Lone Tree Golf Course: Solid value in Antioch

By Jarrett Joseph, Contributor

ANTIOCH, Calif. -- Lone Tree Golf Course may be just a bit off the beaten path for most golfers, but for those who find themselves in the area, it can provide an affordable, if not entertaining afternoon of golf.

Lone Tree Golf Course - greens
Lone Tree Golf Course is worth the trip to Antioch.
Lone Tree Golf Course - greensLone Tree Golf & Event Center - clubhouseLone Tree Golf Course - hole 1
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Lone Tree Golf & Event Center

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Lone Tree Golf & Event Center sits at the base of Mount Diablo State Park, tumbling across rolling hills that provide panoramic views of the scenic San Juaquin River Delta region. It is one of the most popular golf courses among local Bay Area golfers. The name of the course is misleading since the beautiful landscape is covered with mature forests filled with a variety of indigenous trees including majestic Red Oaks, Cypress, Eucalyptus, and Ponderosa Pines.

18 Holes | Public golf course | Par: 72 | 6427 yards | Book online | ... details »

The course defines the expression "busy" on the weekends, but it is still possible to get on, and the staff takes the pace of play very seriously. There is an adequate diving range, putting green, and sand area, to loosen up the swing muscles before you set out. The range is on the small side and, like the course, can be crowded on the weekends.

The snack bar line moved quickly, which is very important, because, as I said, they take pace of play very seriously. If you are in a hurry and need a snack, not to worry; they have a beverage cart that dutifully patrols the course. I saw the beverage cart at least twice on each side, there are also phones on the ninth and 18th to place your order with the grille.

Weekends bring tournaments to Lone Tree, and that usually brings the weekend golfers to the 10th hole for their starting times. That's were our foursome began the days adventure, and what an adventure it was.

The 10th hole is a fairly straight forward par 5, 426 yards, with the distinction that it hugs the left side of driving range; this can make finding your ball a bit difficult if you happen to favor the right side of the fairway.

This can also be a problem on the par-5 17th, which hugs the other side of the range. "Like try'n to find your chew'n gum on the hen house floor", as it was described to our foursome by the friendly, if not overly descriptive, starter on the tenth. This kind gentleman also took the time to make sure we were familiar with the course, and explained to us the local rules of play: twice.

Did I mention that the course gets busy on the weekends? If you manage to avoid the obvious danger created by the range on the right you should be fine. There are trees lining both sides of the fairway, but they really do not come in to play, that is, unless you come to rest directly against the trunk. This tree theme recurs throughout the course, but there is plenty of room to work around them, or under them if you're like me.

The 11th hole is a 171-yard, par 3, and is a fair representative of all the par 3 holes on this course. This hole is deceptively short, and the penalty for over clubbing could be a lost ball.

The green is fast, as are most on this course, and it is relatively level with the teeing ground, with the exception of the right side, which slopes sharply downhill. A long shot here could conceivably run the green. If this happens, the down sloping cart path, which runs along the backside of the green, could take your ball for an adventure.

An errant shot to the right will give you the pleasure of playing your second shot from the bunker, which hangs on the right side of the green. But compared to the hike down the hill to find your ball, which is what will be needed if your shot is farther right than the bunker, the sand really isn't so bad. Most of the par 3 holes play like this: quick and easy, or quick and deadly.

The golf course uses its terrain to its advantage. The holes are not overly lengthy, or overly difficult; in fact the yardage is average (6,481 yards) and there is a noticeable lack of water. The course uses the hills upon which it rests as its most formidable defense, and rest assured it can mount a defense. You can hit a good shot and still end up facing a nasty side hill lie.

A good example of this is the par 4, 382-yard, 13th. The hole is straight, there are no tricky doglegs, no bunkers to deal with, no problems of any kind except the hills; the tee is at the top of one, there is one in the middle, and the green rests halfway up another. I hit a beautiful drive; it had to be close to 300 yards, I was ecstatic.

Then I walked down to my ball, which lay just short of the green, all the way at the bottom of the hill; the green rests on the down-slope of the middle hill. I swung once, and duffed it halfway up the hill. I swung a second time, and flew over the green. Now I was looking at a par chip from ten yards above the green. I actually had a nice chip and tapped in for a bogey, but it could have been much worse.

The bunkers seem to arrange themselves neatly around the greens, and along the sides of the par-5 holes; they can be most effective at shooting down par opportunities. Personally, I enjoy a shot or two from the bunker; I know, I'm sick.

Let me clarify; every now and then, I enjoy a good bunker shot from a well-kept bunker. That being said, I should mention that the bunkers on this course were in great condition. They were deep and full of soft powdery sand, not that wet, slumped over to one side, cement-like stuff that you can usually count on a municipal course to provide.

The condition of the traps may be due, at least in part, to the fact that there have been some new additions, bunker-wise, to the course as of recently.

Lone Tree Golf Course has its downsides, namely the crowded conditions and the problems that such conditions can create, but if you are looking for a golf value, you will be hard pressed to find a better deal.

The key there is the word "value"; there are better looking courses in the area, with bigger clubhouses and bigger greens fees. For the money, Lone Tree provides a pleasing afternoon of golf. Well, they provide a nice course; you have to provide the "pleasing" golf.

Jarrett Joseph, Contributor

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