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Greens with Envy: Above Par Golf Courses

Rolling hills, pristine greens, quiet courses: There’s no sport quite like golf. If you’re looking to practice your swing, check out this list of 10 tee-rrific public courses.

Haggin Oaks Golf Complex is home to 36 holes, the largest on-course golf shop in the U.S., and the largest player development program west of the Mississippi. But don’t let that intimidate you, as they have a special program, “Golf for Newbies” aimed to teach rookies all the basics. Mark your calendar for June 5 and 6 when they host the 100th anniversary of the Sacramento City Men’s Golf Championship; spectators are welcome at no charge. 3645 Fulton Avenue, Sacramento, 916-481-4653,

Haggin Oaks Golf Complex


Mather Golf Course’s tree-lined fairway continues to attract golfers of all skill levels, ever since their opening in 1959. They have both a women’s and men’s club, and even a 19th Hole Practice Facility available for a more in-depth practice. The course is surrounded by the natural environment and is even fully designated as a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary. 4103 Zinfandel Drive, Mather, 916-364-4354,

Mather Golf Course


Near the banks of the Sacramento River is Bartley Cavanaugh Golf Club where players of all skill levels can enjoy a fun and affordable round of golf. The highlight is the 17th hole: an island green that makes for a picturesque, albeit challenging, hole. 8301 Freeport Boulevard, Sacramento, 916-808-2020,

Bartley Cavanaugh Golf Club


Set among rolling hills, Empire Ranch Golf Club features 18 holes with an especially challenging 18th: a 211-yard shot over water. A variety of lessons are offered for experienced players and beginners, and their practice facility boasts a driving range, short game area, and large putting green. 1620 East Natoma Street, Folsom, 916-817-8100,

Timber Creek Golf Course


Timber Creek Golf Course is a scenic facility featuring ponds, waterfalls, and groves of trees making for a secluded fairway They have both an 18-hole course and a nine-hole course, plus a huge practice green and lesson tees where pros can help improve your game. 7050 Del Webb Boulevard, Roseville, 916-774-3851,

Whitney Oaks Golf Club


Designed where water or wetlands come into play on every hole, Whitney Oaks Golf Club features natural surroundings and an ever-changing topography. Players of all skill levels are welcome here, as each tee box offers five separate markers of various distances to hit from. Stop by Pyramid Bar & Grill for good food, unique drinks, and an excellent view of the course. A variety of lessons are offered, as well as their Junior Summer Golf Camp that begins June 7. 2305 Clubhouse Drive, Rocklin, 916-632-8333,

Lincoln Hills Golf Club


Lincoln Hills Golf Club is a 36-hole facility with two courses and an eight-acre practice facility. Partake in lessons to improve your game or consider joining one of their leagues (you can even start your own!) or simply enjoy the picturesque course. What’s more, they have their own app that allows you to quickly book tee times, receive discounts, and track scoring stats. 1005 Sun City Lane, Lincoln, 916-543-9200,

Apple Mountain Golf Resort


Perfectly designed to weave through towering trees, Apple Mountain Golf Resort boasts spectacular wildlife-filled scenery alongside its challenging course. In fact, it’s been named a Top 25 Public Golf Course in California by GolfPass three years in a row! There’s 12,000 square feet of practice greens where you can swing from generous fairways, the rough, or two different bunkers. Join them for breakfast or lunch at Apple Mountain Grille or take it to-go. 3455 Carson Road, Camino, 530-647-7400,

Pro Tip from Ryan Bill, PGA at Apple Mountain Golf Resort: When on the course, always have a clear picture in your head of the shot you want to hit. Being uncertain or unclear of what you want to do leads to poor execution; 90% of golf happens before you swing the club.

The Ridge Golf Course & Event Center


Get away from the hustle and bustle at The Ridge Golf Course & Event Center on their 170-acre site featuring a 100-foot elevation change, oak-studded hills, and sparkling ponds. Their practice facilities include a driving range with target greens and two practice putting greens. Learn to play with group lessons or instructional clinics, including Ladies Only and Green Reading & Putting, among others. What’s more, you can stop by The Ridge Bar & Grill for lunch (and dinner on Fridays and Saturdays) or a post-game drink. 2020 Golf Course Road, Auburn, 530-888-7888,

Pro Tip from Shawn Kelly, PGA Head Professional at The Ridge Golf Course & Event Center: “Keep your head down” is one of the worst phrases in golf. You should keep your head steady from moving up and down, not completely still or down and look at the target more than the ball; I call it being target-orientated. Focus more on where you want to go instead of keeping your head down.

Morgan Creek Golf Club


Morgan Creek Golf Club was designed utilizing the natural landscape and features soft rolling hills surrounded by trees. Golf lessons and clinics are offered, and their practice facility includes a private teaching area with a practice bunker. Amenities include banquet facilities for hosting weddings and events, and Morgan Creek Grill where you can enjoy standard breakfast and lunch fare plus a full bar. 8791 Morgan Creek Lane, Roseville, 916-786-4653,

by Emily Peter-Corey

Intro woman golfer franck camhi-vision. Mather Golf Course photo by Ciera Cueva, @_cieraaaa_. Empire Ranch Golf Club photo by Aaron Allnut, @golf_and_hiphop. Timber Creek photo by Aaron Allnutt, @golf_and_hiphop. Whitney Oaks photo by Jesse Sabolboro. Lincoln Hills Golf Club photo by Daniela Solley, @yoteach1yo. Apple Mountain photo by Kaboo Photography. Other photos courtesy of their respective companies or organizations.