Granite Bay Golf Club Filled with Surprising Challenges
As you travel along the driveway into the clubhouse, you are surrounded by rocks, small and large, the namesake of Granite Bay Golf Club. Looking at a hilly driving range and practice green, the valet kindly takes your clubs and keys so you may immediately begin your experience. The Clubhouse is admittedly small, but well stocked with the latest gear; one can get the logoed clothes or some balls for the adventure.
With only two holes without a crink, angle or dogleg in them, designer Robert Trent Jones Jr. developed a tight, compact course with the land available to him. Numbers 1 & 9 straddle the same lake that tempts most golfers with the long shot with greater rewards and greater risks, but always gives the shorter, straighter shot its due in the next shot selection.
The holes following #1 seduces the first time golfer into thinking this is an easy course. However, with the numerous bumps, hills, and blind shots, holes 2, 4, and 5 makes the errant golfer want to toss their clubs into the nearest watering hole and crawl away.
The course opens up after number 7, a short, downhill par three with a sumptuous green, but also with wicked slopes that lead into cavernous bunkers. The wind in the Sierra Foothills also come into play, with a usual left to right wind that pushes the ball into the smallest bunker, where one's head is about level with the green.
Number eight is a short 440 yard par four, with space to draw, fade, or smash it down the middle. The approach shot is an easy five iron for most golfers onto a back to front sloping green.
The back nine begins to reward those who either took a cart or had been in the Army in their youth. After driving to the largest oak in the middle of the dogleg right, par four, a small hike ensues, where one meets the meandering creek and takes an immediate turn for the uphill walk to the ball. The approach shot allows an easy iron into a large green with only a few ceremonial bunkers.
After playing the relatively straight and straight forward, par five number 12, the dogleg effect comes drastically into play on number 13. It doglegs to the left with a wicked downhill slope that allows the long hitter to go through the fairway into a snake-infested hazard.
Designer Robert Trent Jones Jr. developed a tight, compact course with the land available to him.
Number 14 is Granite Bay's signature hole, a 200 yard par three over a valley that requires at least an accurate 190 yard shot. OB lines the left of the hole, and a slope on the right precludes any recovery. After the hike back up to the green, golfers are rewarded with a green the size of Bill Gates' mansion, where one wished to tee the ball up on the green to get it to the pin.
After a short par 5 with a downhill drive, numbers 16, 17, 18 will come into play. For the tired and weary golfers, these are not the friendliest holes on the course. Number 16 is a 400 yard par four with a slope where the landing area is, checking the long drive. Next is an approach shot into a green with a five foot difference from back to front that allows for the looping sidehill breaks of "I Love Lucy" lore.
Number 17 is an uphill dogleg right with a bowl shaped green and a few tactically placed trees to discourage the normal shortcuts golfers might want to attempt. The last hole at Granite Bay is a 440 yard, downhill, dogleg left par four with OB to the left and granite boulders on the right. It is for the straight hitters advantage, as the elevated tee box will carry the distance for the approach shot into a kidney shaped green and deep bunkers.
The greens at Granite Bay are usually very large, approximately 40x30 yards, where the golfer must take heed of the color of the flag in making their shot selection. Also, there is only one flat green, the rest are either bi-level, have a back to front slope, a few undulations, or any combination of the three.
The greens are also slick and the ball has a tendency to break in the last six feet of the putt, so accuracy is much more important than distance in these greens. Also, the sand bunkers that guard the greens are usually very deep, and immense, where it is not impossible to hit the ball into the same bunker you are in.
Lastly, the fairways at Granite Bay are not very generous. With such a compact course, Granite Bay could not afford to give the golfer a wide sweeping fairway, but rather ones where the next shot is usually one into the green, whereas the golfer that finds the rough wishes that he or she had brought their chain saw instead of their sand wedge.
This is a course that a good golfer having a good day will want to come back and beat his old score, but a golfer having a bad day will want to come back only to beat the golf course in his or her next round.
Granite Bay Golf Club
9580 Barton Rd.
Granite Bay, CA 95746