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right, and a tree that shields the right side of the green. Visual intimidation character- izes much of the course, but it’s important to remember that if the correct tees are played, all hazards are read- ily negotiable.

Once players survive the potentially treacherous start to their round, they are challenged with one of the most memorable views on the course at No. 8, a 448-yard par 4. “It is really daunting

from the tee box, and it’s a psychological challenge with trouble left and a hazard on the right,” Love said. “But it is one of my favorite driving holes.” The 10th hole features

the steepest drop on the course at 100 feet, and plays just 388 yards. The 13th hole —nicknamed “Parachute” —drops some two clubs downhill, making it play significantly shorter than the 184-yard listing. The finishing hole, a 517-

yard par 5, also flies down- hill, with a creek lining the inside of the dogleg left to cap a very enjoyable round, and one of the best values in Northern California.

The Ridge LPGA Tour golfer Anna

Acker-Macosko shot a 60 at The Ridge in the 2004 Longs Drugs Challenge, but don’t let that spectacular round

The Ridge

fool you. Robert Trent Jones Jr. will continually test your game with elevated tees, and multi-tied and ridge- ridden greens. “The course features

several two- and three- tiered greens, so if you find yourself above the hole, you will likely be in trouble,” said Jerry Rogers, The Ridge’s assistant pro. The Ridge, which hosted

LPGA events in 2004 and 2005, routes through a series of oak-studded knolls and hills full of rock outcrop- pings and splendid views. Water, 48 bunkers and 100 feet of elevation change highlight the 6,734-yard, par-71 layout that meanders through nature, with no homes in sight. “This course is all about

target golf,” Rogers said. “The lowest point of the golf course is the clubhouse, so everything tends to funnel back toward that.” Three of the Ridge’s

unique par 5s utilize elevated tees, but all are armed with tricky greens and slippery slopes. In the middle of a daunt-

ing five-hole closing stretch is the par-5 15th, a downhill 549-yard risk-reward thriller. “Big hitters will be

tempted to go for it in two,” Rogers said. “It is a definite risk-reward situation. It’s an opportunity to make a low number if you play it right, but if you make a mistake you will find a big number on your scorecard.” The Ridge is also afford-

able, as rates range from $40 to 70.

Auburn Valley Golf Club Your “Welcome to

Northern California” moment at Auburn Valley arrives on the 10th tee box, when you are hit with an overwhelming view of the massive Sierra Foothills. “The back side of the golf

course is very scenic, and you get a beautiful view through the Auburn Valley,” Weizer said. “On a clear day, you can see all the way to Chico.” Auburn Valley opened in

1960 and existed as a coun- try club for more than 40 years. Known for its country club-like conditions, the Larry Curtola-Joe Alioto design is an old-style, easily walkable course with tees situated close to the previous green. Auburn Valley traverses 175 acres of gentle rolling hills, and features wildlife such as blue heron, geese, swans, deer and a family of bobcats. And you can’t find a

house on the property. “You feel like you are

in the middle of nature,” Weizer said. The course doesn’t play

particularly long, although it stretches to 6,911 yards from the back tees. The small and subtle greens are Auburn Val- ley’s main defense. “There are no tricks to

this course,” Weizer said. “What you see is what you get. No forced carries.” While No. 1, a 433-yard

par 4, is one of the toughest openers around, Auburn Val- ley leaves a lasting impres- sion with its challenging final four holes. It finishes with a risk-reward par 5 that plays just 508 yards. Auburn Valley is only

$45 during the day, and $25 at twilight. “The quality of the golf

is this area is quite good,” Weizer said. “The condition of the golf courses is a little more of an upgrade than your traditional daily fees course. Golf around here is more like an upscale daily- fee course, without the price jump.”

FALL 2013 / NCGA.ORG / 51

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