Play the recently renovated Old course at Half Moon Bay Golf Links. It meanders around ancient cypress trees before popping out above the coast on the par-three seventeenth. A plaque on the eighteenth tee encourages guests to drive one into the ocean for a local named "Dutch" Schultz, who has gone on to that great fairway in the sky. Pack a wind shirt or sweater no matter how brightly the sun is shining, as the fog can, and usually does, roll in quicker than a downhill putt on a sunbaked green.
After the round, repair to the sumptuous spa and work out the kinks with a Golfer's Massage. Lollygag in the coed bath, complete with heavenly multijet showers. Prepare to feast. Navio, under the direction of chef Brian Bistrong, is a gastrofest for the ages. Start with an indigenous appetizer, such as terrine of braised artichoke and local chèvre, followed by a platter from the raw bar and then an entrée of poached lobster with glazed salsify, walnuts, golden raisins and butter lettuce sauce. Have the friendly sommelier recommend a wine. Order two desserts—any two—and share. You'll be glad you did.
Tee off early on the Ocean course. By the second hole, when you are searching fruitlessly for your Maxfli in calf-deep native grasses, you will swear you are in Scotland. The Arthur Hills linkslike layout boasts views of the Pacific Ocean on practically every hole—that is, on Days when the fog is only as thick as pea broth. The final three holes, right along the Pacific, are dynamite. Finish by 11:30, pop back over Highway 92, then shoot down I-280 and get to the San Jose airport by 1 p.m., just in time to catch the afternoon flight out. Mission accomplished.
Pasatiempo Golf Club, 18 Clubhouse Road, Santa Cruz. Yardage/Slope: 6,439/139. Green Fees: $135-$170. Architect: Alister Mackenzie. Contact: 831-459-9155; pasatiempo.com.
T&L Golf Rating: **** 1/2
Cordevalle Golf Club, One CordeValle Club Drive, San Martin. Yardage/Slope: 7,169/142. Green Fees: $75-$195. Architect: Robert Trent Jones Jr. Contact: 408-683-7200; cordevalle.com.
T&L Golf Rating: ****
Half Moon Bay Golf Links, Ocean and Old courses, 2000 Fairway Drive, Half Moon Bay. Yardage/Slope: 6,732/125 (Ocean); 7,090/135 (Old). Green Fees: $65-$145. Architects: Arthur Hills, 1997 (Ocean). Francis Duane and Arnold Palmer, 1973; redesigned by Arthur Hills, 1999 (Old). Contact: 650-726-4438; halfmoonbaygolf.com. T&L Golf Rating: Ocean **** Old *** 1/2
Cinnabar Hills Golf Club, 23600 McKean Road, San Jose. Yardage/Slope: 6,688/135 (Lake/Canyon); 6,853/135 (Lake/Mountain); 6,641/135 (Mountain/Canyon). Green Fees: $35-$120. Architect: John Harbottle III, 1998. Contact: 408-323-5200; cinnabarhills.com.
T&L Golf Rating: *** 1/2