Porterville Muni Golf Course: Where Everybody Knows Your Name

By Douglas Carey, Contributor

If you're the type of golfer who enjoys a little mariachi music at the first tee, Porterville Muni Golf Course is for you. This 9-hole course in California's Central Valley is music to the ears of anyone looking for a quick and enjoyable round.

Located about an hour away from both Fresno and Bakersfield, the Porterville Muni course is a lot like the city itself. Nothing spectacular, but overflowing with local charm.

Dale Bartlett and his staff have done an excellent job creating a relaxed atmosphere at Porterville Muni, where you'll often find neighbors visiting near the snack bar, watching the last few minutes of a close NFL game. Just another day at Porterville Muni, where everybody knows your name.

Green fees are ridiculously low, and I've never had a problem getting a tee time in the six years since I started playing the course. In fact, I can't remember the last time we called to reserve a tee time. The mornings might get a little crowded, but we've always been able to get on after lunch without a problem.

As you might expect, this is a great course for beginners, and there's always a few first-time hackers out there. As a result, experienced golfers should stay alert. The word "fore" was invented for courses like Porterville Muni.

Playing the course provides a true feel for the city, which might not be appreciated by everyone. At the first tee, my father-in-law and I were greeted by the sounds of mariachi music from a house across the street.

There aren't too many houses located on the course, but the sixth hole is bordered by the city's pool, a popular place with the youngsters during the summer. Some might say it's both popular and a little loud. Again, just part of the atmosphere at Porterville Muni.

The first hole welcomes golfers with an open fairway and a relatively easy par 4 at 350 yards. Like most of the course, even if you get off the beaten track a little, there's still plenty of room to recover on No. 1.

Golfers of all levels should find something to like at Porterville Muni, which measures 2,849 yards for nine holes (par 35), with a slope rating of 66.2.

The course's best hole is No. 5, a 400-yard par 4 that features a dogleg right over water to a well-placed green. Follow that with a deceptively tough sixth hole, an uphill par 3 with sand to the left.

At No. 8, you'll find a long par-5 with a sharp dogleg to the right. We also found a pair of youngsters selling used golf balls from behind a fence on the fairway. You just won't find that kind of character at Pebble Beach.

While we admired the kids' entrepreneurial spirit, we didn't need any balls. Even the novice golfer can play 18 holes here (many do make the turn at No. 9 and replay the course) without losing more than a few.

There are certainly other options in the Central Valley, but not too many as comfortable as Porterville Muni. Far removed from the country club atmosphere, this is a hidden gem for golfers looking to have a good time and improve their game.

Porterville City Golf Course
702 E. Isham
Porterville, CA 93257
Phone: 559.784.9468

Douglas Carey, Contributor

Reader Comments / Reviews Leave a comment
  • Hogwash

    Joe Golfer wrote on: Aug 3, 2010

    Dale Bartlett doesn't work there nor does his staff. There is no mariachi music.
    There is no golf pro running the place.
    Just some wannabe named Jeff Gilwitz.
    The course is more like a 9 hole practice range.
    Although the Muni is a voting polling place for elections there is no handicap restrooms for either male or female.