North for the Holidays, Part 1

I haven’t had many new posts lately, but I’ll be busier over the next couple weeks.

It’s that time of year when I make my annual trip to Northern California to spend the holidays with family. As usual, I stop for some golf along the way.

My trip began with a round at a nice course just outside of Sacramento…

Catta Verdera Country Club • Lincoln, CA • 12/20/16

I met up with a friend who set up the round here. We were slated to go off behind the morning member groups. They had a pretty long frost delay, but fortunately there weren’t too many groups out on a Tuesday and we were teeing off by 9:40. We had to wait on all our shots and the pace seemed rather slow, but we still finished in a little over four hours. The price was $55, which included a $10 gift card. I was able to use mine for a breakfast sandwich and drink at the snack shack.

This course is now considered semi-private as they do allow some public play throughout the week. It has a private club feel with very nice clubhouse and practice facilities.

We started on the back nine, which is the tougher and more interesting nine out here if you ask me. It features some target golf, but also requires decent length on most holes. There are some quirky elements and the par-5 11th is not set up well for me. I hit one of my best drives of the day, but was completely blocked out by trees and boulders on the corner as this hole makes a very sharp dogleg to the left at an awkward distance.

Other than that hole, I enjoyed the layout and the setting a lot. The course reminded me very much of nearby Whitney Oaks. It has similar terrain with huge boulders and oak trees in play everywhere along with creeks and various water hazards. It’s not super hilly, but it never feels that flat anywhere either.

The signature hole here is probably the par-3 17th. It has a nice look with elevated tees and a water hazard to contend with. The 18th is also a very nice-looking hole that provides some challenge to finish your round.

The course was in pretty good winter condition, about what I’ve come to expect from good NorCal courses this time of year. The tee boxes were good. The fairways were shaggy and soft with a lot of mushy spots, but the grass coverage was pretty lush and green for the most part. The rough was spottier looking with a lot of brown, and also pretty soft and squishy in most areas. I was in one bunker and it had very nice soft sand. Others looked a little less enticing, though. The greens were easily the highlight of the course. They were quite soft, but rolling very smoothly at medium-fast speeds. Anything rolling past the hole would often slip uncomfortably 3-5 feet by.

So far, my experiences in the Roseville/Rocklin/Lincoln area to the northeast of Sacramento have all been enjoyable. This is a nice area and the courses reflect a higher-end style of life without the really high prices similar courses would demand in Southern California. If you have a chance to play Catta Verdera, I’d easily recommend it. I thought the overall layout was probably more memorable (especially the back nine) at Whitney Oaks, but Catta Verdera was a better overall experience. If you like one course, you’ll probably like the other.

Some pictures from Catta Verdera Country Club (12/20/16):

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After finishing at Catta Verdera, my friend and I parted ways. I first drove over to nearby Turkey Creek, but it was too busy and I likely would not have finished all 18 before dark. So, I decided my best option was to play a 9-holer. I ended up working my way further north to check off a course that was kind of isolated and somewhat on the way to where I was staying that night.

Colusa Golf & Country Club • Colusa, CA • 12/20/16

Being a course out in the country, I didn’t expect too much. This course would definitely qualify in my book as “pasture” style golf as it’s pretty wide open and basic. It’s a 9-hole layout, but it is of regulation length (par 36 and 3,322 yards from the back blue tees). They recommend the blues for the front and the whites for the back if you want to mix it up for a full 18.

The price was rather expensive ($27) for nine holes with a cart. It wasn’t too busy out there, but I still jumped around a little to avoid other players and I was finished in just over an hour.

There really isn’t that much to highlight about the course. Like I said, it’s pretty straightforward. It reminded me a lot of Forebay or the Porterville muni, with kind of a simple, raw Central Valley kind of feel on 9-hole regulation courses.

The course conditions were pretty suspect for winter. I’m sure it presents a little nicer during other parts of the year. Everything was pretty browned out and hit or miss throughout tee boxes, fairways and rough. I was in one bunker and it was pretty decent. The greens were actually pretty good. They were receptive and rolling smooth at medium-fast speeds (faster than they looked).

This is just a local’s course out in the country. There aren’t really any other courses too close by, so it serves its purpose just fine.

Some pictures from Colusa Golf & Country Club (12/20/16):

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