Summertime golf brought yours truly to two delightful venues one a first-time visit, the other a sentimental journey to an old favorite.
LakeRidge near downtown Reno and Pacific Grove on the Monterey Peninsula contrasted in scenery but bonded in a few categories old-school architects and daily-fee convenience.
I had heard a lot about LakeRidge's island-green 15th, the 220-yard par-3 with its 145-foot drop. It is the reason you go to LakeRidge ($75 green fee Monday through Thursday, $85 weekend), but the Robert Trent Jones Sr. design was worth the trip.
Large sloping greens, many of them perched above the fairways, lent a traditional feel. It was playable, fair and in better-than-good shape, though the Reno wind surely will add strokes to your round on most days. The hillside views are another plus.
The 15th's reputation takes away from some other solid holes. One of them is the 525-yard 18th with its green partially hidden behind a hill on the left.
And, by the way, I rinsed my tee shot at the 15th and recorded a well-earned 5. Visit www.golfthehighsierra.com for some discount opportunities at LakeRidge.
The day at Pacific Grove was a homecoming of sorts to one of the places of my golf youth. My father let me play with him during weekend trips, and I couldn't get enough of that back nine which winds around Point Pinos Lighthouse.
This time, a round with Mom freshened memories of deer grazing the fairways they're still there in great numbers breathing in the salty oceanside air and avoiding the iceplant at all costs.
Like LakeRidge, muni-operated PG owns its own hook that Scotland-like second nine. The front nine, an out-and-back route including back-to-back par-3s and par-5s, crosses two city streets in residential Pacific Grove. It's serviceable but not in good condition these days.
Then again, the $46 green fee (Monday through Thursday) is worth every penny because of the back nine. Designed by Jack Neville of Pebble Beach fame, it leads visitors down tumbling and unpredictable fairways to greens tucked into sand dunes.
The 525-yard 12th, a par-5 separated from the ocean only by Sunset Drive, can be reached in two if you risk the shortcut around the dogleg. A wayward tee shot, however, leaves you hacking through sand.
The trouble still exists, though it's been tamed over the decades. The fairways are wider and there is more room, but the wind still howls over the exposed terrain. Like many have said, holes 11 through 16 are like a visit to Scotland itself.
Time must be taken for a photo at the 16th tee, a stone's throw from the lighthouse. It's the perfect souvenir from an epic day.
THE SHAG BAG Turlock's Spencer Heller, the four-time Division II All-American at Sonoma State, has qualified for the U.S. Women's Amateur. The 2011 Modesto City women's champion shot 76 at historic Sequoyah Country Club in the Oakland hills and survived a playoff to advance to the Amateur Aug. 5-11 at The Country Club of Charleston (S.C.). ... Andrew Moren, a Cal State Stanislaus star from 2005 to '08, has been named the head coach at Academy of Art, a San Francisco-based Division II program. This year will mark the first time the Urban Knights have split the men's and women's coaching positions, meaning that Moren will be the school's first individual men's coach. Moren, who won four solo titles as a collegian, also cut his coaching teeth as an assistant at Stanislaus under current coach John Cook. ...
Modesto-raised Bryson DeChambeau of Clovis followed up his runner-up performance at the State Amateur with a win at the 110th Trans-Mississippi at the Meadow Club in Fairfax. DeChambeau, a sophomore at Southern Methodist, shot 65-65-67-69 for 14-under 266 for the five-stroke victory. Turlock's Paul Smith tied for eighth (68-69-67-70 274) in the elite amateur field. ...
Oakdale's Mabel Wong rode an opening 71 (71-77 148) to the overall girls title of the 61st Bumgardner Junior Memorial at Del Rio CC. San Jose's Shintaro Ban, a UNLV-commit and one of Northern California's top juniors, displayed his talent with a closing 67 (73-67 140) to beat runner-up Landon Azevedo of Hilmar (76-69 145) and third-place Teo Chiesa of Hughson (77-71 148). ... Chiesa responded last week with overall titles at the Oakdale CC Rotary Junior (71) and the George Maroney Junior at Creekside and Dryden Park (71-72 143). Chiesa defeated runner-up Nick Sharp of Ripon by two strokes and third-place Matt Mensinger of Modesto by three at the Maroney. Kyle Intorf of Riverbank shot 73 for runner-up honors at Oakdale. Azevedo (70-72 142) topped Sharp (73-69 142) in a playoff for the overall title at the Matt Hansen Junior at Stevinson Ranch. ... The overall boys and girls winners at the upcoming Turlock CC Junior on Aug. 5-6 will receive $500 scholarship grants. ...
Todd Dilley and Marilyn McRitchie were the men's and women's winners of the Modesto Putting Championship, sponsored by Central Valley Medical Group and FM Golf, last month at Creekside. The junior champs were Rob Ellet and Mabel Wong.
HOLES-IN-ONE John Soltau, Modesto, 125-yard fourth at Micke Grove, Lodi, 9-iron. ... Prem Chand, Modesto, 178-yard 15th at Creekside, 5-hybrid. ... Dean Petrulakis, Modesto, 125-yard second at Del Rio CC (Bluff), 9-iron. ... Margaret Baim, Modesto, 139-yard 17th at Corral de Tierra, Salinas, 20-degree hybrid.
Bee staff writer Ron Agostini can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (209) 578-2302. Follow Ron via Twitter @modbeesports.