World-class Golf Hidden in the Sierra Foothills

With five golf courses within a 45-mile radius, Calaveras County is a northern California golf destination that can’t be missed.  And if you haven’t considered making the trek to the Sierra Foothills for a golf vacation, you might want to book a trip soon because it’s about to get a little bit harder to get a tee time…

Golf in the Foothills

The Golf Club at Copper Valley in Copperopolis (pictured above) and Greenhorn Creek Resort in Angels Camp (pictured below) have caught the attention of the golf world.  In 2013 Golfweek named Copper Valley one of California’s 10 “Best Courses You Can Play” among iconic courses like Pebble Beach, Spyglass Hill and Torrey Pines’ South Course. Prior to that, called Greenhorn Creek Resort a “hidden gem.”  You can read their review of the course and see a video here. Both courses, which have  convenient on-site resort lodging, boast hole after hole of spectacular Sierra views and challenging play.

Greenhorn Creek Golf Resort
Greenhorn Creek Golf Resort’s 13th hole.

La Contenta Golf Club in Valley Springs has been honored by Golf Digest and continues to improve as one of Northern California’s best public/semi-private golf clubs. An 18-hole championship course, features rolling terrain, beautiful vistas and wonderful course layout to make your round a total joy. Designed by Richard Bigler, the course features a blend of meadow and valley fairways and rolling highlighted by the dramatic drop of the signature 13th hole. The purest of putting surfaces has been achieved by undergoing a bent grass conversion, eliminating most poa annua grasses.

Golf in the Mountains

Sequoia Woods Country Club offers a challenging 18-hole golf course in a beautiful mountain setting. Nestled in the western Sierra Nevada at a 4,000-foot elevation, this course makes dramatic use of the local terrain, combining the natural meadows and slopes of the first nine holes with the narrowed, pine tree-lined fairways of the second nine. The resulting course brings golfers challenging play and fabulous views. The course was designed by well-known architect Bob Baldock, and the par 70 course is suitable for all levels of players. Open for a 10-month season, closed only in the coldest weeks of winter, and located above the fog line, there is plenty of sunshine and nice temperatures to get a round of golf in.

Forest Meadows Golf Course curls up in the Sierra foothills and is a Robert Trent-Jones, Jr., 9-hole course surrounded by spectacular giant pines, great oaks, towering cedars and running creeks – creating an idyllic setting for a round of golf.  Whether you’re looking to improve your game, or simply want to indulge in relaxing day of golf close to Murphys, this is a perfect course to enjoy for every level of golfer.

Disc Golf or Mini Golf

Calaveras disc golf
Feeney Park disc golf in spring

Golf enthusiasts of another kind have a reason to flock to Calaveras County.  Disc golf courses—or Frisbee golf as some know it—are popping up all over the county, giving outdoor enthusiasts yet another reason to come to the area for an extended stay.

  • New Hogan Reservoir in Valley Springs:  Offers two 18-hole courses with rolling hills, gorgeous oaks, challenging holes and great views of the reservoir.  Day use fee $4.  Overnight camping also available. Best time to play:  Year-round, October thru May if you prefer cooler weather.  Getting there:  Heading east on Highway 12, turn right at CA-26W. Continue onto Hogan Dam Road.  Turn left onto New Hogan Parkway. Continue into Fiddleneck Day Use Area.
  • Feeney Park in Murphys:  Tree-studded 18-hole course close to downtown Murphys’ restaurants, shops and over 20+ wineries.  Best time to play:  Year-round.  Getting there: Heading east on CA-4, turn right onto Pennsylvania Gulch Road.  Feeney Park is immediately on the right behind Michelson Elementary School.  Course maps available at SNAC on Main Street Murphys.
  • White Pines near Arnold:  New 9-hole course dotted with pine trees and conveniently located next to White Pines Lake and the Arnold Rim Trail for added recreational opportunities.  Best time to play:  March thru November (year-round depending on snowfall). Getting there:  Heading east on CA-4, turn left onto Blagen Road in Arnold.  Follow Blagen Road to White Pines Lake.  Course begins at far end of the lake.
  • Rick’s Revenge in Bear Valley:  Scenic and wooded 18-holer situated at over 7,000 feet.  Best time to play: June thru October (depending on snowfall).  Getting there: Heading east on CA-4, turn left on to Bear Valley Road.  Course maps available at Bear Valley Adventure Company (first building on left).
  • Plug Ugly in San Andreas:  Calaveras County’s newest 18-hole course at Alex Quinones Community Park in San Andreas opened in 2016.  The course, which overlooks ball fields, was developed by the San Andreas Recreation and Park District, and features tone poles decorated by local artists.  Getting there:  Heading north on Highway 49, turn right onto Mountain Ranch Road in San Andreas. In about a mile, turn right on Park Road at the Plug Ugly sign.
  • Murphys Mini Golf in Murphys: A self-serve operation built by friends, community members, and local businesses, this locally-themed, interactive mini golf course includes mystery spinner play challenges – as if mini putt-putt wasn’t fun enough already! A portion of the proceeds go back into community organizations and to help local families in need. At $7 per person for unlimited play, this could be a great way to spend the day “on the links”!

With world-class golfing right here in Calaveras County, why choose just one? Make a long weekend of it, and play a few courses while you’re here. Stay to visit award-winning wineries, explore thrilling caverns, and experience endless outdoor activities that can be found along the Ebbetts Pass Scenic Byway and throughout Calaveras. Hey, you can’t play golf the whole time, right?