Vallejo's Hiddenbrooke Golf Club is more than meets the eye

By Mike Bailey, Senior Staff Writer

VALLEJO, Calif. - It's easy to get lulled into a false sense of serenity when playing Hiddenbrooke Golf Club for the first time.

Hiddenbrooke Golf Club - hole 12
The par-5 12th at Hiddenbrooke Golf Club is just one of many stunning holes.
Hiddenbrooke Golf Club - hole 12Hiddenbrooke golf course - hole 1Hiddenbrooke Golf Club - hole 5Hiddenbrooke G.C. - hole 7Hiddenbrooke Golf Club - hole 18Hiddenbrooke GC - hole 8
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Hiddenbrooke Golf Club

3 stars out of 5 (based on 2 reviews)
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1095 Hiddenbrook Pkwy
Vallejo, California 94591
Solano County
Phone(s): (707) 558-1140, (707) 558-0330
18 Holes | Public golf course | Par: 72 | 6782 yards | Book online | ... details »

If you catch this Arnold Palmer design in the early or late afternoon light, the colors of the fairways, greens, wispy fescues and tan hills are somewhat mesmerizing. But at every corner, danger lurks, whether it's in the form of a dogleg, sloping green, imposing water hazard or a grove of trees.

Amazingly, you hardly notice the houses in this development located within a half hour of San Francisco and Oakland. They are set back far enough that they don't detract from the splendor of the golf course, which has received a five-star rating from Golf Digest. And the homes certainly don't interfere with golf shots. And at Hiddenbrooke Golf Club, which hosted the LPGA's Samsung Championship from 2000-02, you'll get to hit a great variety of shots.

No two holes alike at Hiddenbrooke Golf Club

"I think what people really like here is the great variety of holes," said Siegfried Wroebel, head golf professional at Hiddenbrooke Golf Club. "The ladies really enjoy it because they think it's a fair golf course."

Indeed, there are five sets of tees, and the more forward tees make the course straightforward to navigate. But move back to the tips of what might seem to be a benign yardage at just more than 6,700 yards, and it's all the golf course you want.

It's also a very memorable golf course. Each hole is unique with its topography and views of the valley and hillsides below. Throughout, you'll find babbling brooks and picturesque lakes and ponds, which often come into play. Those who can shape shots will have plenty of opportunity to work the ball both ways. And the par 5s, in particular, present some risk-reward opportunities.

Hiddenbrooke Golf Club's first par 5 is the fifth hole, which has water all down the left side as well as fairway bunkers. At 539 yards one tee up, many players might think about reaching this green in two, but you almost have to hit a perfect shot to avoid the lake or high grass on the right.

The better bet is the par-5 12th, which may be one of the prettiest holes on the golf course. At less than 500 yards from the tips, it's reachable in two, but the green is perched high around a corner with four foreboding bunkers cut into the side of a hill. Find the wrong place in one of those bunkers, and par is a challenge.

Speaking of challenge, Wroebel believes that the long par-4 eighth, with its narrow fairway and hazard down the right side, is one of the most difficult holes on the golf course. There are also a couple of greenside bunkers and a fairway bunker left on this 440-yard dogleg right, which means you've got to thread a couple of shots.

Hiddenbrooke Golf Club's par 3s also have some bite. For example, the 17th, from the back, is a 227-yard monster over water.

Hiddenbrooke Golf Club: The verdict

Once you start getting into your round, it's easy to see why Hiddenbrooke Golf Club is one of the Bay Area's favorite public facilities.

There's plenty to look at and lots of challenge for every level of player. High handicappers might get frustrated, however, because there are plenty of opportunities to lose balls in the high grass and hazards if they spray it.

Some golfers who have played the course also think the greens are difficult. But while there is a good bit of undulation, they are not particularly tricky and generally not maintained to slick conditions. In fact, because of the movement, they're really not that difficult to read.

Practice facilities are also top notch with range, putting and chipping greens as well as practice bunkers situated between the nines.

Individual lessons are available from the professional staff as well. Hiddenbrooke Golf Club's split-level clubhouse is also one of the more unique designs you'll find anywhere, and the facility boasts a more than adequate grill.

Mike BaileyMike Bailey, Senior Staff Writer

Mike Bailey is a senior staff writer based in Houston. Focusing primarily on golf in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean and Latin America with an occasional trip to Europe and beyond, he contributes course reviews, travel stories and features as well as the occasional equipment review. An award-winning writer and past president of Texas Golf Writers Association, he has more than 25 years in the golf industry. Before accepting his current position in 2008, he was on staff at PGA Magazine, The Golfweek Group and AvidGolfer Magazine. Follow Mike on Twitter at @MikeBaileyGA and Instagram at @MikeStefanBailey.

Reader Comments / Reviews Leave a comment
  • Hiddenbrooke golf course

    David S wrote on: Apr 8, 2014

    Wow! A lot of negative reviews from 2010. I can't speak to this time period but I can speak to 2012, 2013 and 2014. This is an awesome challenging course, also in excellent condition with a friendly staff. Great short game practice area and you are usually hitting off grass on the driving range. I wish they didn't close the grill/bar so early sometimes. Otherwise, I'd put this course among the best in the bay area.


  • change the present stuff personal.

    Luis A wrote on: Sep 24, 2010

    I think the golf course is great! i like the chalenge,but i think the stuff members at the moment including the head pro, are NOT good with costumer service. Jhon Vest who I took golf lessons was the best, and if he was there I will go back for hes very kind and humbold personality. thanks for your time.


  • Hiddenbrooke GC review

    Chatchalai T. wrote on: Aug 4, 2010

    The golf course is just nice but not the best. It's short. I'm a new golfer. I feel that the course is a little challenging but not that stunning. The most important thing is I didn't believe my folks to not playing golf here and I regreted that. I should listen to them and wonder why none of my friends are playing golf here in these few years. I played golf here several times this year. Finally, in July 2010, their staff shew to me the reality of how egoistic they are and how lack of service mind they have, impatient and unknowledgable in how to handle various customers in polite and proper ways, poor management with no customer surveys. I cannot believe they can still keep that kind of inferior service and notoriety until now.


  • Hiddenbrooke Review

    scott berlin wrote on: Apr 29, 2010

    I can not believe that Mike wrote this review on April 15th. Played the course for the 1st time on April 26th and was greatly disappointed. While there's a skeleton of what was probably a very nice course in it's day it clearly suffers from neglect and in need of allot of TLC. Scruffy everywhere, overgrown weeds and unknown to us, punched and sanded greens. I'm always appalled at courses that don't disclose this information at the time of reservation, on the website or even at check in. We didn't discover this till the first green. Hopefully, this skeleton will come back to life but for now leave the dead alone.