Under-reported strategies to get on the golf course without going on food stamps.
Thursday, May 26, 2011
Golfing on a budget. Sounds like an oxymoron, but the winding fairways, snow-white sand traps and impeccably groomed greens are not purely for those with the newest $500 TaylorMade r11 driver and a $699 Callaway X-24 iron.
As summer approaches, those with the $3 putter from Seaside’s Recycled Sports have hope for a modest round, and for some money left over to buy a dozen (used) balls rather than fishing them out of the lake on the 15th hole in their boxers.
Pacific Grove Municipal Links
Most “low-budge” duffers know about what Golf Digest calls “one of the best deals in golf.” But they might not know that the deal gets even sweeter with the everyday twilight rate, after 3pm, $25 for 18 holes and the early bird special, before 9am, with a cart, just $45.
Then there’s the “monarch card,” a membership discount starting at $20 for P.G. residents and $120 for non-residents. This card knocks summer fees from $42 down to $30 Monday through Thursday; the 9-hole rate drops from $25 to $12.
77 Asilomar Blvd., Pacific Grove. 648-5775, www.pggolflinks.com
Monterey Pines Golf Course
At $37 on weekends, MPGC is a great value – and even better after a recent 2009 redesign improved its layout. But the so-called “Navy Course” becomes even more affordable come weekdays ($34), early weekday afternoons ($25 between 1-3pm) and weekday twilight ($15 after 3pm).
And those in the military – whether their skills are general – or grunt-grade – play for even less.
Fairgrounds and Garden roads, Monterey. 656-2167
Laguna Seca Golf Ranch, Rancho Canada Golf Club, Eagle Ridge Golf Club
These sister courses can range from $70 for a round before 2pm and $20 for a round after 4pm, so it’s all about time-slot selection. A small investment in a mini-membership ($99/year) means the values are as common as double-bogeys: The mini-membership cuts the above rates in half. (How does $35 for 18 holes before 2pm, $20 between 2 and 4pm, and $10 after 4pm sound? Like the ping of the driver off that first tee at Laguna.)
Rancho, meanwhile, is actually two bucolic challenges, with 36 holes split between the East and West courses.
Eagle Ridge in Gilroy is a few dollars more (literally a few), but this course has been named among the Top 50 Women Friendly Courses because of its upscale, modern sets of six tees (as opposed to the regular three), providing for more variety of distances for each hole to match talent level. It’s also received the honor of Top Ten Golf Courses in the Silicon Valley and a four star rating from Golf Digest magazine.
Laguna Seca Golf Ranch, 10520 York Road, Monterey. 373-3701, www.lagunasecagolf.com
Rancho Canada Golf Club, 4860 Carmel Valley Road, Carmel. 624-0111, www.ranchocanada.com
Eagle Ridge Golf Club, 2951 Club Dr., Gilroy. (408) 846-4531, www.eagleridgegc.com
Bayonet and Black Horse Golf Courses
The courses re-opened in December 2008 after a $13 million renovation, placing the already world-renowned course in Golf Digest’s competitive “Best New Courses – Remodel” category. The remodel includes a still-in-progress 330-room, four-star hotel, 125 timeshares/condos, and 125 homes.
The rates have since dropped to attract a younger crowd from CSUMB. Their May specials include $54 Monday-Wednesday, and $64 on Sunday; Thursday-Saturday it’s $125 for 18. The daily twilight rate (after 4pm) is only $35 – including a cart – and is offered every day.
1 McClure Way, Seaside. 899-7271, www.bayonetblackhorse.com
Poppy Hills Golf Course
This course is located off 17 Mile Drive and its fairways weave in and out of the Del Monte Forest. Although it has received some very high accolades – 12th “most popular course” in the U.S. according to a Zagat Survey, “National Course of the Year” by the National Golf Course Owners Association – the course provides low rates to members of the Northern California Golf Association. For a $75/year membership, a round of 18 that would usually cost $200 to the general public plays through for just $55 Monday-Thursday and twilight rates (after 4pm) are $47 with a cart, and just $37 after 5pm.
3200 Lopez Road, Pebble Beach. 622-8239, www.poppyhillsgolf.com