The GolfNow Local Leaderboard: Monterey and the San Francisco Bay Area

By Brandon TuckerFebruary 5, 2013, 4:20 pm

For most of us, Pebble Beach Golf Links is a round of golf that comes once in a lifetime -- if we're lucky. But beyond Pebble and its infamous $495 green fee, California's Monterey Peninsula offers plenty of other suitable golf experiences with a fraction of the green fee. 

So in that spirit, we've gone to's user ratings, launched last fall, to select the Bay Area's top five golf courses as rated by golfers themselves. 

While the major publications have panelists with a set criteria on how to rate a golf course, the GolfNow ratings put the regular golfer in control of what's important to their experience. Some may value conditions more than design, while others may highlight a facility's service. Also, the vastmajority of these reviews come from verified GolfNow purchasers who are rating the experience based on the exact dollar amount they paid for the round. 

So here they are, the Top 5 golf courses in Monterey and the greater San Francisco Bay Area as rated by GolfNow users*: 

1. Bayonet & Black Horse (4.6/5.0): 36-hole Bayonet & Black Horse makes for the GolfNow's top-rated facility between San Francisco and Monterey. The word on this gem minutes from Pebble Beach is certainly out, because it's also the most frequently rated facility as well. Reading the many reviews, the common theme is that both Bayonet and Blackhorse are challenging yet magnificently conditioned, especially considering green fees are a fraction of the Pebble Beach resort courses nearby. 

'The revisions and upgrades that have been done in recent years make these courses a must play when visiting the Monterey area,' wrote Bob Anderson, a 12.2 handicap from El Dorado Hills. 'They are always immaculately groomed...You are treated as if you are playing a private country club.' 

2. The Chardonnay Golf Club (4.46/5.0): In Napa, golfers are toasting Chardonnay for its peaceful setting surrounded by lush hillsides and vineyards. Stellar course conditions and the fact this course is usually not too crowded are also lauded frequently by GolfNow raters. With tee times currently available under $50, it's a big-time steal northeast of the Bay Area.

T-3. Cinnabar Hills Golf Club (4.42/5.0): Raters love how close this scenic and quiet course is from the San Jose area in the South Bay. Opened in 1998, 27-hole Cinnabar Hills has become a local favorite for scenic mountain views and fast, bent grass greens to go with the John Harbottle III design. Raters also call it one of the area's best values (Tee times: $40-70).

T-3. Salinas Golf & Country Club (4.42/5.0): Historic Salinas, which opened in 1925, recently opened up some tee times for outside play, and the gesture has certainly been appreciated amongst the public. The course has shot into the 4th slot in the region. Golfers appear to love the old country club charm to go along with supremely friendly, member-worthy service a few minutes north of the Monterey Peninsula.

5. The Ranch Golf Club (4.35/5.0): GolfNow raters warn this San Jose-area course is no slouch (with a slope of 150 off the back tees), but that doesn't mean you can't have a good time here, especially with mountain scenery this good. Just be sure to practice your sidehill lies...

*Ratings based on results 9/20/2012-1/31/2013. Facilities in this market need a minimum of 12 ratings to qualify. 69 Bay Area were eligible for the rankings on the cutoff date. 

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 1:00 pm

This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.

The one-time teen phenom, known for years as “El Nino,” entered the Masters as he had dozens of majors beforehand – shouldered with the burden of being the best player without a major.

Garcia was 0-for-72 driving down Magnolia Lane in April, but after a thrilling final round and sudden-death victory over Justin Rose, the Spaniard at long last captured his elusive first major title.

The expectation for years was that Garcia might land his white whale on a British links course, or perhaps at a U.S. Open where his elite ball-striking might shine. Instead it was on the storied back nine at Augusta National that he came alive, chasing down Rose thanks in part to a memorable approach on No. 15 that hit the pin and led to an eagle.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

A green jacket was only the start of a transformative year for Garcia, 37, who heaped credit for his win on his then-fiancee, Angela Akins. The two were married in July, and months later the couple announced that they were expecting their first child to arrive just ahead of Garcia’s return to Augusta, where he'll host his first champions’ dinner.

And while players often cling to the notion that a major win won’t intrinsically change them, there was a noticeable difference in Garcia over the summer months. The weight of expectation, conscious or otherwise, seemed to lift almost instantly. Like other recent Masters champs, he took the green jacket on a worldwide tour, with stops at Wimbledon and a soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona.

