On the Rebound
New Course Construction revives in Northern California
After a few years of slow growth, golf course construction in Northern California is picking up steam. With five courses set to open in 2007, one complete renovation and four more courses with scheduled 2008 debuts, golfers in Northern California will have even more choices. Famous names and scenic sites are involved in the new designs that are sure to leave a lasting mark on the Northern California golf landscape.
Gray’s Crossing, located just north of I-80 in Truckee, will join other Tahoe Mountain Club courses Old Greenwood and Coyote Moon when it opens in the spring. The private Peter Jacobson-Jim Hardy design is part of a community set on 700 acres of secluded forest. The course will measure more than 7,500 yards and sits at an elevation of more than 5,500 feet. A full caddy program along with the other amenities of the Tahoe Mountain Club will be part of the experience at Gray’s Crossing. The course and community are seeking Audubon International Sustainable Community certification.
Membership will be capped at 400 and will include golf privileges at Old Greenwood and Coyote Moon and admission to Northstar-at-Tahoe’s Alpine Club among other amenities.
Stonebrae in Hayward marks the Northern California debut of Bandon Dunes designer David McLay Kidd. The private club offers five sets of tees ranging from just under 5,000 to 7,295 yards. Kidd’s vivid imagination has transformed the site into a spectacular course with panoramic views of San Francisco Bay. Natural-edged bunkers, wind-twisted oak trees and plenty of native grasslands frame the course, providing a beautiful parkland setting.
The location’s exposure to the ever-changing Bay winds and views will leave a lasting impression. Golfers might never want to leave the driving range with the San Francisco skyline serving as the distant target. Five holes will be open in May with the rest of the course to follow in September.
Located near Valley Springs northeast of Stockton, Trinitas Golf Club takes full advantage of its superb natural setting weaving through olive orchards. Owner/designer Mike Nemee and his team have developed what he hopes will be “the Northern California home of tournament golf.”
Water hazards on 16 of 18 holes and stately oak trees characterize the course which will max out at more than 7,100 yards (including three par 5s on the back nine in the excess of 580 yards). Public play will be accepted at the course three days a week for a $100 green fee, with the rest of the week devoted to large-group tournament play and a private membership.
Jack Nicklaus and Jack Nicklaus II are working on Running Horse Country Club in Fresno. The private club will host a PGA Tour Fall Finish series event when it is ready, (in either 2007 or 2008), and will feature multiple tees ranging from 5,200 to 7,300 yards. Water hazards strategically placed on most holes will force the golfer to think about the proper placement of each shot.
Though primarily the work of Jack II, the course will join other highly-regarded Northern California layouts such as Pasadera, Ruby Hill, Old Greenwood, Coyote Creek, Diablo Grande – Legends West and Mayacama in the Nicklaus Design portfolio.
Tom Doak, is completing his first work in Northern California. Along with associate Jim Urbina, the Pacific Dunes architect has renovated and redesigned Aetna Springs in Pope Valley.
Doak’s trademark minimalist approach to design is apparent throughout the nine-hole public course. With the addition of more than 300 yards, the recapturing of playing areas lost due to the evolving landscape, and a rerouting/renumbering of holes, longtime Aetna golfers will be in for a surprise.
Cache Creek, a course associated with the casino of the same name in Brooks, will open for play in the fall after a limited opening in June. Located a ¼ mile from the casino on Highway 16, the Brad Bell design will carry four sets of tees ranging from 5,466 to 7,303 yards. Rolling hills and two large, man-made lakes characterize the property. The open feeling evokes a links sensibility with the first tee cut 275 feet high on a hill providing perhaps the most memorable spot on the course.
The public course’s green fee is set at $85.
Two private courses in the North Lake Tahoe area are making headway toward 2008 debuts. Timilick Tahoe, a Johnny Miller/John Harbottle design, and Martis Camp, a Tom Fazio creation, are situated close to each other between Truckee and the northwest side of the lake. Timilick is more of a traditional country club (members will not need to own property) whereas Martis Camp, only Fazio’s second solo course in Northern California, was developed by the same company as Lahontan and members will need to be property owners. Both courses will take full advantage of the Tahoe area’s stunning terrain.
Farther south, the city of Dinuba and architect John Fought are working on Ridge Creek, a municipal course that will provide not only one of the largest driving ranges in the region, but also a brutish, 650-yard, par five 15th hole as part of the planned 7,435-yard course.
Jack Nicklaus is also developing a new signature course in Copperopolis. Tuscany Hills will be associated with a housing development by the same name.