by Nicholas Kontis
Less than 70 miles from the City by the Bay, San Francisco, lies my new home base, the Napa Valley.
|Time skipping scenery on immaculate fairways in the Napa Valley (photo courtesy of Chardonnay Golf Club)|
Hall of Fame golf legend Johnny Miller discovered the Napa Valley in the late 1960s. Miller became intoxicated by the breathtaking surroundings and particularly the scent of the trees. "With all the oak trees in the area, I’d never smelled anything like it," Miller recalls. "It was this incredible aroma that captivated me."
Now as a Napa Valley resident and part owner of the Silverado Resort and Spa Miller said, "Is there a better area for food, wine, and golf? I don’t believe so."
The Napa Valley provides a relaxing, romantic weekend for couples or golf and wine trip getaway with the close friends.Many visitors to America’s preeminent wine region of the Napa Valley are blending in a few rounds of golf along with a journey based on viticulture.
While St. Andrews in Scotland is the birthplace of golf, the Napa Valley is the preeminent appellation of origin and the area that put American wines on the map.
There are around 500 wineries, offering everything from Cabs with black cherry and licorice flavors to robust Zinfandels. The area spans the spectrum, from appointment-only tours of cult hidden vineyards to producers offering mass-produced wines.
Some visitors arrive for a hop on the Napa Valley Wine Train, which runs along the heart of the valley, making pit stops at marquee wineries while leaving the driving behind.
|With a backdrop of vineyards and rolling hills each round of golf is an unforgettable experience (photo courtesy of Chardonnay Golf Club)|
With mild winters and warm summers, the Napa Valley is the new home to a few professional golfers who have lent their names to wine brands.
The comingling between wine and golf extends to LPGA golfer, Cristie Kerr, and Pride Mountain Vineyards. Kerr’s devotion to Napa Valley wines has contributed to a limited production of her label called "Curvature." The philanthropic Kerr along with Pride Mountain owner LPGA winner Cristie Kerr’s "Curvature" wine label, Suzanne Pride Bryan donate proceeds to a cure for breast cancer.
Professional golfer and wine aficionado, Luke Donald, has joined forces with Terlato Wine Group to produce the Luke Donald Collection, which includes a Claret-style red wine blend as well as a Carneros Chardonnay.
Golf legend Arnold Palmer has teamed with Luna Vineyards, located on Napa’s Silverado Trail. The vintner is one of the first wineries to plant the Italian varietal Pinot Grigio in the Napa Valley.
The PGA’s season-opening event takes place in the Napa Valley, kicking off with The Safeway Open. The event held each year at the Silverado Resort and Spa is considered a must stop on the PGA Tour for all golf fans.
The clash of the game’s premier titans is held each October and coincides with the middle of harvest season, creating a one of a kind venue, bringing together the world’s best golfers in an awe-inspiring backdrop of vineyards.
Golf aficionados make the sojourn to join the games finest players during the fall crush. Epicurean farm to table fare created by world-renowned chefs.A golf course is always nearby in the Napa Valley. With a total of eight golf courses that are available to visitors, the Napa Valley offers a variety of opportunities to get onto the links in between engagement with exclusive wines and California inspired meals.
|Silverado Resort outdoor-terrace on the 18th hole (photo courtesy of Silverado Resort and Spa)|
As tastings vary in the fabled wine province, so do encounters with golf. You’ll find lush resort courses with full amenities, several challenging eighteen-hole local tracks, and for visitors pressed for time, nine-hole layouts for a quick round.
The Napa Valley offers a range of courses, providing golfers of every skill level and devotion to infuse wine and golf on one’s journey. Many courses come complete with panoramic vineyard views.
From south Napa to its northern epicenter of striking municipalities of Yountville, Rutherford, Oakville, St. Helena, and Calistoga, there are courses throughout the valley.
|Vineyards on the link of the Chardonnay Golf Club (photo courtesy of Chardonnay Golf Club)|
Chardonnay Golf Club
Located in the town of Napa and featuring eighteen holes of championship golf to challenge players of all skill levels. The layout meanders through more than 150 acres of Chardonnay vineyards. You’ll find numerous lakes, creek crossings, and a wide variety of native trees, shrubs, and wildlife.
It’s common to see majestic hawks, kites, kestrels, hummingbirds, and an occasional soaring golden eagle. If you come early or stay late, you might see rabbits, squirrels, foxes, and many other "critters" strolling through the fairways.
For more information: www.chardonnaygolfclub.com
Eagle Vines Vineyards and Golf Club
This eighteen-hole, par-72 golf course situated in the foothills has 360 sweeping vineyard views in every direction. The eco-friendly course, designed in part by the PGA Hall of Famer, Johnny Miller, was founded to harmoniously blend the Valley’s magnificent open spaces and nature with golf.
