Greenhorn Creek Resort: A charming course at the edge of the Sierras in Angels Camp, California

ANGELS CAMP, Calif. – The splendors of playing at Greenhorn Creek Resort spill out in front of golfers standing on the 13th tee. The green sits well below next to a small pond tucked into a grove of trees. The foothills of the Sierras in the backdrop look like mountains without the snow-capped peaks. The hole is short enough, at 150 yards, to expect a reasonably good score, but one slight miscalculation on club or shot selection, the ball is gone. This summarizes Greenhorn Creek succinctly – it is both scenic and a fun challenge to play.

The 6,749-yard course, which dates to a 1996 routing by Don Boos redesigned by Robert Trent Jones Jr. in 2001, has aged well. It celebrated its 20th anniversary last summer with World Golf Hall of Famer Patty Sheehan, an LPGA Tour legend who helped design the course. Originally a cattle ranch, the land rises and falls through large stands of oaks. The trees provide a natural buffer, despite housing on most fairways.

A combination of five par 5s and five par 3s allow ample chances to score. Several of the par 5s on the front side, the 494-yard fourth and 507-yard seventh, can be reached in two. The fairways pinch tighter on the more wooded and secluded back nine. Beware the namesake creek to the right of the fairway and crossing in front of the green on no. 17, a twisting, difficult par 4 of 421 yards.

The clubhouse encourages people to stay awhile to enjoy the laid-back vibe of California's Gold Country, either by tasting wine in the Cellar Room or dining on a nice meal at Camps restaurant upstairs. Just like the golf, you won’t leave disappointed.

For those who want to stay longer, there are several lodging choices: the Greenhorn Creek Cottages, the Worldmark Villas or the quirky but cool Caddy Shack, the former home of the office staff that has been transformed into the ultimate secluded hangout for small golf groups (12 or less) or multiple families who want to stay and play together. With its proximity to wineries such as Ironstone Vineyards, the restaurants and bars of downtown Murphys, caverns to explore and skiing at Bear Valley, there's always another adventure waiting in surrounding Calaveras County.

Apr 19, 2017

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Jason Scott Deegan

Senior Staff Writer

Jason Scott Deegan has reviewed more than 700 courses and golf destinations for some of the industry's biggest publications. His work has been honored by the Golf Writer's Association of America and the Michigan Press Association. Follow him on Twitter at @WorldGolfer.