NCGA Golf

Summer 2019

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This is due in part to many "Millennials" on Silicon Valley salaries moving across the bridge, opting to spend less on rent and parking. For those into golf, having easy access to more and, shall we say, better public courses doesn't hurt either. Indeed, Oakland can now boast of not only an expanding multi-ethnic "foodie" scene and first-rate live music venues (Fox Theater, Paramount Theater, Yoshi's jazz club), but also a "Golf Gourmet Alley." This consists of Monarch Bay, a stout test and all the more so on the back nine when the wind is up; Metropolitan Golf Links, which is, save for the springy turf unique to Scotland, as true a links course as you can find; and Corica Park, its South Course refashioned by designer Rees Jones in the Australian Sandbelt style, with a stunning aggregation of bunkers and massive greens. (Note: NCGA members receive preferred rates at Corica Park with GHIN or membership card.) The three are but a few miles apart of each other just west of Doolittle Avenue and at most a mile from the waters of the East Bay. We're taking a bit of territorial license here. Only Metropolitan is within Oakland's borders. Monarch Bay is in San Leandro, and Corica Park is in Alameda. But in both cases only just. So the golf we speak of is in Greater Oakland. To which we add landmark layouts — Lake Chabot GC, in the Oakland hills, fabled for its hilly terrain, and Tilden Park, even higher up in the Berkeley hills, which offers smashing views and challenging golf. (For a primo aerial view of San Francisco, drive up to Grizzly Peak on a clear day.) Outstanding players who developed their chops here include San Leandro's Tony Lema, a British Open champion and NCGA Hall of Famer for whom Monarch Bay's course is subtitled. James Hahn, twice a PGA Tour winner, honed his talent on the Metropolitan Links wide, long, all-grass range his parents managed when he was growing up. The UC-Berkeley teams practice there, and Golden State Warriors players and coaches, including Steve Kerr and Steph Curry, slipped over from nearby Oracle Arena (prior to moving to the Chase Center in San Francisco's Mission Bay) to hit some balls and play the course. With the Raiders impending exodus to Las Vegas, Oakland will have just the A's among professional sports teams to call their own. You haven't lived until you've sat in Section 149 in the O.co's right field bleachers and experienced player-specific anthems, claps for different outs and choreographed dances. For Oakland eating institutions, Zachary's Chicago Pizza will make your cheesy heart melt; Lois the Pie Queen is home to bodacious biscuits, fried chicken and legendary pie; order the hand-pulled noodles at Shan Dong Restaurant, a Chinatown favorite, and get a sugar high at Fentons Creamery, an ice cream haven since 1894. (Bonus points if you down a banana split fast enough to get a free shirt.) Lema and Hahn aren't the only East Bay products among the roll call of PGA Tour winners. Natives Dick Lotz, Don Whitt and John McMullin shaped games on the above-named courses that brought a combined total of six tour titles. And well they might have, for the golf in Greater Oakland is a character- building experience. 12 SUMMER 2019 | NCGA.ORG S H A G B A G DAYtrip Greater Oakland BY AL BARKOW > Over the years Oakland has been considered the homely sister of glamorous across-the- bay San Francisco. But it is fast becoming a hip, with-it, one might say renascent town. MAX WHITTAKER OAKLAND ATHLETICS NATAUSHA GREENBLOTT Jack London Square on the Oakland waterfront (top) ; left, Oakland A's third base- man Matt Chapman backhands a grounder; the historic Fox Theater is a popular live music venue; Fentons Creamery has been a hot spot for a summertime treat since 1894; Set feet from the San Francisco Bay in San Leandro, Monarch Bay Golf Club is regarded as the only course in the Bay Area with views of the bay from every hole.

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