Tri-Cities Voice Newspaper - What's Happening - Fremont, Union City, Newark California

October 4, 2005 > Par for the course

Par for the course

Golf as we know it today originated from a game played on the eastern coast of Scotland in the Kingdom of Fife during the 15th century. Players would hit a pebble around a natural course of sand dunes, rabbit runs and tracks using a stick or primitive club.

Some historians believe that games called Kolven from Holland and Chole from Belgium influenced the game. The latter was introduced into Scotland in 1421; however while these games and countless others are stick and ball games, they are missing that vital ingredient that is unique to golf - the hole.

During the mid-15th century, Scotland was preparing to defend itself against an English invasion. The population's enthusiastic pursuit of golf and soccer to the neglect of military training (primarily archery) caused the Scottish parliament of King James II to ban both sports in 1457. The ban was reaffirmed in 1470 and 1491 although people largely ignored it. Only in 1502 with the Treaty of Glasgow was the ban lifted because King James IV (James 1 of England) took up the sport.

Golf's status and popularity quickly spread throughout the 16th century due to its royal endorsement. King Charles I popularized the game in England and Mary Queen of Scots, who was French, introduced the game to France while she studied there. Indeed the term 'caddie stems from the name given to her helpers who were the French Military, known in French as cadets.

The Victorian Industrial Revolution during the 18th century brought with it many social and economic changes. The growth of the railways gave birth to the mass tourism industry. For the first time, ordinary people could explore the country as day-trippers or weekend visitors. Golfing clubs popped up all over the country and people could enjoy the challenge of playing at a different one every weekend. Scotland has kept its title as the home of golf and the top destination for golfers to this day is St. Andrews Golf Club.

For many years in the United States, golf was known as a game meant strictly for upper-class men; however the past decade has opened up the course to a new generation of players. Among these "unconventional" players are the renowned Tiger Woods and Michele Wie, who at 13, became the youngest-ever winner of the U.S. Women's Amateur Public Links Championship.

Golfing is a sport enjoyed by all ages, from beginners to professionals. The greater Tri-City area of Fremont, Newark, Union City, Hayward, Sunol and Milpitas, offers a variety of golf courses and driving ranges to accommodate any swing. In order to help golfers and future golfers find just the right facility to challenge their drivers and putters, TCV has assembled a list of public golf courses in our area.

Fremont Park Golf Course
39751 Stevenson Place, Fremont
(510) 790-1919

A nine-hole, par 33 course offers play for beginners and beyond. Environmental areas and lakes line fairways and guard greens creating a challenging course. A driving range is located at the course.

Skywest Golf Course
1401 Golf Course Road, Hayward
(510) 317-2300

Skywest Golf Course is a public, 18-hole championship, par-72 course with tree lined fairways, large greens and two lakes. The course features a full-service driving range, professional golf instruction, a complete pro shop, practice putting green and tournament accommodations. Tee time reservations can be made eight days in advance by calling the automated, 24-hour system at (510) 317-2316.

Mission Hills of Hayward
275 Industrial Parkway, Hayward
(510) 888-0200

Hayward is also home to Mission Hills of Hayward, nine-hole Executive Golf Course with professional golf instruction, a pro shop and clubhouse and tournament accommodations. The driving range is lighted nightly and is open until 10 p.m. Green fees are based on age and residency.

Spring Valley Golf Course
3441 Calaveras Road, Milpitas
(408) 262-1722

Stop off in Milpitas for a round of golf at the public 18-hole Spring Valley Golf Course located in the hills next to Ed R. Levin County Park. Practice facilities include a large area for sand bunker practice; a 25-yard chipping area and a 22 stall driving range. The Spring Valley Golf Course Grill is located on the grounds.

Sunol Valley Golf Club
3200 Andrade Road, Sunol
Golf Course: (925) 862-2404
Driving Range: (510) 862-0252.

This club features two championship courses geared toward the mid to high handicap golfer, yet both courses can provide a challenge for golfers of all levels. Cypress, considered the easier and tranquil course, is 6,195 yards. The Palm course plays 6,406 yards from the white tees and can pose quite a challenge on a windy day. Sunol Valley offers carts, putting greens, club rentals, banquet facilities and a cafè. A driving range is located nearby. Walkers are welcome except for Saturday and Sunday before twilight.

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