Boulder Creek Golf & Country Club: Tree-Hugging for Beginners

By David R. Holland, Contributor

If you want to hug a tree at Boulder Creek Golf and Country Club most likely your arms aren't going to reach far enough. These are redwoods and that's part of the reason this golf course is so popular.

Situated amongst the majestic redwoods of the Santa Cruz Mountains, this is the definition of scenic golf. If you are going to do your best Tiger Woods impression and swing mightily on every shot, you are going to play ping-pong off these towering trees that feed off the coastal fog of the Pacific Ocean.

This is an outstanding place for beginners, seniors and women to play golf. The course is short and the front nine is tightly meshed through the forest. The back nine opens up a bit more with some longer holes, but if you are a tree-hugging single-digit handicap golfer, you will enjoy the scenery, too.

Designed by Jack Fleming, a protege of design-legend Alister MacKenzie, this executive-style course opened nine holes in 1961. Another nine was added for a complete 18. It measures 4,396 from the back and 4,027 from the women's tees. That's a par-65 for men and par-67 for women.

Director of Golf Bill Aragona said when MacKenzie heard the City of San Francisco had offered Fleming a civil service position, MacKenzie told him to take the job -- it was an opportunity to make more money than MacKenzie could pay. At the same time MacKenzie left for Georgia to design Augusta National. Fleming went on to design San Francisco's historic Harding Park Fleming Golf Course.

Head professional Andy Barrick said: "We get nice feedback from seniors who come here on packages. They keep coming back year after year, so we must be doing something right. Also we have had the California Women's Short Course Tournament here before and that is a good-sized organization."

Boulder Creek has done as many as 65,000 rounds in one year.

"I think it is the beauty of the course that brings people back, and the greens are always excellent," Barrick said. "We have a 10-minute tee off interval and I think that helps attract people who want to finish a round in four hours. Our rates are very good and for a beginnner this is a great course. It's more than just a par-3 layout so a beginner gets to try out shorter par-4 holes, too."

You have to thread the needle on many of the front nine holes. No. 1 is a par-4 only 225 yards, but if you take out the driver you may be bouncing around off the trees. The holes are very tightly grouped, but Fleming arranged the tee boxes so there would be natural (tree) protection from wayward shots by others.

The back nine opens with a 182-yard par-3. There is a ravine in front of the green making it a precise shot.There's water lurking on four of the holes on the back nine. The most scenic hole is a downhill par-3, 169 yards with water left of the green.

"Don't let the short yardage fool you. This is an extremely narrow golf course with small, fast greens. It's a must play for the straight hitter. This course is well worth $22," said Brent Howk.

Boulder Creek Golf & Country Club is also a place for conferences and meetings with overnight condominium lodging and vacation rental packages, a full service restaurant and bar, tennis and swimming in a resort setting.

Group and company tournaments are available at Boulder Creek. A variety of packages are available. The complete tournament service and facilities include luxury condominium rentals, deluxe banquet and barbecue facilities, power carts, tennis and swimming.

Boulder Creek Golf & Country Club
16901 Big Basin Highway
Boulder Creek, California 95006
Starting Times: 831-338-2121
Resort Telephone: 831-338-2111
Fax: 831-338-7862

Green Fees: Weekdays $22. Friday $26. Twilight fees available. Weekends and holidays: $40. Seniors: $19, Monday through Thursday only, excluding holidays. Juniors: $8, Under 18, Monday through Thursday only.

Directions: Boulder Creek Golf & Country Club is only 45 minutes from the San Jose Airport and one hour from San Francisco International Airport. Take Highway 9 from Santa Cruz to Boulder Creek. It's only 30 minutes away. Check map on Boulder Creek web site.

David R. HollandDavid R. Holland, Contributor

David R. Holland is an award-winning former sportswriter for The Dallas Morning News, football magazine publisher, and author of The Colorado Golf Bible. Before launching a career as a travel/golf writer, he achieved the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the Air Force reserve, serving during the Vietnam and Desert Storm eras. Follow Dave on Twitter @David_R_Holland.

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