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Poppy Ridge continues to be a tremendous value and one-stop shop for NCGA members.


6,500 square feet, are welcoming targets, yet subtlety undulated. “We try not to keep them lightning


fast, but they are very smooth,” Ball said. The routing at Poppy Ridge is


clever in that all three nines close with a lakeside green in front of the majestic hacienda-style clubhouse. While the nines finish similarly, each is unique, as there is nearly 300 feet of elevation change between them. Much of the Merlot nine is perched


above the property, making it the most challenging and exposed in windy con- ditions. Zinfandel is flatter, but features three lakes, and more trees come into play (nearly 400 were planted on the property when Poppy Ridge was built). “Playing Zinfandel after Merlot is


like playing two totally different golf courses,” Ball said. “You get that park- land, water feel. When you head up to Merlot, it’s more of the heathland golf course. It’s a little drier land.” Chardonnay is a combination of both topographies. “Chardonnay is kind of the transi-


W


tion nine,” Ball said. “It starts on the high side and finishes on the lower side. You get the best of both worlds.”


hile Poppy Ridge has yet to host a U.S. Open, Rees Jones was proud to build a golf course for the expansive NCGA


membership—especially the significant segment that lives around the East Bay. The NCGA is the only golf association to own two golf facilities. “You work very hard at creating


something special, something that will be enjoyed, that can host a tournament while at the same time host an average golfer,” Rees Jones said. “I think that’s what we did at Poppy Ridge. The fact that so many people can access our work is certainly rewarding.” And access it so affordably. Poppy Ridge continues to be a


tremendous value and one-stop shop for NCGA members. Rounds booked a week in advance are $51 on weekdays and $74 on weekends. You can play all 27 holes this summer on Monday


22 / NCGA.ORG / SUMMER 2013


through Thursday for $70, and that rate includes a cart, range balls and a midway lunch. Poppy Ridge boasts an incredible


all-grass practice facility, complete with 12 acres of driving range, a 13,000-foot green, a short-game area and a large bunker. A $50 range card gets you $65 worth of tokens, a $75 card is a $115 value, and a $100 card is worth $175 of range balls. Poppy Ridge also fields teams in the East Bay Junior Golf League, hosts the beginner-friendly SNAG Golf, and participates in the NCGA’s free lesson program. Jeff Hales and Tighe Ham- man head the Junior Golf Academy, and director of golf Chris Bitticks is also available for lessons. Associate clubs interested in hosting events at Poppy Ridge should contact tournament direc- tor Nick Abbott. NCGA members receive a 20%


discount on all merchandise in the golf shop, as well as 10% savings on food at the popular Porter’s Restaurant. Lunch- time is always bustling, as executive chef Raymond Evernham serves 150 to 200 guests every day.


The 30 to 40 minute wait for those


who didn’t book a reservation is en- dorsement enough for Evernham’s food. “We are the No. 1 seller of Kobe hamburgers in the Bay Area,” Evern- ham said. “We go through eight to 12 cases (10 pounds each) of Kobe beef every five days.”


Porter’s will host Music Nights every


Thursday in August, a fun dinner that pairs food, wine and music. “We’re pairing local foods with local


wines, and it’s all geared around a live band,” said Evernham, who will design the menu every week. “We try to pro- mote as much food from local farmers as we can.” Poppy Ridge is also a spectacular setting for weddings, with a beautiful terrace and access to the golf course. There were 52 weddings last year, and like everything else that Poppy Ridge offers, they are affordably priced. The site fee, which includes a generous amount of services and amenities, is $3,000 on Saturdays and $1,500 on Fridays and Sundays. “We try to include everything


and cater to everyone’s budget,” said Brian Garza, Poppy Ridge’s director of special events. And that pretty much sums up


Poppy Ridge. “A lot of our designs are hopefully


a gift to the game, especially when you can play a course like Poppy Ridge for as little money as it costs NCGA members,” Rees Jones said. “You have a private-club atmosphere when you go into that clubhouse and people treat it that way. The players feel like they own part of it because they are members of the NCGA. I think that’s a wonderful gift to the golfers of Northern California. “I think the NCGA has really given


back so much to its members—more than any other golf association—with the golf courses it offers.”


access to the golf course.


breathtaking backdrop for weddings, with


The outdoor ceremony site provides a


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