Eagle Vines has made a profound commitment to protecting the extraordinary natural environment of the Napa Valley while giving golfers a challenging incentive to test their skills.
For more information: www.eaglevinesgolfclub.com
Napa Golf Course at Kennedy Park
The demanding eighteen-hole tournament golf course includes an 8,500 square foot putting-chipping green and has twenty-two driving ranges. Four sets of tees make the course accommodating to any skill level. Napa Golf Course is also user-friendly, fun, and provides affordable access to all.
Stay and play packages include the picture-perfect locale for an intimate destination wedding. With a theme of making golf accessible to all, professionals are on staff to provide well-informed lessons.
For more information: www.playnapa.com
|A golfer’s dream is playing 18 holes at the Silverado Resort (photo courtesy of Silverado Resort and Spa)|
Silverado Resort and Spa
The grand dame of the Napa Valley offers two championship-level eighteen-hole courses set against the eastern hills of the Napa Valley. Redesigned by PGA Hall of Famer Johnny Miller, both the north and south courses offer world-class golfing for resort guests and feature dozens of water crossings, elevation changes, and routing through historic oak trees. The resort hosted the PGA Tour from 1968-1980 and produced a prestigious list of winners, including Jack Nicklaus (1969), Ben Crenshaw (1980), Tom Watson (1978), and two-time winner and tournament host, Johnny Miller (1974-75). Silverado Resort and Spa was also a Champions Tour venue from 1989-2002. Now, Silverado is home to the Safeway Open, bringing top PGA Tour competition to Northern California, while furthering its charitable and economic efforts in the local community.
The resort hosted the PGA Tour from 1968-1980 and produced a prestigious list of winners, including Jack Nicklaus (1969), Ben Crenshaw (1980), Tom Watson (1978), and two-time winner and tournament host, Johnny Miller (1974-75). Silverado Resort and Spa was also a Champions Tour venue from 1989-2002. Silverado is home to the Safeway Open, bringing top PGA Tour competition to Northern California while furthering its charitable and economic efforts in the local community.
Silverado is home to the Safeway Open, bringing top PGA Tour competition to Northern California while furthering its charitable and economic efforts in the local community.
For more information: www.silveradoresort.com
Vintners Golf Club
Most visitors to the Napa Valley will be spending evenings dining in a French countryside-like setting in the charming town of Yountville. Vintner’s nine-hole course features three different sets of tees. The course is designed to accommodate to anyone with an affiliation to golf. Players of all skill levels marvel at Vintners Golf Club, mentioning a treasured delving into a round of golf in iconic wine country. The Lakeside Grille is an attractive venue and offers a full bar and is a favorite among locals for an after- round bite and features nearby wines, craft beer, and cocktails.
For more information: www.vintnersgolfclub.com
Meadowood Golf Course
|Vineyards comingle on the fairways of the Chardonnay Golf Club (photo courtesy of Chardonnay Golf Club)|
Meadowood Golf owned by two celebrated vintners, H. William Harlan and Stan Kroenke, combines legendary vintners with flawless greens in a commitment to both wine and golf. Located in St. Helena, Meadowood Golf Course is for resort guests only and has recently opened its fairways for play after a time staking redo. This nine-hole, roundabout golf course offers flawless playing greens and perfect conditions in a gorgeous setting.
Nature surrounds it within the luxurious Meadowood Napa Valley Resort and Spa. A chance of a lifetime to play this scenic course affords resort guests to take a step back in golf’s early days. Dating back a century with clubs made of hickory wood. The use of golf balls replicated out of trip sap, provide a priceless round of golf.
For more information: www.meadowood.com
With a claim to fame as being one of the oldest golf courses west of the Mississippi, Aetna Springs at the very northern border of the Napa Valley in Calistoga. Situated among the rolling hills, vineyards, and ancient oaks of Napa’s tranquil Pope Valley, the celebrated Aetna Springs has been a favorite haunt for golfers in the wine country for more than a century.
The meticulously rejuvenated, Tom Doak designed, nine-hole track dates back to 1893, roughly four decades past California’s Gold Rush. Golf Digest voted this mini-course as the fourth best nine-hole golf course in America.
For more information: www.aetnasprings.com
Mt. St. Helena Golf Course
Located on the Napa County Fairgrounds in historic Calistoga, the nine-hole, par-34 course is a beautiful course for novice golfers, yet attractive to advanced golfers as well. The course’s shorter length and flat layout make Mt. St. Helena an immaculate choice to acquiesce into the game of golf. The cozy open spaces make it challenging to advanced players, as its narrow tree-lined fairways and smaller greens demand accuracy and a particular skill set. Mt. St. Helena Golf is an ideal course for families and groups of friends.
For more information: www.mtsthelenagolfcourse.org
The marriage of wine and golf co-mingle well in the Napa Valley and remains on par with a hole-in-one adventure!