Golf at Sevillano Links up in Corning: What you see is what you get

By Mike Bailey, Senior Staff Writer

CORNING, Calif. -- At Sevillano Links, what you see on the golf course is what you get –- a few blind tee shots combined with outstanding conditions, expansive practice facilities and a fun, daily-fee experience about 115 miles north of the capital city of Sacramento.

Sevillano Links golf course - No. 5
The dogleg-right, par-4 fifth hole at Sevillano Links presents a semi-blind tee shot.
Sevillano Links golf course - No. 5Sevillano Links golf course - No. 1Sevillano Links golf course - No. 15Sevillano Links golf course - Nos. 16 and 17Sevillano Links practice facility
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The Links at Rolling Hills

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2657 Everett Freeman Way
Corning, California 96021
Phone(s): (888) 331-6400, (530) 528-4600
18 Holes | Public/Resort golf course | Par: 72 | 7823 yards | ... details »

For those who don't mind a little strategic planning, firm conditions, plenty of bunkers and undulating greens, Sevillano Links, host of the Northern California Open, fits the bill. It's an excellent-conditioned golf course that gives up plenty of room off the tee but can penalize those who get greedy. It's a golf course that calls for strategy, presents risk-reward opportunities and tests golfers of all levels with its five sets of tees, marked by Sevillano olive-shaped markers.

Owned by the Rolling Hills Casino and located next to the facility, Sevillano also carries John Daly's name as its signature designer. And while we can only speculate how much the actual design work involved Daly -– Clive Clark and Michael Stark are the professional architects of record -- his input is unmistakable.

In fact, as part of the golf course's early promotion in 2007, a set of "John Daly tees" basically transformed every hole into a par 5, making the golf course a par 90. At 10,000 yards, it was next to impossible for all but the best players, with carries of more than 260 yards on many holes. In the end, the event became part of the golf course's lore, though officials no longer promote it. Instead, they prefer that guests enjoy the par 72-layout, which ranges from 5,500 yards to 7,800 yards -- still pretty long for most players.

"Really, you need to play this golf course a couple of times to get a good feel for it," said Ron Kuwata, PGA Professional at Sevillano Links. "But once you play it a couple of times, you can pretty much figure out where to go."

Plenty of turf at Sevillano Links

From the first tee, you see green that seems to extend forever against the backdrop of native grass and the occasional water hazard. The trick? Find the right line off the tee, depending on what set you play and how you drive. On some occasions, it might be more prudent to pick a shorter club to find the widest part of the fairway, because during certain times of year, anything out of the short grass may end up lost.

Sevillano Links' fifth hole is a great example. A driver off this downhill, dogleg right can yield a short approach to the hole, which plays as long as 492 yards. From the tee, it looks like a shot over the fairway bunker on the right is the correct line, but anything right could find out of bounds. And a driver left of the bunker could sail through the fairway. Even though the hole has some length to it, a fairway wood or hybrid left of the bunker might yield more predictable results.

Many of the holes also afford clear options off the tee. The par-5 seventh and 15th holes come to mind. The seventh, a dogleg left at 585 yards, features a fairway island on the left in addition to a more generous fairway on the right, which severely shortens the hole. The 15th has a similar scenario, but a water hazard separates the two fairways.

Many of the holes are little more obvious, such as the par 3s, though all are challenging. The 16th, at 225 yards from the tips, is perhaps the most picturesque, with water surrounding two sides of the green.

Sevillano Links: The verdict

First-time visitors might criticize the golf course, because it doesn't all sit in front of you. Pay careful attention to the yardage book. And even then, it can be difficult to pick a line and trust it, like on the par-5 10th and par-4 17th. Conservative tee shots on those holes work best if you've not played the golf course. You can't see the golf ball down and may have a difficult finding it -- much less playing your shot if it's slightly off line.

Still, Sevillano Links offers an enjoyable golf experience, and it's inexpensive to play. Conditions are exceptional. The bentgrass greens run true; the golf course is very scenic, and golf carts are equipped with GPS. Service at Sevillano Links, in the shop and the clubhouse dining facility, is also first rate. And if you lose money on the golf course, you can always try to make it up at the nearby Rolling Hills Casino.

The facility includes excellent practice facilities. There's a large grass range, practice bunkers, putting greens and chipping areas. Sevillano also offers individual and group lesson from its staff of golf professionals.

Stay and play at Sevillano Links

The golf course and Rolling Hills Casino were developed and owned by the Pakenta Band of Nomlaki Indians. For those who would like a bite to eat after golf, plenty of options exist, including excellent steaks at the Timbers Steakhouse and an all-you-can-eat buffet at the casino.

Visitors can also book overnight accommodations at properties located on the grounds -- the Vagabond Executive Inn and the Ramada Inn and Suites. There's also an RV park nearby. The accommodations, the casino, the restaurants and the golf course set up well for a weekend golf trip.

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.

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