Ron Agostini

Courses working to open fairways

One course, closed for more than five years, closes in on its reopening. Another, ready for play right now, can't open its gate.

Such is the state of affairs at Lake Don Pedro and Trinitas.

Lake Don Pedro, revived by the San Ramon-based Deerwood Corp., remains on schedule for a February opening. The company counts on improved facilities and an upgraded 18-hole course, which was closed and abandoned in 2002, to bring back customers.

"We're piecing things together," head professional Ray Claveran Jr. said. "The greens are ready, the tees are ready and the fairways are 90 percent ready. Our green fees probably will be in the $35 to $55 range which will include carts. We'll also have good stay-and-play packages."

Private clubhouse banquets already have been scheduled for November, another hint that Lake Don Pedro soon will return to full operation.

Meanwhile, Trinitas -- the robust 18-hole course in the foothills of western Calaveras County near Valley Springs -- still must settle rezoning and use-permit issues. Predictably, founder Mike Nemee has struggled to keep his patience because his course could have opened months ago.

"We're in a holding pattern. It's taken twice as much time as we thought," Nemee said. "We're one of the best courses that you can't play."

Nemee has allowed early supporters of the project, along with other invited guests, to test Trinitas and its rugged par-5s. Unofficially, the best round recorded so far is 2-under-par 70.

Officials from the Northern California Golf Association rated the course this week and handed out impressive numbers -- a 73.3 handicap rating and a slope of 149 from the tips.

Translation: tough track.

HANSEN -- Atwater pro Matt Hansen, idle for a month, returns to Nationwide Tour action Thursday at the Mark Christopher Charity Classic in Rancho Cucamonga.

Hansen bruised his toe and was forced to withdraw from the last three events. The timing couldn't have been worse, given the fact he's trying to position himself for 2008.

The former University of the Pacific star has won more than $41,400 this year, featuring a tie for 19th in Louisiana, and is ranked 112th on the Nationwide money list. The top 70 at the end of the year are exempt for the 2008 Nationwide schedule. The top 26 through 40 will be exempt through the first two stages of the PGA Tour Qualifying Tournament, Hansen's conduit toward a return to golf's big stage.

Hansen has four events to enhance his status.

"It (the toe) is not 100 percent but I can play on it," said Hansen, who was forced to use crutches for a few weeks. "It only takes a few weeks to put yourself in a good position."

THE SHAG BAG -- Phoenix Lake, the Sonora course purchased last month by Mike White and Karen McKee, is resodding its teeing areas and has refurbished its clubhouse. ... The team from Forebay of Santa Nella placed third, nine strokes behind victorious Shelter Cove, during the NCGA Zone Championship at Poppy Hills. Forebay contestants included David Cardoza, John Cook, Patrick Ferreiera and Chris Geuder. Turlock CC tied for 19th. ... Coming up: the second annual basketball fund-raising golf tournament for the Columbia College Claim Jumpers, to be held Oct. 20, at Greenhorn Creek in Angels Camp. The inaugural event raised more than $80,000. Call coach Nate Rien at 588-5182.

HOLES-IN-ONE -- Rick Hall, Ripon, 90-yard fourth at Jack Tone Golf, Ripon, sand wedge. ... Kris McGhie, Brentwood, 80-yard second at Escalon, 7-iron.

Bee sports columnist Ron Agostini can be reached at ragostini@modbee.com or 578-2302.

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