Course of the month
Sugarloaf Mountain Golf and Town Club, Minneola, Florida (private)
The first Florida design by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw, Sugarloaf Mountain occupies a sandy ridge that’s the highest point on the peninsula. The routing, by turns, rises toward and falls away from the peak of the property, from which on a clear day you can see downtown Orlando (about twenty-five miles away). True to form, the tandem created an impressively natural-looking course on land that was formerly an orange grove. The lay-of-the-land fairways, bubbling green shapes and melting bunker edges will be irresistible to fans of the architects’ minimalist style. The layout also reveals their fondness for right-to-left holes and their sense of balance. One par four, for example, is reachable from the tee, while another stretches to 507 yards.
Architects: Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw. Yardage: 7,057. Par: 72. Membership Inquiries: 407-544-1100, hamptongolfclub.com.
Links at Summerly, Lake Elsinore (public)
In the latest stateside nod to links golf, this treeless design located just over an hour southwest of Los Angeles gives players, in the architect’s words, “a taste of Carnoustie.” No less than ten million cubic yards of earth was excavated across what had been a featureless 180-acre tract, and the entire course was lowered to create prodigious fairways flanked by tall fescue rough, three miles of burns snaking through the property, deep greenside bunkers, and putting surfaces guarded by rolled shoulders.
Architect: Cal Olson. Yardage: 6,969. Par: 72. Green Fees: $50–$69. Tee Times: 951-674-3900, linksatsummerly.com.
Peacock Gap Country Club & Spa, San Rafael (semiprivate)
This 1960 Billy Bell course in suburban Marin County north of San Francisco has undergone an extensive renovation. Holes five through seven were reconfigured, and every feature on the course was rebuilt for the purpose of adding drama. The bunkers are deeper and more irregularly shaped, the edges of holes bear thick native grasses that resemble those that cover the hillsides beyond, and the putting surfaces have more slope to them.
Architect: Forrest Richardson. Yardage: 6,261. Par: 71. Green Fees: $65–$75. Tee Times: 415-453-4940, peacockgapgc.com.
Yocha-De-He Golf Club at Cache Creek Casino Resort, Brooks (resort)
Nearly every hole at Yocha-De-He Golf Club, in the foothills west of Sacramento, is visible from the first tee, which is poised spectacularly 170 feet above the fairway. Named for the Wintun word meaning “place by the spring,” the course flows naturally up and down the secluded chaparral- and sedge-studded Capay Valley. It runs along Cache Creek and beside a vineyard and stands of imported almond and olive trees.
Architect: Brad Bell. Yardage: 7,334. Par: 72. Green Fee: $85. Tee Times: 530-796-4653, cachecreek.com.