This latest trip up north resulted in rounds a three different private clubs on three consecutive days, so it was nice having a marquee round to plan each day around. My friend was able to line up a round here at Woodbridge Golf & CC through Boxgroove. Woodbridge is located just north of Lodi and about a half-hour south of Sacramento.
We had a 1:30 tee time. It was busier out there with members than we thought it might be on a Sunday afternoon when both the Raiders and 49ers were in action. However, this facility has 27 holes and that helped spread out the groups pretty well. We were slated to play the Lake/Middle combo, and we were also able to play the River combo afterward. They were generous enough to let us play the complete circuit on a not-too-busy day. We played through and around a few member groups along the way, but otherwise finished all 27 in less than four hours. It couldn’t have worked out much better.
Woodbridge was designed by Harold Sampson, and the course origins actually date back to 1923. I felt like all three nines had equal appeal and similar qualities. I did think the River nine had the most character overall, but I could also see that as the nine that the members love to hate. The entire layout at Woodbridge features plenty of dogleg hole designs as the entire course is fit fairly snugly into a property that isn’t really that huge for a 27-hole layout. However, the trees line the fairways nicely to provide visual direction and also help minimize crossover play between holes. They made very efficient use of the space here.
The 7th hole of the Lake nine is the signature par-3 at Woodbridge and it’s the one you are most likely to see in pictures (it’s on the front of the scorecard). There isn’t anything that distinctive about it, but it is a very nice little par-3 over the water and it is pretty much all carry with a short iron or wedge for most (143 yards from the blue tees). As long as you get beyond the hazard, there is some more room for error on the other side.
My favorite hole on the Middle nine was the par-3 8th, which is tucked back into a corner and has a nice aesthetic presentation. It also features one of the more difficult and undulated greens you’ll find at Woodbridge.
Speaking to my point earlier, the River nine had several holes that stood out to me as unique and maybe a bit funky. The 5th and 6th create a very tricky back-to-back set that present some rather difficult angles of attack. The 5th is a relatively short par-4 that doglegs pretty much 90 degrees about 2/3 of the way up the fairway. Big trees and also precariously located houses keep you from being able to cut the corner with anything but a huge draw (or lefty cut) that has to turn very late. It’s an awkward and tough hole.
The 6th hole of the River nine is similarly demanding. It is an average-length par-5 (523 yards from the blue tees). It’s kind of a double dogleg. The tee shot is relatively straight and then the fairway veers slightly toward the left. However, the fairway takes another super-sharp turn right as you get close to the green. This one is all about positioning and will be a three-shot strategy for most. Longer hitters would have to execute two very perfect shots to have an eagle look here. The tee shot would likely have to draw for max distance and then the second shot would have to cut hard for a righty player.
The conditions were definitely good overall and probably the most lush looking of the private clubs I played on this trip. I still wouldn’t say things were that great by private club standards. They were working on some tee boxes (some were scalped and others freshly overseeded and shaggy), but nothing that affected play too much. The fairways were very nice in general. The rough was mostly lush with thick and sticky rough along the fairways. It was not super deep, but the ball usually settled in enough to make you work for a recovery. The further you strayed from the fairways, the less consistent things were. The bunkers had nice soft sand. The greens were very receptive and rolling well at medium speeds.
I’d say Woodbridge is definitely worth a look if you ever get an invite to play it. It’s a pretty friendly club with modest facilities/amenities and it offers a fun 27-hole layout to keep thing interesting.
Some pictures from Woodbridge Golf & Country Club (9/30/2018):
(Click on any picture below to pull up a gallery slideshow.)