Quality Over Quantity
The number of golf course openings has steadily declined each year since the millennium. According to the National Golf Foundation, last year marked the lowest number (124.5) of new course introductions nationwide since the mid 1980s, and well below the recent high-water mark of 398.5 reached in 2000. That trend is personified in Northern California with only two courses openings this year. While the numbers may not be grand, both courses will make a mark on the Northern California landscape.
The City of Pleasanton opened its municipal course, Callippe Preserve, in November, 2005. The 18-hole Brian Costello design boasts five sets of tees ranging from 4,788 to 6,748 yards laid out over 145 acres of rolling East Bay foothills.
The front 9 meanders through a valley and has an open feel while the back 9 possesses more elevation change and trees, giving the course variety while still maintaining a sense of unity within the property. The four-hole stretch beginning with the 12th hole is particularly compelling with the 15th, a 505-yard, downhill dogleg sure to be remembered after a round is complete.
The course is managed by former Poppy Ridge Head Professional John Renslow. Green fees range from $36-51 for Pleasanton residents to $42-60 for non-residents. Carts cost $13 per rider.
Nestled between Tracy and Livermore just off I-580, sits Mountain House Golf Club ¾ a course that has taken nine years to open. Bill Costanzo, general manager, owner, developer and one of three course designers who purchased the property in 1996. He then oversaw the approval of seven government agencies, partly due to the presence of four endangered species on the property.
The 18-hole, public course is expected to measure 6,500 + yards and feature more than 300 feet of elevation change. A paucity of trees and an abundance of challenging topography characterize the property. The 13th hole, a double-dogleg par 5 with water in play, will perhaps become the course’s signature hole. The club will also feature a full practice facility and driving range.
Green fees will range from $35 – $55 including mandatory cart. The grand opening is scheduled in early June.
Two courses in late stages of development are scheduled to open toward the latter part of this year.
Set to open in the fall is Jack Nicklaus and Jack Nicklaus II’s Running Horse Golf and Country Club. The private course is laid out over 220 acres in southwest Fresno and will be part of a new real estate development. There is talk of one of the PGA Tour’s Fall Series tournaments being staged at the course in the fall of 2007.
Fox Hills, located at the intersection of I-5 and Hwy. 152 near Los Banos, will open nine holes in late summer and will expand to 27 holes in coming years. Designer Murray Nonhof of Windmill Design debuts his first course laid out at the edge of the Coastal Range foothills. The public course will make great use of the topography and native plants.