Archive » July 26, 2012
Golf & Travel
By Ray Navis, Contributing Writer
After watching the cold, windy golf at the British Open, I was reminded of a round I once played at Old Troon in Scotland. It was a day that no one would go outdoors here in the states, yet there were lots of players, including yours truly, on the course that day.
I still remember the warm shower and great meal we had in the grand clubhouse afterward, and it got me thinking: What great clubhouses have I enjoyed lately?
KiawahOne that comes to mind immediately and will soon be seen on national TV is the Ocean Course Clubhouse at Kiawah Island, sight of the upcoming PGA Championship. It sits right next to the 18th green and adjacent to a sometimes peaceful stretch of the Atlantic Ocean. The clubhouse is inviting with a large indoor/outdoor bar area on the ocean side. Fine Dining is available at the Atlantic Room overlooking the 18th hole. It is also easy to get out to the sand for a nice walk before or after dining. The Atlantic Room is open to the public but enjoys a rather remote location at the end of Kiawah Island, several miles from the Kiawah Resort entrance.
Riviera Country ClubSpeaking of the PGA Tour, who can forget the clubhouse at Riviera Country Club, sight of the annual tour stop in Los Angeles? This grand dame of golf was erected just before the Great Depression and boy, they just do not make them like this anymore. The clubhouse sits atop a hill in Pacific Palisades, overlooking what seems to be the entire Rivera Country Club down in the valley below. There are large outdoor patios big enough for a wedding party where you can take in this view. Although they do not advertise this, you can actually stay at the clubhouse, which is a small boutique hotel. This will allow you to dine at the club’s restaurants but it will not get you access to the golf course. You will need a member for that.
Sonoma Golf ClubGuests at the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn have access to the Sonoma Golf Club, which recently hosted the Charles Schwab Cup on the Challenge Tour. This is a classic venue that has been continually updated through the years. An example of this is the elegant Tuscan-inspired clubhouse. This is a perfect place to take in one of the local wines after your round and enjoy the comfortable ambience.
Marshallia RanchClose to home, I always enjoy spending time at the Marshallia Ranch Clubhouse on Vandenberg AFB. The large dining area looks out across the 1st fairway and past the driving range for what seems like miles, with only other base structures in the far distance. There are usually several deer roaming the property, especially when golfers are not present. The food, by the way, is reasonably priced, though the hours seem to be in constant flux.
Hunter RanchAnother relaxing setting not too far away is the hilltop clubhouse at Hunter Ranch. The pro shop sits on one side of the hill overlooking the 18th hole and much of the back nine. The restaurant area takes up the other side and enjoys views of the 9th green and the rolling terrain of the front nine. As you gaze out across the Paso Robles foothills, there are few structures in sight, making the vista all the more pleasurable. The restaurant provides casual dining perfect for any lunch. The food is good and reasonably priced.
Alisal River CourseNot to be forgotten and right in our own backyard is the River Course clubhouse, home to the River Grill. The outdoor seating at the River Grill looks over the back nine with the Santa Ynez range framing the pastoral shot. If the weather is too brisk for your taste, you will enjoy the indoor as well. This is a pleasant setting and the food at the River Grill is excellent.
We started far away and gradually made our way home with these comfortable clubhouse options. Those who walk 18 holes will get the most pleasure out of this, as they settle into a comfortable chair and recount the day’s experience with awesome scenery at their disposal.