Welcome to the first Hills & Ridge Club Newsletter, which will highlight events and happenings at Poppy Hills and Poppy Ridge. This issue focuses more on Hills as we're proud as a staff to welcome the Champions Tour and juniors from The First Tee for the annual First Tee Open.
Your NCGA membership doesn’t just give you discounts at Poppy Hills and Poppy Ridge, it makes you a full member of these two great clubs. In addition to great golf, your club membership provides you access to social events, special food and beverage programs like wine tasting dinners and golf instruction opportunities.
In September, we get the privilege of co-hosting the annual Nature Valley First Tee Open at Pebble Beach, which features some of the best players on the Champions Tour playing side-by-side with some of the best junior golfers in the country.
During last year’s tournament, we heard nothing but great things from the Champions Tour members in regards to the Poppy Hills renovation. Some even compared the course to famed Augusta National, home of The Masters.
A lot of the credit goes to Poppy Hills superintendent Matt Muhlenbruch and his staff, who have maintained fantastic playing conditions despite the ongoing drought.
At Porter’s in the Forest, the arrival of fall means new ingredients for executive chef Johnny De Vivo. Look for a new menu at Porter’s in the Forest to make its debut sometime in October. Always remember to present your NCGA membership card at Porter’s in the Forest or at Porter’s Grill at Poppy Ridge Golf Course. It’s an instant 10% off!
Have a great Thanksgiving holiday, and please let us know what we can do to serve you. That’s why we’re here.
Matt Muhlenbruch, Poppy Hills Superintendent
Turf TalkLetter From the Hills Superintendent
It’s now been almost 18 months since the new Poppy Hills re-opened for play following the course renovation.
I’m very excited about how the fairways and tees have matured in that time–most notably through the summer and fall–which was expected due to the fine fescue/ryegrass that was installed during the renovation.
Overall, the maturation process on the new course has progressed as expected despite the ongoing drought and limited water resources. More recently, we’ve also had to endure unseasonably hot weather, but the condition and playability of Poppy Hills remains great, all despite tighter water restrictions.
On the greens, the putting surfaces have also matured. They are now more receptive to approach shots and the speed of the greens has picked up. I was happy to hear the PGA Tour agronomist tell us that the course was in great playing conditions for The First Tee Open.
I encourage you all to come down and see what everyone is talking about. Escape the heat and head for the cooler temperatures here on the Monterey Peninsula.
There isn’t a more special time of year than the fall to come out and take advantage of your NCGA member benefits.
Play well, and play more!
Johnny De Vivo, Executive Chef, Porter’s in the Forest
Porter’s in the ForestWhat’s Cooking?
At Porter’s in the Forest, we always like to try and change the menu with the micro-seasons.
When I think of the fall, among the ingredients I envision are braised meats, heirloom tomatoes, squash and persimmons. Persimmons are what I like to call the fall tomato.
It’s all the different flavors, and the cooler evenings make the root vegetables even sweeter. Overall, it’s a wonderful time to be in the kitchen.
And it all happens because of where we are.
In California, we’re blessed by the weather and the seasons just roll into one another. This is the only placed I’ve lived where, for example, you can almost do tomatoes and pumpkin at the same time.
Having trained in Las Vegas and later owning a restaurant in Utah, I can tell that you that getting great tomatoes isn’t as easy in other regions as here. Other areas just don’t have as many nearby sources. You bite into a strawberry here and in the Midwest, and you’re going to taste the difference.
For Porter’s in the Forest sous chef James Arbaugh and me, the change to fall is reason to celebrate.
Having worked together at La Bicyclette in nearby Carmel-By-The-Sea, James and I know that as chefs we can get bored.We like to be creative and have fun with the menu. We like to keep things fresh and unique. We don’t like the menu to stay stagnant. Out here, we can change the menu six to seven times throughout the year.
We want to make sure our guests, both golfers and non-golfers, are getting the best product. We call purveyors and find out who has the best beef, period. We contact local farms to see what the freshest fruits and vegetables are available.
It’s all about giving our guests the best dining experience possible.
Sausage & Fennel Stuffing Ingredients (serves 8)
3 lb-Pulled Ground Sausage
¾ Cup-Fennel – Medium Dice
¾ Cup Onion – Small Dice
2 tbl Spoon Garlic – Minced
3 tbl Spoons Thyme – Picked and Chopped
15 Cups Dried French Bread – Large Dice
3 Pints Chicken Stock
3 Cups Dried Cranberries
3 Pints Heavy cream
Salt & White Pepper to taste
In a large sautee pan over medium high heat add the ground sausage and cook until golden brown (this will release the meats natural sugars). Once the meat is cooked add fennel, onion, and cook for about 5 minutes. As the onion begins to become translucent add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes. For the next step add the bread, thyme, chicken stock, dried Cranberries and a little bit of cream. Combine all ingredients and place into a casserole dish. Cover and bake for 25 minutes @ 375 then remove the foil and finish baking for another 10- 12 minutes. Let the dish sit for 5-10 minutes and then serve.
