The journey was designed as a bond-builder, nothing more than a preseason field trip.
What it became, however, was a memorable holiday for the Central Catholic High girls golf team.
I mean, how can one complain when your on-the-road practice sessions mushroom into complementary golf at Genoa Lakes, Nev., and Edgewood Tahoe, the latter one of the nation's most gorgeous golf addresses?
"I was in awe the whole time with the lake right there," said Katherine Dunn, the Raiders' only senior. "We felt very fortunate."
Central Catholic is one of the Stanislaus District's small-schools powers in girls golf. The Raiders have rolled to six straight league titles and, since 2006, are 68-0 in head-to-head matches.
This year, they've started impressively before striking one official shot.
Coach Dave Quintal and volunteer assistant Jim Pecchenino the latter is the CC principal arranged the Tahoe trip through personal connections.
The plan: Practice at Edgewood, the pristine layout near Tahoe's southern shore and, the next day, a climb over the Kingsbury Grade and into Nevada for a similar outing at Genoa Lakes, another first-class resort.
"Our goal was to hit balls on the range," Pecchenino said. "We couldn't afford to do the other stuff."
The "other stuff" turned out to be a virtual red carpet rolled out by Edgewood's head professional Randy Fox and longtime instructor David Mancour. Edgewood normally reserves such generosity for their local prep teams, but they took a liking to the Raiders.
"They were a wonderful bunch," Mancour said. "They showed great respect for the game of golf with their conduct."
Mancour, 81, has lived a golf life. Raised in Flint, Mich., he graduated from Michigan State and eventually migrated to the West. He served as head pro at Lake Don Pedro from 1972 to '74.
Since 1979, he splits his time each year with work at Edgewood and La Quinta in the Palm Springs area. Mancour even caddied for NFL Hall of Famer Marcus Allen at last month's American Century Celebrity Championship.
He also remembers a win over Modesto's Leroy Silva in the 1962 Northern California PGA Match Play finals. "Beat 'em on the 36th hole," Mancour said. "We got to be close friends and even worked together at Peninsula Country Club (San Mateo)."
By the way, Mancour made fast friends with the CC Raiders. To the surprise of both coaches and players after a long practice stint the CC team was waved to Edgewood's first tee for an afternoon nine. They weren't able to reach the back nine and the course's scenic finishing holes, but the girls walked to the lake-bordering 17th and 18th near sunset for some souvenir photos.
The next day, Central Catholic repeated the process at Genoa Lakes, where it enjoyed the front nine at the Lakes course. Lou Eiguren, the director of golf and a veteran of more than 40 years in the golf business, opened his door to the Modestans.
"It was fun just to play in a different environment than what we're used to," Dunn said. "We were so lucky."
Before they departed from Edgewood, they heard some words of wisdom from Mancour. "I told them to just treat the game with respect and to give back," he said. Just guessing that the Raiders will heed that advice.
THE SHAG BAG Ripon's Andrew Bonner and Oakdale's Mabel Wong, the respective boys and girls point leaders in the Junior Golf Association of Northern California this year, are not alone among local standouts. Manteca's Will Brink, fourth on that list, tied for fourth at the 52nd California Junior Amateur last week. Brink, the East Union High star, shot 69-72-73 at San Joaquin CC. ... Modesto's Matt Mensinger is seventh on the JGANC list. ... Television captured Sue Fiscoe, the City of Modesto's director of golf, clapping along with other PGA of America board members as Rory McIlroy raised the Wanamaker Trophy for winning the PGA title last weekend. Fiscoe announced players as they approached the 18th green at Kiawah Island (S.C.) on Friday afternoon and also introduced them before they teed off Saturday morning. ...
Coming up Saturday: A fundraising tournament for the Northern California Golf Association's Youth on Course, which brings the game to disadvantaged youth, at Stevinson Ranch. Call Jeanette Grossarth, who has dedicated the tournament to her late husband Doug firstname.lastname@example.org, or 664-6466.
HOLES-IN-ONE John George, Modesto, 173-yard 14th at River Oaks, Ceres, 3-wood. ... Dave Woleslagle, Riverbank, 113-yard 17th at River Oaks, 8-iron.
Bee staff writer Ron Agostini can be reached at email@example.com or (209) 578-2302.