Golf Course Review 1 (Grizzly Ranch)

One of my favorite hobbies is golf. I freaking love golf. Although I do not have a registered handicap, I normally shoot in the mid to high 80's and get the pleasure of playing many different courses in northern Nevada. So I am going to blog about the courses I play to offer an opinion on two things: 1.) The condition of the course itself, and 2.) the "bang for your buck" experience at the course. While it seems that many courses can charge whatever they want because people will pay it, I have watched three courses in my area close down in the past five years. It seems like golf courses have not adjusted their strategies to fill up tee times and still insist on charging an arm and a leg rate. In my golf review blogs, I intend to give my 2 cents worth to people who enjoy playing nice, fun, challenging courses without sacrificing their first born for the cost of 18 holes. I also hope to speak with some grounds keepers to get some of the ins and outs of golf course maintenance. I'm a lawn guy, I care to know how some of these courses stay in such great condition.

This week, a few friends and I had an amazing opportunity to play Grizzly Ranch Golf Club. Most people have never even heard of this place because it is tucked away in the Sierras near Portola, CA, but it is one of the most beautiful golf clubs around.

It is well worth the short 50 minute drive from Reno to play this beautiful mountain course if you can find a good rate that the club house will honor. I say "honor" because Grizzly Ranch recently offered a text message coupon for a 2 for 1 round (which would equate to $40 per person), and my foursome planned to use two of them.  They only accepted one.

The stipulations were that you had to text the coupon that said "share with friends" to your friend, then show it at the club house.  However, they denied one of our discounts because we did not send the text message until after we arrived on site, rather than before we got there. We debated the club house attendant over this unstated detail, but we lost.

After all the time spent driving we did not want to turn back to Reno, so we just sucked it up and paid three rates between the four of us, which came out to $60 a piece. I do have to say, however, that unlike other courses that charge $60.00 Grizzly Ranch is still a great deal. (Their peak season rate is $109.00). Still, we were pretty pissed because no matter how nice your course is, you honor an advertised coupon to draw first time players back. Their stubbornness left a bad taste in our mouths.

After our club house debacle, we teed off with only 10 other players on the course for the whole day. While this is amazing for the players, this shows why courses like Grizzly Ranch need to find better ways to attract mid-week golfers when no members are around. The course conditions were near perfect and had little to no evidence of wear from the dry winter, like many of the courses in Reno are experiencing, but there was virtually no one there.

The greens were in great shape but were very slow due to the morning dew, as well as the fact that they had not been cut in a few days. The course was challenging and in such great shape that I would go back with another discounted rate. Their twilight rate of $89.00 is too rich for my blood, but I would recommend taking the time to drive up there and play if they offer another coupon. If you do go with a coupon, just be prepared to read the invisible fine print before you make the drive.