First Tee Open
World Golf Hall of Famer Nick Price once called it the greatest tournament he’s ever played in.
Yes, the same Nick Price who won the 1994 British Open at Turnberry and two PGA Championships.
Beginning Sept.25, one of the Champions Tour players’ favorite stops—The Nature Valley First Tee Open at Pebble Beach—returns to Poppy Hills for the first and second rounds.
During last year’s event, players gave the Poppy Hills renovation multiple thumbs-up. Davis Love III even compared it to Augusta National.
“I think it’s very nice. It’s not as severe as before,” Love said. “At times you’re like, ‘Wow, it looks like Augusta. The 16th to me has an Augusta look with its big amphitheater and no rough. They did a good job.”
The First Tee Open features 81 Champions Tour competing side-by-side with 81 juniors representing The First Tee, a program where kids (ages 5-18) nationwide can learn values and life skills that help prepare them for high school, college and life.
The defending champion is John Cook. Admission is free.
St. Mary’s senior Jonathan De Los Reyes didn’t win the annual NCGA Amateur Stroke Play Championship at Poppy Hills in July, but he left with a course record.
In Sunday’s final round, De Los Reyes fired a 6-under 65 with the course playing at 6,716 yards. The previous low on the new Poppy Hills was a 66 by Blaine McCallister during the 2014 Nature Valley First Tee Open at Pebble Beach.
“It was a really good round,” De Los Reyes said. “I was just hitting it in the right spots.”
After a front-nine 34 that included a birdie, a bogey and an eagle on the par-5 9th, the Sacramento resident caught fire. On the back-nine he’d post a 31 with five birdies to go against just one bogey.
De Los Reyes’ round included two other putts for birdie that lipped-out.
“Towards the end of the round I was getting pumped,” said De Los Reyes, who finished in third place after beginning the day nine strokes behind eventual winner Robby Salomon.
Poppy Hills’ Evan Boone is Merchandiser of the Year
Shopping for some golf equipment or accessories? If so, the guy to talk to is Poppy Hills Merchandise Director Evan Boone.
Boone, a graduate of New Mexico State University’s Professional Golf Management Program, is so good at what he does that he recently was named as Merchandiser of the Year (Public Course) by the Northern California PGA.
The former head pro at Bayonet/Black Horse GC and Pine Mountain Lake CC oversees the Poppy Hills golf shop, which features equipment, apparel and accessories from over 50 different manufacturers.
Among Boone’s philosophies to serving his clients are:
Making sure he has something for everyone
Not buying things that only he likes
Buying quality products from trusted vendors
Maintaining a great relationship with your representatives
Pricing things fairly
“In 10 years of being a head pro and merchandiser, these are the things I’ve learned that will make your merchandising concession successful,” Boone said. “I also didn’t do any of this alone. You can’t do it all without great management and a great staff.”
NCGA Women’s Tour
A Women’s Amateur Tour and Senior Women’s Amateur Tour have arrived at the NCGA!
On October 1, the NCGA will unveil its latest tournament programs.
A Women’s Amateur Tour (for players age 50-under) and a Senior Women’s Amateur Tour (for players age 50-over).
The Women’s Amateur Tour currently consists of 17 tournaments including the annual NCGA Women’s Amateur Championship, the California Women’s Amateur Championship and a number of USGA championships.
The Senior Women’s Amateur Tour consists of five tournaments including the NCGA Senior Women’s Amateur Championship, the California Senior Women’s Amateur Championship and multiple USGA championships.
The tournament season will run from October 1 to September 30, 2016 and will feature the same points system the NCGA currently uses for its Men’s Amateur Tours.
At the conclusion of the season, awards will go to the Women’s Player of the Year and Senior Women’s Player of the Year.
Fun Facts: Poppy Hills & Ridge
Poppy Hills recently hosted the St. Mary’s Invitational. In 1991, Hills hosted the NCAA Division-I Men’s Championship. Among those in the field was Phil Mickelson, then at Arizona State.
Poppy Ridge has only one tree within its 27 holes, a valley oak near the 8th hole of the Chardonnay nine.
Mark Kavanaugh – No.15
Peter Wainright – No.2
Jim Ono – No.11
Tom Huster – Merlot No.2
Ethan Robertson – Merlot No.11
Thom Ravey – Merlot No.2
Ron Johnson – Merlot No.2
Jon Avila – Merlot No.17
E.C. Powell – Chardonnay No.3
Greg Healy – Chardonnay No.7
Ron Mupo – Zinfandel No.2
Mike Bosma – Merlot No.2
Tim Sommers – Merlot No.8
Mens: Colin Peck (73)
Women’s Low Gross: Sue Stryker
Women’s Low Net: Stacey Baba
Golf Instruction Play With the Pro
Sept. 24 at Poppy Ridge. Nine holes with the pro and on course tips. Call 925-456-8202.
Poppy Ridge Golf Academy
Every Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m.-noon. FREE group lesson with $10 bucket of balls.