With endless vineyards, sommeliers serving 100-point bottles and multi-Michelin-star chefs at the helm of award-winning restaurants, Napa Valley is well considered the land of wine and food. Travelers come here to sip and savor some of the world’s best vintages against some of America’s best backdrops. Heck, even beer is having a moment here with the new Napa Valley Beer Trail, a five-brewery strip along 29 scenic miles.
A golf destination it is not, but for those who find it hard to take trips without their sticks, the area does offer great opportunities to play. A quiet little gem awaits in the heart of wine country, and if you plan your day accordingly, it makes for the perfect morning activity (pregame, if you will) before you head of to sip cabs at Stag’s Leap.
Vintner’s Golf Club offers a nine-hole par 34 golf course in the popular Yountville area, the perfect activity prior to any wine-tasting afternoon. Designed by Casey O’Callaghan and debuted in 1999, the course has since undergone a redesign by Bob Boldt to include the current set of black tees. Though not very long (less than 5,700 yards from the tips) the course is fun for competitive golfers and forgiving for beginners, with a mix of par three’s and four’s complimented by one par five.
The fun starts on the first hole, a dogleg-left with Vintner’s Lake on your right. You’ll have to hit a long shot down the center of the fairway to give yourself the best angle at the green. Otherwise you’ll be hitting blind over wetlands and trees to get there. Hole three is the easiest par four on the course. Those playing from the back tees will have a large tree on their left but if you hit a nice draw, you’ll be looking at a birdie opportunity – one you’ll certainly want to capitalize on with a tough par three up next. There’s a lake in front of the green on hole four, so you don’t want to hit it short, and if you miss the green to the left your ball is likely to take an ugly bounce out of bounds.
It’s a friendly crowd at Vintner’s – most walk the course to take in the scenery and mingle with the geese (or burn off that Michelin-chef meal). Surrounded by mountain views, 70-foot Sequoyah Redwoods and picturesque lakes, it’s a joy to take it all in on a beautiful day at Vintner’s.
The only par five is the sixth, an uphill fairway with a view of the Veterans Home of California, the largest veteran’s home in the United States. Vintner’s Lake runs along the right side of the fairway on nine – one last scenic hole to enjoy, that is, unless you decide to take a second lap.
It’s hard to ask for more from a nine-hole course in the wine country. Rates for nine range from $16 to $31, making it a great value. And with a fast pace of play, you can get back to sipping and savoring before noon.