Even if you don't know the way to San Jose, this trip will have you humming right along with Dionne Warwick. All you'll need to do is take Monday and Friday off, grab your clubs and get ready for a gorgeous drive from Silicon Valley up the Northern California coast. We've scheduled the rest.
Catch an early flight into San Jose International Airport. First arrivals from the East Coast land around 10:30 a.m., leaving plenty of time to rent a car and make it to the first tee before lunch. If you know anybody who is still a somebody at an area company that has not dot.bombed, hit them up to get you on CordeValle Golf Club, where members need not accompany guests. A half hour south of San Jose, CordeValle treats every player like a tour pro, right down to the Titleists on the driving range. The course was designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr. and includes a handful of elevated tee boxes that offer gorgeous vistas of the surrounding rolling hills.
If you can't wrangle your way on CordeValle, you won't be disappointed with Cinnabar Hills Golf Club, also just thirty minutes from the airport. There are three distinct nine-hole layouts: the Canyon (the prettiest), the Lake (the longest) and the Mountain (the most challenging). Truly memorable holes include the seventh and the ninth on the Mountain, where the tee shots crisscross, and the par-four seventh on the Canyon, a 351-yard uphill haul whose target is only visible thanks to an eleven-foot flagstick.
Hop back in the car and drive an hour over scenic Highway 17 to Santa Cruz. Park at the yacht harbor and grab a window seat at the Crow's Nest, perched above the blue Pacific. Order a frosty Crow's Nest Lager and soak up the sunset, followed by a heaping helping of surf and turf. Afterward, stroll along the famed Beach Boardwalk. If you're not too full, take a spin on the classic Giant Dipper wooden roller coaster. Spend the night at the Inn at Pasatiempo, cozy country lodging just off Highway 17.
Experience the genius of Alister Mackenzie. His design for Pasatiempo Golf Club was a strong factor in impressing Bobby Jones to commission the good doctor to design a new course for him—called Augusta National. Every hole here is memorable, especially the sixteenth, which features a blind drive over a barranca and a challenging approach to a three-tiered, severely sloping green, where in 1996 Tiger Woods four-putted in the final round of a collegiate championship. Mackenzie, who lived along the sixth fairway, called the sixteenth his favorite par four in all of golf. What Pasatiempo lacks in bark, at just 6,439 yards from the tips, it makes up in bite: rating 72.6, slope 139. An unforgettable golfing treasure.
From Santa Cruz, motor north along Highway 1 toward Half Moon Bay. Not much to do between the two towns, just an hour's worth of beautiful coastline to sit back and enjoy. Follow the stately signs to the Ritz-Carlton resort, which opened last spring. Get a room with access to the fifth-floor club lounge, with its killer view, coffee in the morning and cocktails in the evening, and savory snacks served throughout the Day. Eat, drink and get merry by the fire.