As most of our readers know, we strive to promote golf at various types of golf courses be they a municipal entity or privately owned, resort or daily fee.
On this, day 5 of the feature “Prospecting for Golf” we had the pleasure of, which by the end of the round could be deemed the honor of, playing a truly amazing golf course located within one of the most beautiful developments I have ever seen.
Winchester Country Club was the epitome of a private country club, oozing with class and quality. What it lacked was any air of snootiness or snobbery which often is part of the country club mantra.
Located up Interstate 80 northeast of Sacramento towards Reno, Nevada, it not only is the most stunning Robert Trent Jones Sr. and Jr. collaboration, but also is where you will find our host, and in his own right a 5 star in his field, Head Professional Kirby Lee. He is a very welcoming, warm hearted man and made us feel extremely at ease with his friendly smile and personable manner.
The winding drive in on Winchester Country Club Drive was stunning as it meandered through a beautiful forest. The array of impressive, architecturally designed homes was jaw dropping.
It was obvious that this was an affluent and likely exclusive place to live, which if this is what your lifestyle demands and what you aspire to – I say look no further.
The houses were of various styles, but unlike many golf courses lined with homes none of them encroached on the course or any shot. If anything they were a welcome sight for those who, like us, appreciate magnificence.
There is much more to Winchester Country Club than a round of golf as on the way down to the clubhouse you pass a fantastic swimming and tennis centre. As well, walking and hiking trails can be seen throughout the area. Now to the clubhouse, one of the most dramatic looking and striking buildings I have ever seen on a golf course. Perched high above the course its exterior is a combination of rock, timber and glass and honestly as world class as you can get. The interior is remarkable, the Pro Shop of boutique quality and the locker rooms contain private shower closets, with granite, marble and beautiful hardwoods throughout. Colognes, lotions, soaps and gels were laid out tastefully and in abundance for the members and guests usage.
Now to order of the day, playing this Trent Jones masterpiece. Last November, we spent 7 consecutive days playing 7 courses on The Robert Trent Jones Trail in Alabama. We were keen to see what this Northern California site had to offer. If I was to use the often overused text messaging abbreviations of the day I think every descriptive line would end with OMG. That’s Oh My God for those of you living in the dark ages.
From the moment young Ryan assisted us getting our golf clubs loaded up on the high end Club Car Precedent line, to the final putt out on 18 this was as good as it gets anywhere in the world. Yes, that’s 195 countries and almost 35,000 golf courses.
The practice range would put many actual courses to shame and yes pyramided golf balls on the range is a special touch, but mini 4 ball pyramids surrounding the practice putting green? I have to do it, OMG!
Sent on our way by a very bright and friendly starter, we pulled up to the first tee and it was a repeat of a phrase I have shared with Myra but a scant few times, “Hon, this is going to be more than amazing”.
There are certain moments we record and report on in each review, the signature hole for example. This entire course is a signature and without a doubt one of the finest and most iconic Robert Trent Jones designs.
His trademark bunkering which I adore, huge but fairly laid out bent grass greens and the quintessential RTJ flow to the fairways on the course.
Specifically, there were moments and holes that require mentioning. All of the Par 3’s are fair and fun, but without a doubt the 15th is stunning surrounded by water on 3 sides.
The course guide states that the Par 4 10th is not only the longest par 4 in California, but is also the number 1 handicap hole. Therefore, walking off with a one putt par for me and an equally impressive one putt bogey for Myra was very rewarding considering that the second shot is all downhill with a creek left and trees to the right. Her one putt was 30 feet downhill, bang right in the heart.
Myra’s 13 putt front nine was extraordinary on very fast, but perfectly maintained greens. I love greens where they are of a speed where when they slope upward behind the hole and a ball putted long actually comes back down toward the hole. 54 for my good lady on the front was more than impressive. My simple goal of making a birdie was in jeopardy as pars were at a premium and my last chance was on the outrageously, spectacular Par 5 18th know as “Be Boulder”.
Armed with my new M4 Taylor Made driver, I was going all out and bombed my drive right down the pipe between 2 huge 10-foot-high fairway boulders. With an uphill second shot of 230 yards left and a back right blue pin I focused on staying smooth and balanced striping a 3 wood onto the green. My eagle putt was some 55 feet and when I left the first putt 15 feet short my shoulders dropped a little. Somehow I picked the correct line and drained a right to lefter for my birdie.
Few courses are suited for all levels of golfers, but with 5 sets of tees and gentle side slopes on many of the fairways which aid in keeping it on the short grass combined with perfect, I mean perfect, greens being a member here would be far from boring or repetitious.
To continually list the top courses I have played globally would not only sound self-serving but boastful, so trust my qualified judgement please when I tell you this course and facility is world class.
Check out the website below and arrange a tour here, if you, like us are looking for a very desirable location to live a dream life.