Environmentalists now after mathematics golfers

By David R. Holland, Contributor

MORGAN HILL, Calif. -- It's one of the longest golf courses in America at 7,952 yards and par 72. But The Institute Golf Course, a Damian Pascuzzo design, hasn't had much of an opportunity for play.

John Fry, owner of San Jose-based Fry's Electronics, converted a former nine-hole course into this new layout, but environmentalists say he didn't bother to get any permits or jump through the environmental impact paperwork that often kills golf course projects in California.

A Temporary Use Permit allowed the course 16 rounds of golf play a day from Aug. 27 to Sept. 30, 2003, but things now are in gridlock. The golf course was built to be a recreational outlet when the American Institute of Mathematics, now in Palo Alto, moves onto the site.

Numerous improvements have been made to the site. Fry planted many new trees -- crepe myrtles, Italian Cypresses, sycamores, live oaks, pines, redwoods and yellow poplars, plus made improvements to Corralitos Creek.

The American Institute for Mathematics (AIM) is a non-profit organization founded by Fry in 1994. Find it: The Institute Golf Course 15060 Foothill Avenue, Morgan Hill, (408) 782-7101, aimath.org.

100 Best Golf Resorts of the World

Sonoma, California-based travel golf writer Karen Misuraca lists 11 California resorts in her new book -- 100 Best Golf Resorts of the World.

They include Pebble Beach Resorts, the Inn at Spanish Bay, La Quinta Resort, Marriott Desert Springs, Ojai Valley Inn, Quail Lodge Resort, The Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay, Silverado, St. Regis Monarch Beach and the Westin Mission Hills.

That's a dream list, folks. The book also highlights foreign dream lists for every one who loves to travel and play golf -- Gleneagles in the Scottish Highlands, Turnberry, plus Punta Cana and Casa de Campo in the Dominican Republic. Check out The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs and seven famous resorts in Arizona, including The Boulders and the Phoenician.

The book is full-color eye candy and includes descriptions, other courses in the vicinity of the featured resorts, nearby historic sights and outdoor recreation opportunities and all the contact info you need to plan the trip of a lifetime. You will find the book at major bookstores across the USA or globe-pequot.com.

Sharp Park back to normal?

You would think Sharp Park Golf Course, a San Francisco municipal located in Pacifica, would be busy enough. After all it is a 1929 Alister MacKenzie layout and normally hosts almost 100,000 rounds a year.

But when Harding Park closed for remodeling, Sharp Park became the home away from home for all the Harding veterans. Employees say it still might be a while before Sharp is its old self -- Harding is not taking a normal load of tee times, hoping that will be kind to its new grass. Even local high schools have been told they can't play this year. And there is already a new course record at Harding as Stevinson Ranch head honcho George Kelley fired a 67, that's 5-under-par.

Lincoln Park Golf Course was also used as a backup for Harding regulars, but it is very hilly -- not a favorite for the seniors.

Palm Springs' oldest layout

If you are not a native you probably never heard of the Coachella Valley's first layout -- O'Donnell Golf Course. This flat course layed out in the 1930s was owned by oilman Tom O'Donnell and has changed little over the years.

Only a blind par-3, No. 5, takes this from traditional to quirky. It's a blind shot over rocks near the base of a mountain. A TV monitor tells golfers where the pin is and if someone is on the green.

O'Donnell is private, members and guests only. But this is pure history, folks -- the first golf course in one of the richest golf areas of the planet. It's a par 35 for nine holes, covering 4,220 yards for 18 holes. Curious to see this historical course? It's located at 310 N. Belardo Road, Palm Springs, phone (760) 325-2259.

Texas' Golfsmith enters California

Golfsmith, with national headquarters in Austin, Texas, has purchased Don Sherwood Golf & Tennis World, golf retail business based in the Bay Area. Golfsmith also opened three new stores in Southern California.

Golfsmith will keep the Don Sherwood name for the near future. Golfsmith now has six stores in Northern California and 35 across the nation. Golfsmith has doubled its stores in the Los Angeles area to six.

Don Sherwood still has stores in San Jose, Dublin, San Francisco, Fremont, Palo Alto and Walnut Creek.

Golfsmith also purchased Zevo Golf Co. Inc., of Temecula earlier this year. Zevo produces titanium drivers.

Package hunting?

Green Horn Creek in the Gold Country has announced a golf package called The Gold Country Classic. It includes a massage or round of golf with GPS-equipped cart, unlimited use of practice, pool, tennis and fitness facilities, continental breakfast, a retail discount and welcome gift. Starting at $273, the Ultimate Motherlode Experience is yours with two nights' lodging plus golf, massage and dinner at the friendly Camps restaurant.

Green Horn Creek is located just outside historic Angels Camp, home of Mark Twain's Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County. The resort has private cottages among heritage oak trees or overlooking the 18-hole Robert Trent Jones, II redesigned golf course. For info, reservations and tee times, call (888) 736-5900 or (209) 736-8180 or log onto greenhorncreek.com.

Stevinson Ranch is a beauty that is already considered a bargain. But try its Stay & Play golf packages beginning at $99 per person, double occupancy, that includes golf, cart and range balls. Lodging is provided in its own cottages.

For info, reservations and tee times, call (888) 606-7529 or (209) 668-8200, or check the Stevinson Web site at stevinsonranch.com.

This and that

Native San Diego golfer Tim Mickelson,brother of Phil, has been named men's golf coach at the University of San Diego. He was the assistant prior to his promotion. Tim played three seasons of college golf at Arizona State, where he was a member of the 1996 NCAA Championship team.

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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