By Richard Barlupi

[media-credit name=”Rick Barlupi” align=”alignleft” width=”300″]McCloud G.C. 1[/media-credit]

I played my first round of golf at the age of 15 and I was hooked from day one. The game for many years was all about the perfect drive, playing against my opponents and constantly thinking under par. Fast forward several decades and my mindset is no longer about the perfection of my swing, course management with ball placement, and the final tally on the score card. The numbers don’t matter and I never keep score anymore. When I tee it up these days, my concentration is to enjoy the surroundings and views while walking down the fairways.

The weekend was fast approaching and I wanted to be on a course that I’ve never played before which offered up some awesome views as well. Google Maps found a collection of courses within 23 minutes of each other that all claimed on their websites overwhelming vistas of Mount Shasta, the highest mountain in Northeastern California, soaring at the dizzying height of 14,162 feet. Off I went with my golf bag in the trunk, eager to play these public courses for the first time.

McCloud Golf Club: Built in 1923 by lumber barons, this 9-hole par, 36-course features a meandering creek, beautiful pines, aspens, and spectacular views of Mount Shasta from every hole. This course offers a small pro-shop and modern clubhouse with a huge deck overlooking the first tee that plays as well as the 19th hole. The restaurant serves up terrific food with a fine selection of adult beverages. Phone: (530) 964-2535;

Weed Golf Club: Established in the hole, par 35 course with panoramas of Mt. Shasta. A well-designed tee to green jewel nestled in the pines. The clubhouse has a variety of refreshments, cold sandwiches and grilled items. Watch players on the last hole from the deck with your favorite brew. Phone: (530) 938-9971;

Mount Shasta Golf & Resort: This 18-hole, par 70 championship course opened in the summer of 1993. At an elevation of 3,500 feet, this beauty features natural alpine terrain, undulated greens and breathtaking views of, you guessed it, Mt. Shasta. The holes are uniquely different with four sets of tees and yardages. Unlike most professional courses of this caliber, you have the choice to rent a cart or walk. No kidding, walking is allowed. The resort side of this facility provides exceptional dining in the Highland House Restaurant, along with chalet rooms equipped with a kitchen, deck, separate bedroom and living room with a romantic gas fireplace. It’s a perfect destination to stay and play. Phone: (530) 926-3052;

All three courses were in excellent condition, offered affordable rates, with no homes in view, and layouts that meandered through nature with magnificent Mt. Shasta in view from most fairways. So, during your next golf round, focus on the surroundings instead of bad shots. Trust your swing, keep your sense of humor and don’t let bogeys ruin the views. If you must put pressure on yourself about the total number of strokes on your score card after 18 holes, remember what Arnold Palmer once said, “I have a tip that can take five strokes off anyone’s game: it’s called an eraser.”