a scoring index below par, as most of these kids do, is hard to fathom, and certainly a testament to their skill and the quality of teaching available to them.
Options for playing golf in beautiful venues are better than ever. Yocha-De-He Golf Club, the new course adjacent to Cache Creek Casino Resort, has opened to rave reviews. Sacramento resident and course designer Brad Bell has excelled again with his creation of Yocha-De-He. One acquaintance of mine played it in March after a spring rain and proclaimed it among the prettiest courses he has ever played. Longtime golf writer Bob Burns explored the new course&emdash;read his piece on page 190. Another new course getting notice is Sevillano Links at Rolling Hills Casino near Corning, designed by renowned golfer and 1995 British Open Champion John Daly. Frank LaRosa had a chance to meet Daly and learn about him and his new course&emdash;and its 10,000-yard playing option! (Please see page 212.)
Northern California has it all for golf: hundreds of playing venues, wonderful teachers and learning programs, skilled players, youth golf programs, state-of-the-art analytics and, with less demand for housing this year, you may even find lower prices on that golf course home you dream about.
Enjoy the game.