Merlot and Zinfandel
Poppy Ridge in Livermore is in the heart of California's wine belt, which explains why the three nines here are named Merlot, Zinfandel and Chardonnay, of which the first two make up the premier course. The ground is open and features gentle changes in elevation, native grasses and of course vines; the soil is chalky and well drained, which is as good for grapes as it is for golf. The fairways sweep up or down in a manner reminiscent of a coastal links. Rees Jones is responsible for the layout, which melds seamlessly into the surroundings, and uses grasses to create contrasts in the absence of trees. While people tend to think of the coast when they think of golf in California—and that is where most of the state's historic clubs are located—Poppy Ridge demonstrates that the inland can be home to some fine courses as well.