Vintage Golf – A Drive to Wine Country

Consider your journey to Silverado Resort and Spa in Napa, Calif., the driving equivalent of a split fairway on a par 5. Take the shorter route and your journey will be quicker. Using the more scenic route will take you a bit longer. But whether you fly into Oakland or Sacramento (the shorter options) or San Francisco (adding almost 20 miles to the drive), you’ll be rewarded with stellar golf in the heart of wine country.

If you’re not in a hurry, grab your Avis rental car at SFO and take I-380 West to I-280 North. Golf aficionados will know that as you cross from Daly City to San Francisco proper, you’ll be driving by an incredible foursome of courses on the left. That includes Harding Park, site of the 2020 PGA Championship (held August 6-9), plus a trio of private clubs (The Olympic Club, Lake Merced Golf Club, and San Francisco Golf Club) that make it a very exclusive golf neighborhood.

As you transition onto CA-1 North, you’ll pass through Golden Gate Park, home to must-sees like the de Young Museum and the San Francisco Botanical Garden. A few city blocks later you’ll pass through the sprawling Presidio, a former military base that is home to an enjoyable daily fee 18-hole layout where the fairways are lined by tall Monterey Pine and Eucalyptus trees.

The Golden Gate Bridge will come up quickly after The Presidio. At the northern end is a turn off area usually full of tourists getting their picture taken with the famous bridge right behind them. But the better viewpoint is up above that in the Marin Headlands, where you will get (fog permitting) a dazzling view of the San Francisco skyline. Continue heading north on US-101 and the waterfront towns of Sausalito and Tiburon offer plenty of dining options. Or keep going and take the exit for CA-37 heading east toward Napa.

Silverado Resort and Spa has a long history of hosting professional golf tournaments, a tradition revived in 2014 after Johnny Miller’s superb renovation of the North Course in 2011. The stunning transformation returned the very walkable layout to its former glory, and it’s scheduled to once again host the PGA Tour’s Safeway Open this fall (September 10-13). The hillier and shorter South Course is no slouch, either. Ongoing enhancements there over the past three years have included bunker removal and a transition to the same grass used on the North Course. No matter which you play, check out the famous “burger dog” available from the snack shack on each course.

The resort itself, with 340 rooms and suites, is centered around the historic Mansion House, which dates back to the 19th century. A renovated terrace there overlooking the 18th hole of the South Course offers a tasty new tapas menu. It’s one of five dining options to go along with tennis courts, a spa, fitness center, and multiple pools, all operating within current safety protocol guidelines. Multiple wineries are nearby for tastings and restocking your wine rack at home.

“Having two high quality courses here means you can really enjoy a golf vacation and not have to go off-property,” said Director of Golf Operations Cody Sherrill. “Plus, being in the heart of Napa Valley, Silverado is quite a special location.”

Check out the July/August 2020 Edition of TROON Magazine