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Nines in the Vines

Nines in the Vines

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Nines in the Vines

83 pagine
1 ora
Aug 8, 2017


Nines in the Vines is the definitive guide to discovering interesting, challenging 9-hole golf courses in the middle of Northern California's famed Wine Country. Author Paul Kapustka drives guests in the literary cart not just to world-class golf courses, but also provides some caddy-like assistance in finding wineries to tour, and places to eat and stay. Plan your own adventure by reading how we go about playing "Nines in the Vines" !

Aug 8, 2017

Informazioni sull'autore

PAUL KAPUSTKA has spent many weekends (and weekdays) in California's Wine Country, tasting wine, playing golf and enjoying life, with both family and friends. A longtime journalist covering both sports and technology, with Nines in the Vines Paul offers his first-hand experiences about why it's so much fun to play 9-hole courses in Wine Country. Please visit our website at for more information and more photos!

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Nines in the Vines - Paul Kapustka


The guide to 9-hole golf in California's Wine Country

Table of Contents

Title Page

Nines in the Vines

Introduction: Welcome to Nines in the Vines

1: Santa Rosa, Calif.

2: Northwood Golf Club, Monte Rio, Calif.

3: Healdsburg Golf Club at Tayman Park, Healdsburg, Calif.

4: Calistoga

5: Aetna Springs Golf Course, Pope Valley, Calif.

6: Vintner’s Golf Club, Yountville, Calif.

7: More courses to play (or not to play)

8: Sebastopol Golf Course, Sebastopol, Calif.

9: Meadowood Golf Course, St. Helena, Calif.

10: Vineyard Knolls, Napa, Calif.

11: Bonus 9: Gilroy Golf Course, Gilroy, Calif.

12: Bonus 9: Little River Inn, Little River, Calif.

13: Places to Stay

14: Eats and Drinks

15: Weather and Timing

16: Last hole: Now it's your turn

By Paul Kapustka

(c) 2017

Introduction: Welcome to Nines in the Vines

Imagine you are in northern California, walking in a redwood forest. Huge, hulking titans of trees – blocking out the sun with their vast, rough-barked woodiness. You may be simply in awe of something so big being alive, a primordial feeling of being among entities that came from somewhere before your time. Then – out of nowhere – you see a golf ball at your feet.

Even better, it’s YOUR golf ball – one you hit about 200-plus yards distant at the tee box, and when you did you were likely wondering how you were going to thread the needle between these massive guardians of the fairway. But you did, conquering not just the arboreal challenge of redwoods but the subtle yet distinctive coursing of an Alister MacKenzie design, as unlikely here as the golf course in the middle of a redwood grove itself. But they both exist, in one place, in an incredible harmony that is yours to play for $38 on weekends, with a cart. Which is still a bargain, even though it’s only nine holes long.

If you’re smart, you smell a theme here, one you may have picked up on via the title: We are here to tell you about a series of surprisingly fun and immensely convenient 9-hole courses located in the famed Wine Country of Napa and Sonoma counties in California, strategically close enough to each other to enable an extremely relaxable and enjoyable vacation weekend that blends just enough golf with more than enough time to allow you to do whatever else you want. Meaning tasting wine.

And before you turn your nose up at the idea of playing 9-hole courses at all – and on vacation, no less – let me clarify some of the tracks you could be missing: The redwood-forest course mentioned at the start is well-known, and has been cited by leading golf magazines as the top nine-hole course in the country, owing in no small way to both its tall-trees surroundings and the fact that Mr. MacKenzie, he of Augusta National and Cypress Point fame, did his usual wizardry job of creating a mainly natural path that will challenge your handicap more than you may want to admit.

Another one of the courses we’ll tell you about is an exact regional opposite – located just east of the Napa Valley in a classic Northern California oak-tree hollow, it too has a master’s handiwork on display, as a Tom Doak tuning on one of the oldest courses in the state has produced a track you might expect to see at a popular high-end resort or country club; instead, for $30 a round (with cart!), you often have the place to yourself, having only to tell the birds to pipe down when you putt.

There’s several more courses to describe here but what’s equally important is what’s in between, namely the thing that gives wine country its name – wine. Though our golfing-vacation crew likes weekends full of as much golf as anyone, on our recent forays into the sunny grape-producing areas north of San Francisco we’ve spent as much time relaxing and enjoying the spoils of this Eden-like spot on earth as we do worrying about birdies, pars or bogeys. But it wasn't always this way; In the past, we’d tried many times to combine full rounds of golf and wine-country touring in the same trip, but almost always found ourselves stressed or pressed for time on one end or the other.

You can guess what I’m talking about here – dawn patrol tee times, followed by late-afternoon last-call slurps as the tasting room staff stares you down in your sweaty shorts and stinky polos. Then, a burger dinner somewhere followed by a crash in the hotel room until the alarm rings way too early to start the routine again. If you’re in Myrtle Beach, that agenda may be OK because other than the golf there’s not much there to do other than hit chain restaurants or smoke a cigar on your condo deck like all the other golf nuts. If you want to shake that up – or just take a trip to wine country that has more activity than sipping and spitting – follow our lead here and see what we’ve found: A way to combine a weekend of challenging, entertaining golf in a fashion that leaves you all time you need to enjoy the unique aspects that make this little slice of space in Northern California such a great place to visit, no matter where you’re from. The key to it all is in the book’s title: It’s the nines that make golfing near the vines a pleasure and not a struggle.

And to be clear – though these are nine-hole courses, none of our main target spots here are par-3 pitch-n-putts; on the tracks we feature, you will be able to hit every club in your bag, driver included. Each one of our top four sites has at least one legit par-5 hole, and all have only two par-3s each; truly, these tracks are far more like half an 18 than many 9-hole courses, and the upkeep on all is as professional if not more so than many upscale muni tracks. Yet even in Wine Country, a place that can get overcrowded on summer weekends, you shouldn’t have trouble finding a tee time at any one of our selected spots, either by calling ahead just before your trip to even by just showing up and walking on.

Call it the blessing or the curse of the 9-hole course; because many golfers

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