GOLDEN RETRIEVER ON THE GREEN: Golf courses, for the most part, are in nature (we say "for the most part" because we must acknowledge those glow-in-the-dark, rock 'n roll indoor mini golf courses, the ones where a lot of us first learned to play as tots). And when something is in nature, well, spoiler alert, nature very often intercedes, or at least makes a cameo.
It might be a squirrel dashing along the fairway or a gull circling the green upon which you stand or the sight of a raccoon seeing if there is anything of interest in your cart. As for dogs? Well, they count among animalia, of course, but you're more likely to see a woodland creature out on a green than your pug or mastiff. That's because the only swinging traditionally done on a course is by a club and not by a wagging tail; dogs can bark or jump on their human at an inopportune time or run off with the ball, if they're fleet of foot enough. But dog devotees know that all of these wagger-based worries are rare, and that the pleasures of having a pup at your side as you golf far outweigh any minor hiccups. The Chalet View Lodge, in fact, welcomes well-behaved Fidos (update: those well-behaved Fidos can be off-leash) on its course, which means you don't have to leave your Lassie back in your hotel room, to get lonely and bored and yowly. They can be out in the sunshine with you as you enjoy the verdant course at the Portola-close lodge.
THE NINE-HOLE COURSE... is welcoming to canines and their people if the greens aren't especially bustling and there's a lot of play-through room. Also note that the hotel sits at the edge of a vast amount of Forest Service land, 1.2 million acres, in fact, so hiking and exploring with your fluffy one is another outdoorsy choice. Pets are also welcome to join their people as they dine at the hotel's restaurant (on the terrace), and there's a hello biscuit at check-in. Fee for one to two dogs to stay? An additional twenty five bucks a night. A chance to soak up mountain-sweet summer air near Graeagle and have your Golden Retriever near, on the course, to enjoy the rays with you? It's pretty unusual, and worth jumping at, if golf and pooches are your twin passions. And seeing how much time people spend on both, they really should meet up, from time to time, in a picturesque spot.