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Northern California 2016. Days 1- 3 Morton Golf Managed Courses

Looking out the window from our seaside home today reminded me of the last really bad bout of rainy windy wet weather we were anxious to get away from.

It was March of 2016 and El Nino was up to its old tricks so we set off for warmer and drier climes southward to Sacramento, to take in more of the charm of that northern California city and of course play golf.

As I alluded in a past review called California Dreamin’ we had befriended Ken Morton of the Morton Golf group and on this return visit to Sacramento we were offered to play and review 3 more of the civic courses they managed, Arcade Creek, Bartley Cavanaugh and Bing Maloney.

We were also excited to review Whitney Oaks in nearby Rocklin and on the last day before heading home play the amazing course at Cache Creek Casino Resort near Brooks, California called Yocha Dehe GC.

Day 1- Arcade Creek Golf Course at the Haggin Oaks Complex- Sacramento CA.

A gentle easy start at Arcade Creek

A gentle easy start at Arcade Creek

Well Day 1 was actually Day 2 as the rain, which turned to snow going through the Siskiyou Pass in southern Oregon, persisted and we opted for a Sacremento Kings NBA game instead. We then juggled our golf bookings for the week and started with a casual all be it soggy round on the very pleasurable Arcade Creek course. The effect of the torrential rain was evident but it didn’t detract from our day at all. The sister course to the Mackenzie Course at the Haggin Oaks Complex, Arcade Creek is very flat and forgiving, easy on the legs and even easier on the scorecard which was just what we both needed after a long 15 hour drive south from Vancouver Island. Wild Turkeys graced some of the fairways, which was a little scary for me and a source of laughter for Myra watching me trying to relax to hit a shot between a flock of them a mere 20 feet away and getting closer.

No animals or golfers were harmed in the making of this round though and we headed in under a bright blue sunny sky to have a meal at The Mackenzie’s Sports Bar and Grille which in itself deserves a mention, not only did we eat there twice in 3 days due to incredible “golf” food but all the staff were of the same friendly disposition as everyone else we encountered within the Morton Group of golf courses. One of the very fascinating aspects of  “The Grille” is the tables are inlaid with historical newspaper articles and photographs of the many famous golfers who graced the fairways here in the past, Hogan, Sarazen and Snead to name a few. Claudine and Ben in The Grille were really helpful and the guys in the Shoe Store Zach, GM John and Lowell were solid and Chet the repair tech again regripped a club for me and even saved the old putter grip for further usage.

A true golf bar!

A true golf bar!

We kind of made it our home base and after each day of golf we dropped into the Superstore the 15,000 sq. foot retail mecca to update the folks on our rounds, try and buy new clubs and of course buy more shoes and outfits.

Hank Vereschzagin was amazing on the Trackman and help fit me and Myra both with new drivers. Sales associate and PGA member Big Steve Olsen sorted me out with Cleveland hybrids and each day John Palapas, Floor Manager guided us to the right section and listened to too many of my boring golf stories. At the sales counter Nick Wallace, who among many retail talents, is also a member of the 2016 USA Footgolf Gold Medal team, was one cool fit guy to get to know. Of course not to leave out the ladies, Janet Osterhout a personal shopping assistant and Donna Dupree Sales Associate we very patient and helpful in getting Myra the sizes and exact colors she wanted for her golf wardrobe.

Of course I commandeered the main man, Mr. Ken Morton Jr. for some engaging incite into his sons Little League team which he coaches, the golf industry and life in general.

Day 2 – Bing Maloney Golf Course – Sacramento CA

One very smart sign

One very smart sign

 

Bright blue skies greeted us as we headed to play Bing Maloney unfortunately as it is in an area of lowlands the back nine was closed due to the past rains. It had little or no effect on our day, the sun was beaming and very comfortable low 70’s our desired temperature was warming the greens and us. We spoke to the very friendly pro shop clerk Alex on the phone and when we met him he was super friendly and very engaging and apologized for the back nine being closed. Oh well Myra and I concurred we will just enjoy the front nine twice, which is exactly what we did.

Although the rough was very penal and flourishing, the quality of the greens more than made up for that and we were determined to play the entire course on a return visit. It was easy to see how nice it would be once things dried out, nothing fancy here just a really affordable and fun municipal track.

Day 3 – Bartley Cavanaugh Golf Course- Sacramento CA

One great course.

One great course.

Ok now we were keen, the past few days of sunny warm weather had a very positive effect on the Northern California golf courses and our round at Bartley Cavanaugh also. With a light, warm breeze and now in the mid 70’s the very relaxed and happy starter Gary gladly paired us with a grandpa and grandson tandem. Although there is no driving range at Bartley Cavanaugh, a dual hitting net adjacent to the first tee suited us fine and we set off with our playing partners Johnny and the young Justus.

The clubhouse looming over the 10th tee box.

The clubhouse looming over the 10th tee box.

Among many positive features of the course was a minimal amount of sand bunkers, which made for a steady pace and minimal delays around the greens. Some of the greens were fairly small by most standards of golf these days but were excellent to putt on and everyone in the group were playing good shots. The guys were limited to playing only 9 holes due to time constraints. Myra and I made the turn and attacked the back nine and for the first time on our trip we were both getting in the groove, Myra recording a great 2 putt par on the Par 12th hole and both of us hitting the island green on the par 3 17th. In Ruthian fashion I declared to Myra that I was due for a birdie and called my shot, hitting my approach on the 18th from about 155 yards to 10 feet and sliding the birdie in the side door. We loved the course and didn’t hesitate to share that with General Manager Dylan Flynn afterwards in the pro shop. At just over 6150 yards it’s not going to bring you to your knees, what it does provide is a course that a seasoned vet like me and a fairly newcomer like Myra could play and enjoy at an equal level. Well kept greens, tees and fairways with a really nice rolling layout makes it another great choice in the public golf market.

18th green, water left, mounds right, ball tight. Look close, see!

18th green, water left, mounds right, ball tight. Look close, see!

 

 

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Diamond Bill

“Diamond” Bill is a passionate golfer and lover of the game who lives on Vancouver Island in Parksville, BC. He has played the game since the age of 10 and has spent many years in the golf business ranging from full time teaching pro to part time professional caddy, golf tour operator and golf writer.He loves to travel with his wife Myra up and down the west coast of the US playing and reviewing golf courses of all styles.

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