The player who burst onto the scene as a baby-faced upstart is now a grizzled veteran with nearly two decades of pro golf behind him. While the changes this year occurred both on and off the course, 2017 will always be remembered as the year when Garcia finally, improbably, earned the title of major champion.

Masters victory

Article: Garcia defeats Rose to win Masters playoff

Article: Finally at peace: Garcia makes major breakthrough

Article: Garcia redeems career, creates new narrative

Video: See the putt that made Sergio a major champ

Green jacket tour

Article: Take a look at Sergio's crazy, hectic media tour

Article: Garcia with fiancée, green jacket at Wimbledon

Article: Watch: Garcia kicks off El Clasico in green jacket

Man of the people

Article: SERGIO! Garcia finally gets patrons on his side

Article: Fan finally caddies for Sergio after asking 206 times

Article: Sergio donates money for Texas flood relief

Article: Connelly, Garcia paired years after photo together

Ace at 17th at Sawgrass

Growing family

Article: Sergio, Angela get married; Kenny G plays reception

Article: Garcia, wife expecting first child in March 2018

Departure from TaylorMade

Article: Masters champ Garcia splits with TaylorMade

Squashed beef with Paddy

Article: Harrington: Garcia was a 'sore loser'

Article: Sergio, Padraig had 'great talk,' are 'fine'

Victory at Valderrama

Article: Garcia gets first win since Masters at Valderrama

Getty Images

Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 12:30 pm
Getty Images

Montana parents can't watch kids play high school golf

By Grill Room TeamDecember 11, 2017, 9:47 pm

Well, this is a one new one.

According to a report from KTVQ in Montana, this line in the Montana State High School Association rule book all but forbids spectators from observing high school golf in that state:

“No spectators/fans are allowed on the course except for certain locations as designated by the tournament manager and club professional.”

Part of the issue, according to the report, is that most courses don't bother to designate those "certain locations" leaving parents unable to watch their kids compete.

“If you tell a parent that they can’t watch their kid play in the Thanksgiving Day football game, they would riot,” Chris Kelley, a high school golf parent, told KTVQ.

The report lists illegal outside coaching as one of the rule's chief motivations, but Montana State women's golf coach Brittany Basye doesn't quite buy that.

“I can go to a softball game and I can sit right behind the pitcher. I can make hand signals,” she is quoted in the report. “I can yell out names. I can do the same thing on a softball field that might affect that kid. Football games we can yell as loud as we want when someone is making a pass or a catch.”

The MHSA has argued that unlike other sports that are played in a confined area, the sprawling nature of a golf course would make it difficult to hire enough marshals to keep unruly spectators in check.

Meanwhile, there's a lawyer quoted in the report claiming this is some kind of civil rights issue.

Worth note, Montana is one of only two states that doesn't allow spectators on the course. The other state, Alaska, does not offer high school golf.

PGA Tour suspends Hensby for anti-doping violation

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 8:02 pm

Mark Hensby has been suspended for one year by the PGA Tour for violating the Tour’s anti-doping policy by failing to provide a sample after notification.

The Tour made the announcement Monday, reporting that Hensby will be eligible to return on Oct. 26, 2018.

The statement reads:

The PGA Tour announced today that Mark Hensby has violated the Tour Anti-Doping Policy for failing to provide a drug testing sample after notification and has been suspended for a period of one year. He will be eligible to return on Oct. 26, 2018.

Hensby, 46, won the John Deere Classic in 2004. He played the Tour this past year, playing just 14 events. He finished 142nd on the money list. He once ranked among the top 30 in the Official World Golf Ranking but ranks No. 1,623 today.

The Sunshine Tour recently suspended player Etienne Bond for one year for failing a drug test. Players previously suspended by the PGA Tour for violating the anti-doping policy include Scott Stallings and Doug Barron.

The PGA Tour implemented revisions to its anti-doping program with the start of the 2017-18 season. The revisions include blood testing and the supplementation of the Tour’s prohibited list to include all of the substances and methods on the World Anti-Doping Agency prohibited list. As part of this season’s revisions, the Tour announced it would also begin reporting suspensions due to recreational drug use.

The Tour said it would not issue further comment on Hensby's suspension.