It isn’t very often I would justify a drive of almost an hour to play a round of golf unless of course you lived in such an isolated remote area you had no other choice.
That wasn’t the case with our golf day at Yocha Dehe GC. We actually passed numerous golf courses on the way to this amazing jewel in the golfing crown and I would make the one-hour drive any day to play there.
Lying in an isolated remote valley outside of Brooks, California, yes Brooks, California some 50 miles west of our home base in Sacramento California, this 8 year old somewhat links feeling Resort style spectacle lays out the red carpet for all those who play there.
To make the reviewing process more efficient I use a rating sheet that I carry on a clipboard to rate numerous aspects of the golf course, from quality of the course itself, to the customer service, the facility as a whole and the overall golf experience.
Anyone looking over my shoulder at this rating sheet one would see it is peppered with 9’s and 10’s. I have only ever rated one golf course in the world in every category a perfect 10 and on that day at Kingsbarns in Fife, Scotland it was enhanced by a sunny 70-degree windless day. My 37-38 for 75 from the back tees cemented its perfect mark.
We could already see the quality of what lay ahead passing the welcome sign on the roadway in. Parking outside the outstanding looking clubhouse amidst what looked like a showroom of cars from a high-end car dealership was enough for me to look over at Myra and say, “ Hon this is going to be special”. And special it was.
The pro shop was beautiful, the weather was also, the staff was and the golf course too. Saying the chicken wrap we ordered at the turn was beautiful would be odd but it paralleled everything we encountered on this day. It was really delicious.
A warm hello from Head Golf Professional Chris Sheffield followed by some very hands on and friendly service at the pro shop counter from Assistant Golf Professional Elliott Paylor, who gave us some specific shot making hints and suggestions set us onward feeling really excited about playing this gem.
We drove the very classy Club Car Precedent cart away from the pro shop uphill towards the driving range enjoying a 15-minute warm up, hitting as many of the pyramided complimentary balls, all golfers are entitled to, as we wanted to. Generosity was not in limited supply as logoed wooden tees were there for the taking and that kindness transferred out on the golf course. In all my years of golfing around the world I thought I had seen it all. On every 3rd or 4th tee box were much needed complimentary bottles of ice cold water kept nice and cold in actual glass fronted small fridges. Wow what a place to play. The course lacked nothing and if climbing uphill to the driving range wasn’t enough of an impact the further steep climb upwards to the first tee was extraordinary. Rising some 150 feet above the first fairway the vista of the entire course beneath us was stunning. As we waited for the two some in front of us to tee off, we had a few warm up putts on another practice putting green situated up a few steps above the first tee box.
The starter Alex gave us a few pointers and watched as I pumped my opening drive off the elevated launching pad right down the middle as it took a good 8-10 seconds to land. What a rush!
Stopping to take photographs was almost a distraction as I could have taken 3 or 4 per hole. The fairways were lush and cropped just to that perfect height for hitting anything from a fairway wood to a wedge with the same consistency. The greens were large, framed by numerous fair bunkers their design complimenting the contour and shape of the adjacent aprons. The sand was like sifted sugar and not once did we cringe at the thought of not getting out safely. Myra and I were so thankful for this golf day, we just kept smiling as we played hole after hole.
Now this was in no way some flat, easy little muny. From the middle of the 5 sets of tees it was a testy 6449 yards and only 1000 yards shorter for Myra from the forward tees.
I only pared half the holes and Myra’s biggest highlight was an LPGA quality downhill pitch-in from the back of the 11th green for a fantastic bogey. My own starry moment was a 2-putt par on the 205 yard Par 3 13th hole from just over 100 feet or so. The second putt was a tap in from a foot, the first looked like a drive.
The final hole, a bit of beast really, was very rewarding as at 420 yds. the 2 putt par I made there was really good to be honest.
It was without a doubt a must play and the professional touches that the good folks at Troon Golf, the world class management company connected to Yocha Dehe, have implemented make this Brad Bell design a first class golf course and operation and the fourth course under the Troon Golf banner we have played and reviewed.
Thanks to course greeter Gio, Beao in the cart area for taking a photo of us and the very lovely cart gal, Olga to name a few, as well as Superintendent Kyle Jones and his greens staff that is worth its weight in gold.
We caught up with Director of Golf Rusty Seymour who invited us to do this review as we headed to the car and thanked him gratefully, well done fella.
Phone number 530 796 4653