Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Ridgemark Golf and CC--Gabilan Course

We've been traveling in southern Arizona and southern California for a while and it's not easy to find inexpensive golf courses in either location unless you want to play executive courses or 9 hole courses.  Neither of which we like to do.  We were holding out for a (relatively) inexpensive 18 hole golf course and we finally found one at the Ridgemark Golf and Country Club in Hollister, California.

I made a mistake and used the Golflinks tee time scheduler only to discover they are now adding a fee for making the online tee times.  So our cost for this round of golf for us was the $7.90 reservation fee and $34 each for greens fee and riding cart.  I later found out that I could have made online tee times directly through the Ridgemark Golf Course website for the same time for $35 each, thus saving myself $6.  Live and learn.  In the past, the Golflink tee times were deeply discounted and the best buy.  I will now check more carefully in the future.

That being said, Denny and I thoroughly enjoyed our round of golf here.  Our tee time was for 1:15 PM which no longer means it will be dark before we finish our round now that the days are longer.  The course was not crowded at this time of day and this time of year so we played our round in well under four hours despite having to wait on every hole and that's been rare for us lately.  
The pro shop employee sent us out on the Gabilan Course; there are two different 18 hole courses here with the other being the Diablo Course.  The Gabilan course is slightly longer at 6721 yards from the blue tees; slope/rating is 132/72.6.  The distance from the white tees is 6336 yards with a slope/rating of 130/70.9, the yellow (senior) tees is 5949 yards and 123/69.4 while the red (women's) tees yardage is 5624 and 119/67.7.  On the Diablo course the longest yardage is 6582 and the shortest is 5441.
 The Gabilan course is lined with homes but the fairways are wide and mature trees provide them with some protection.  The sparkly sand in the sandtraps is dense and coarse with lips low enough that you can putt out of some of the greens-side bunkers.  This knowledge comes from experience.  Ahem.

 As you play there are vistas of distant mountains and close by the well landscaped homes are currently ablaze with color from lush rose bushes, irises, straw flowers and geraniums.  I love California's climate for flowers--the roses' blooms are always huge and fragrant and I even saw some tulips in one yard--it made me homesick for Ohio!
There aren't a lot of water hazards on the Gabilan course, but there's a small canyon shot and enough doglegs to test your driving/shot making skills.  The holes themselves are spread out all through the housing complex but the paths and directions to the next hole are fairly well marked (we only got lost once) and it's fun to look at all the different houses in the plat.  Despite there being a lot of rain recently (and a bad hail storm last week) the golf course itself was in pretty good shape.  Yes, there are thousands of tiny daisy-like flowers in many of the fairways but as a woman I enjoyed them and they certainly didn't bother my golf game.  The greens were the slowest we've played in months which meant that small breaks in your line became much bigger and we consistently played a lot of our putts shorts because the greens looked smooth and fast but were turtle slow.  A regular player warned us of that before we started so I'm going to assume that normally the greens play a bit faster.  

As we left the golf course we found ourselves wishing we hadn't lost a week to rain during our stay here as we definitely would have played this course again.  If we are ever back in the area, for sure we'll try it again.