From the rugged Sonoma Coast to the vineyards of Napa Valley and the bucolic wildlife corridors of West Marin, North Bay golfers are spoiled. Public golf courses with uniquely North Bay terrain, beautiful views and golden silence promise the perfect game, but the best offer that and so much more.
The New Links at Bodega Harbour
21301 Heron Dr.
Bodega Bay, CA 94923
(866) 90-Links or (800) 503-8158
Price: $60 Mon to Thurs/$70 Fri/$90 Sat and Sun/cart included in fee/twilight, juniors, military and Sonoma County resident discounts available
If you love challenging links courses with stunning coastal views and dramatically changing playing conditions, The New Links at Bodega Bay Harbour is for you. This Robert Trent Jones-designed, course has no water hazards, but beware of the double dog leg on its signature hole 5 and thick marsh on 6 and in the final stretch. In true links tradition, thick fog pervades the fairways on any given day but when it clears, one can see all the way to Tomales Bay. It has no driving range, so come here for the game or go home.
Eagle Vines Vineyards & Golf Club
580 S. Kelly Rd.
American Canyon, CA 94503
Price: $66 Mon to Thurs/$89 Fri to Sun and holidays/cart included in fee/twilight and seniors discounts available
Minutes from Napa Valley sits Eagle Vines Vineyards & Golf Club. The course, designed by Johnny Miller, meanders through ancient oaks, creeks and vineyards with beautiful views of the Bay and Napa Valley from holes 6, with its signature island green, and 11. The real gems per Marcus Sharit, PGA head pro, are greens with varying slopes, tiers and flat surfaces. If you want to sharpen your game, take advantage of the four PGA and one LPGA instructors.
Chardonnay Golf Club
2555 Jameson Canyon Rd.
American Canyon, CA 94503
Price: $66 Mon to Thurs/$76 Fri and holidays/$86 Sat and Sun/cart included in fee/twilight and seniors discounts available Mon to Fri
This 6,948 yard course close to Napa Valley offers a good mix of par 3s, 4s and 5s with five sets of tees to accommodate golfers of all skill levels. Set among 150 hilly acres of grapevines and wildlife preserves, it promises hazards galore and scenic views to distract players. The most interesting and famous hole is its par 3, hole 8, a field-size, 125-yard-wide green with six tiers and a constantly changing pin position to challenge the most seasoned golfer. Chardonnay is a full-service course with golf schools and a generous and complete practice area including two acres of driving range, multiple landing greens, a fairway bunker and a large putting green.
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San Geronimo Golf Course
5800 Sir Francis Drake Blvd.
San Geronimo, CA
Price: $39 Mon to Thurs/$49 Fri/$64 Sat and Sun/cart fee $15/twilight, seniors and juniors discounts available
Set among 150 acres of natural preserves just east of the Point Reyes National Seashore and Golden Gate National Recreational Area, San Geronimo promises beautiful views of coastal mountains, ancient redwoods and pristine creeks. The natural setting makes for one of the longest and most difficult courses in the North Bay with hilly terrain on the back nine and plenty of trees, bunkers and water in play on 16 of 18 holes. It has no driving range, but players here leave well practiced anyhow.
Indian Valley Golf Club
3035 Novato Blvd.
Novato, CA 94947
Price: $37 Mon to Thurs/$45 Fri/$62 Sat, Sun and holidays/$14 cart fee/twilight, seniors and juniors discounts available.
Golfers call this family friendly course the hidden gem of the area’s hidden gems. While it’s less than 10 minutes west of Highway 101 in Novato, guests feel they’re a thousand miles away on a peaceful and scenic course surrounded by protected Marin farmland and preserves. This 6,374-yard course has generous fairways, but the woodlands and wetlands keep the layouts challenging. Expect more elevation changes in the back nine with interesting slopes on the greens.
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Annette Hanami, the Wine Muse, is a food, wine and travel muse based in the Napa Valley. Well-traveled and lived, she brings a local’s perspective to making the most of visiting this world-class wine region. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.