Teal Bend Golf Club: Fairness Rules in Sacramento

By Jeffrey Weidel, Contributor

Situated close to the easy-going Sacramento River and the city's rather modest international airport, Teal Bend Golf Club borrows a little bit from each location.

On a good day when your golf ball is obeying orders, the layout can appear as non-threatening as the modest flow of the nearby river. The fairways offer plenty of landing room, the greens are fair, and the hazards not so hazardous.

However, on those days when the driver gets unpredictable and hitting the irons becomes a guessing game, Teal Bend resembles an annoying trip to the airport, where nothing seems to go as planned.

"A lot of people say how much of a cup-cake golf course this is," Teal Bend head professional Nate Pomeroy said. "But if you start getting goofy lies in the rough or you start hitting out-of-bounds, it can get difficult real fast."

Play it well and the reward will arrive. However, often times a few wayward shots into wide fairways protected laterally by wetland hazards lead to double and triple bogeys. Stray shots get gobbled up on this track, so beware. And the rough is no place to be. The rye grass makes for some difficult lies.

"I like this course a lot, but I would like it even more if I could hit my driver straight," said Mike Grieco of Cameron Park. "The conditions are excellent and the greens are real nice."

This was the first attempt by course architect Brad Bell, a Sacramento golfer who had a brief stay on the PGA tour. He's earned a reputation for developing enviable layouts that are both scenic and fair.

Although a relative newcomer to the Sacramento golfing scene, Teal Bend has quickly become one of the favorite destinations among area golfers since opening in 1997. The course is typically in wonderful shape, featuring well-manicured fairways that offer plenty of running room. The greens are typically swift and the roll is a smooth ride to the hole.

Located on 250 acres of relatively flat land, the course is typically quiet on the front nine. If you don't mind the occasional noise of a plane taking off, the backside offers a mostly serene quality as well.

Annoying wetlands are numerous, regularly devouring wayward golf balls and ruining a potentially strong round. Depending on the point of view, the Pro Shot golf system comes with each cart, offering yardage at every inch of the course. Not every golfer believes the yardage, which is supposed to be extremely accurate.

Carts are part of the green fees and so is free access to the range, where unlimited balls can be hit. There is also a fine practice area for chipping and sand shots, plus a sizable putting area. Green fees are $39 Monday through Thursday, which includes cart and range balls. The price is $52 Friday through Sunday.

Teal Bend can play very long (7,061 yards) from the back tees. It measures 6,588 yards from the blue tees, not an overwhelming distance for the average golfer. The white tees go 6,022 yards and the ladies play from 5,077 yards.

The first hole is hardly threatening. The fairway is generous on this par-4 that goes 408 yards (all yardage is from the blue tees). Avoid the right-side bunker, don't go deep and the round should be off to a fine start.

Don't go right off the tee at No. 2 (par 5, 515 yards) or you are dead. There's lot of room left. The second shot has a group of oak trees as a barrier for anyone trying to get home in two shots. Hit the ball out to the right side and the result is a short iron on the approach to this long green.

Unless you can bomb a drive past the three bunkers on this dogleg left hole, the wise choice at the third hole (par 4, 323 yards) is a 3-wood or less off the tee. An accurate second shot can leave a nice birdie opportunity.

The first par-3 arrives at No. 4, going a modest 160 yards. A pretty hole with little trouble. Be careful at the fifth hole, which is short (347 yards), but requires accuracy off the tee and second shot. The green is small, there is a bunker to the right and trees to the back. Don't get too greedy or that birdie might become a double bogey.

At No. 6 (par 4, 376 yards), the trees on the right side are 163 yards away on this dogleg right hole and claim their share of poor drives. Keep the ball left and don't go too far, 3-wood could be the way to go. Two huge traps at greenside, so beware.

Off to a good start? Don't get careless now. The next two holes are two of the most difficult on the course.

Off the tee at No. 7 (par 4, 395 yards) there is a huge sand bunker to the left that turns to the right. As you approach the green at the dogleg there is another sand bunker to the left in front of the green. No disgrace bogeying here. The hole is rated the third toughest on the course.

Waiting ahead at the eighth hole (par 5, 544 yards), is the No. 1 handicap. There are traps off the tee. But go 240 yards or more and take them out of play. The safe play is middle right. The hole narrows on the second shot. This is the longest hole on the course and goes 587 yards from the tips.

Water is a prime factor at No. 9, a par-3 going 162 yards. Stay left to avoid the water and the course's shortest hole gets much less intimidating.

A par-5 awaits at No. 10, featuring a wide fairway on this 504-yard hole. A big sand trap awaits errant second shots. Big hitters can reach in two. Should be a nice way to start off the backside.

Stay left off the tee at No. 11 (par-4, 415 yards). Beware of the bunker and water to the right. The hole plays longer than it seems. An easier opportunity arrives at No.12, a par-3 going 175 yards. It runs a little uphill so watch club selection.

If you like the sound of airplanes taking off, this hole (No. 13) is for you. There are traps everywhere on this par-4 (357 yards), so use caution. No. 14 is a return to the long par-4, a 421-yard journey that rates the second toughest hole on the course. There is some bailout left of the tee, use it if you can.

A big fairway awaits at No. 15. It provides a needed break from some tough holes. The distance is 416 yards, so don't be short off the tee. The last par-3 measures 181 yards, the first 140 needed to get past the water hazard. A bunker back left adds to the difficulty at No. 16.

A sharp dogleg right characterizes this intriguing hole, which has a large water carry off the tee and is well-bunkered at greenside. The distance at No. 17 is only 502 yards. Two smart shots and this could become a birdie hole.

The 18th is another wide fairway that shouldn't be intimidating. The hole goes 387 yards, which means two accurate shots with some distance should result in a greenside landing.

"I like this course, I think the layout is great," said Jim Brown of nearby Woodland. "Where the fairways and the hazards come into play is pretty well defined. It is a course that you want to come back and play."

Teal Bend Golf Club
7200 Garden Highway
Sacramento, CA., 95837
Phone: (916) 922-5209
Fax: (916) 646-8716
Head pro: Nate Pomeroy

Jeffrey WeidelJeffrey Weidel, Contributor

Jeffrey Weidel has been working in the Sacramento area as a sportswriter since 1981. He is currently the Assistant Sports Editor of The Press-Tribune, a three-day a week paper in Roseville. An avid golfer with a 10.6 index, Weidel has been the paper's golf writer for six years.


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