CANADIAN GOLF MAGAZINE RATING:
BEST COURSE IN THE NAPA REGION
It’s for the wine. No joke. When we decided to play Johnny Miller’s Silverado, we were only in the area for the wine. We love wine. We also love Johnny Miller, especially after drinking wine. We love Johnny Miller because he’s a rebel like us. He seems like a nice guy, but even when he’s being complimentary there’s always a hint of insult in his speak. And no matter how hard or what player wants to come down on Johnny, he’s never changed.
Of course this has nothing to do with the golf at Silverado, but Johnny Miller does. Silverado is his baby. He won a couple of tournaments here in the 70’s and wound up buying a home off a pond at the 11th tee where he raised a few kids and probably dunked few golf balls too. We wonder, does Miller drink Miller?
In between visits to the plethora of wineries in the region we played the North Course, which Miller renovated and hosts some major PGA TOUR golf tournament we don’t watch.
And let us tell you, it was a great place to get our drank on.
- Type: Resort
- Season: Year round
- Architect: Johnny Miller, Ben Harmon, John Dawson, Robert Trent Jones Sr.
- Location: Napa, California
- Year opened: 1955
- Holes: 18 | Par 72 | Length: 6793 yards | Slope: 133 | Rating: 72.6
The North Course drove us to near insanity. We couldn’t read the greens for the life of us. There were so many hidden breaks that if these greens were a traffic jam there would be nothing but fender benders.
The greens were on the small side. Like greens you would expect on a classic old golf course they had tons of slope. They were also super fast. One of the regulars in our stick and ball group had played the course before and told us to be below the hole. Our equilibrium’s may have been a bit off for the entire round, but we never stop short, and that made for a long day on these perfectly manicured carpets.
If you’re one for setting, Silverado has it in spades. It’s surrounded by mountains and its gentle elevation changes and well-treed corridors make for a pleasant place to yell fore.
Silverado North is a strategic WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) old course. Placement is key as the fairways are pretty toight. Green’s are heavily guarded so approach shots are at a premium, even more so than the bottle of Cab Sav Mondavi we had stashed in the sack.
19TH HOLE THOUGHTS
Silverado isn’t necessarily a course you would go out of your way to play, or at least not one you should be hopping on a plane to get to. Some people tell us they enjoy playing courses the pros play, but that’s not worth the fare of a plane ticket to us. Plus, we couldn’t care less because we don’t ever see them play it. That said, Silverado North is a very good golf course no doubt. It’s a classic style, laid back round of golf in a beautiful setting for drinking wine.
If you’re in the area for the grape juice and want to play some stick, then we’d say this should be your first choice. But if you’re thinking of making a special trip from anywhere outside NorCal, it can wait until you’re hitting the cellars of this wino heaven.
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