Golf Around Sonoma County Itinerary
Like a well-structured Cabernet, golf just keeps getting better in Sonoma County, California. For golfers who want a little wine with their tee, here is a three-day itinerary that showcases golf, but also pays attention to other amenities Sonoma Wine Country has to offer.
The Pacific Ocean is a water hazard. Hitting into the rough means trying to find your ball in a 1,000-year-old redwood forest with 200-plus-foot trees. Swaying mustard growing between the rows of rolling vineyards distracts you from a birdie putt.
Welcome to golf in Sonoma County. With a mild climate that encourages year-round play, fantastic off-the-fairway diversions, and a stunning natural setting, Sonoma County features playful resort golf courses for beginners and challenging links for pin-seekers chasing par.
If you’re a golfer who loves hearty red wines, Windsor Golf Club (1340 19th Hole Drive, Windsor, 707-838-7888) is a prime location. This former stop on the PGA Nationwide Tour represents Wine Country golf at its best. The challenging layout carves through a gently rolling landscape dotted with lakes, a meandering creek, and majestic oaks.
After a morning on the green, the afternoon will be all about the reds — Cabernets, Zinfandels, and Syrahs — found a few miles away in Alexander Valley. Grab a picnic lunch at the Jimtown Store (6706 Highway 128, Healdsburg, 707-433-1212), an authentic country market nestled in the vines of the Alexander Valley wine appellation. Take your picnic to Hanna Winery (9280 Highway 128, Healdsburg, 707-431-4310) and enjoy a great glass of wine with tremendous views.
Lodging Recommendation: Hampton Inn & Suites – Windsor (8937 Brooks Road, Windsor, 707-837-9355) makes the ideal launching point for your Wine Country adventures. The Inn is located within easy reach of Highway 101 and the Charles M. Schulz Sonoma County Airport (2290 Airport Blvd., Santa Rosa, 707-565-7240). It's just minutes from the Windsor Town Green, which offers free outdoor concerts and moonlight movies, plus shopping and dining in the many boutiques, restaurants, and cafes that line the Windsor Town Green and nearby Old Downtown streets. And there's no resisting the spectacular bounty of the Windsor Farmers Market on Thursdays, June through August.
Experience one of Northern California's most impressive golf courses at the Links at Bodega Harbor (21301 Heron Drive, Bodega Bay, 707-875-3538). Perched along the spectacular Pacific coastline, this course combines breathtaking natural beauty with the award-winning design of Robert Trent Jones II.
And off the course, there's no need to go far to taste wine. Gourmet Au Bay (1412 Bay Flat Road, Bodega Bay, 707-875-9875) is a waterside wine bar, bottle shop, and gift store featuring small-production, award-winning wines and coastal-inspired gifts. Enjoy the view as you sip a flight of wines served on a mini-surfboard, and dine on delicious food from their wood fired oven, including soups, flatbreads, and seafood.
Made famous in the early 1960s as the backdrop for scenes of Alfred Hitchcock's film classic, “The Birds,” Tides Wharf Restaurant (835 California 1, Bodega Bay, 707-875-3652) remains a distinctive destination for locals and travelers from around the world. In addition to the popular restaurant and bar, the Tides Wharf also features a fish market, gift shop, snack bar, and a wholesale seafood business.
Lodging Recommedation: From its seaside perch, Bodega Bay Lodge (103 Highway 1, Bodega Bay, 707-875-3525) offers sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean, the calm Bodega Bay, and the rugged shoreline. It's perfect for a romantic hideaway, family excursion, or company retreat.
At its heart, the Sonoma Golf Club at the Sonoma Mission Inn (17700 Arnold Drive, Sonoma, 707-939-4100) is a treasured "core golf" experience set on 177 acres of rolling terrain highlighted by massive oaks, lakes, and sweeping vistas of the Mayacamas Mountains and neighboring vineyards. You're sure to appreciate how the balance and blend of long and short holes creates a perfect rhythm as you move through the round.
Then, explore wine while enjoying being outside in the amazing Sonoma Valley weather. At Benziger Family Winery (1883 London Ranch Road, Glen Ellen, 707-935-3000) a tram pulled by a Massey 375 tractor (see photo) takes visitors through the Sonoma estate vineyards, gardens, and wildlife sanctuaries for a 45-minute adventure in winegrowing. The tour includes a visit to the underground estate caves and a wine tasting.
Lodging Recommendation: After golfing and wine tasting, relax and indulge at the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa (100 Boyes Blvd., Sonoma, 707-938-9000). Once checked in, enjoy Willow Creek Spa onsite. You’ll find this is the ultimate elegant oasis, blessed by natural mineral hot springs in the Sonoma Valley, an idyllic, world-famous wine growing region abundant with local products. The resort’s acclaimed Santé restaurant exudes the California Wine Country experience.