By Elizabeth Kang and Cherie Flowers
Silverado Resort and Spa is a longstanding favorite in Napa, known not only for its proximity to world-class wine, but also for its fabulous “tee,” too. We’re talking golfing, of course, and there’s no better course to tee-off on in the Napa Valley than at this beautiful “stay and play” resort. Here, wine and “tee” go perfectly together — golfers experience the best of both worlds: PGA championship golf, in close proximity to some of the world’s best wineries.
With two championship courses, comfortable accommodations, delicious onsite dining, tennis, swimming and an award-winning spa, Silverado Resort is a definite hole-in-one.
Silverado Resort offers two distinctive 18-hole, quality championship golf courses. A 7,166-yard North Course and a 6,612-yard South Course were both redesigned in 2010 by PGA Hall-of-Famer Johnny Miller. Both of these expertly maintained courses currently host or have hosted PGA tours and championships, with the North Course playing host every September to the PGA Tour Safeway Championship, and the South Course having hosted the PGA Champions Transamerica Tournament from 1989 through 2002. The Fortinet Championship PGA TOUR golf tournament is also slated to be hosted at Silverado in September of 2022.
Head Golf Professional Dave Zorn proudly points out that Silverado Resort works diligently to ensure that their courses are ready to play at tournament level year-round, so whether you play in summer or winter, conditions are always top-notch. Golfers here enjoy use of five different tee box options, so players of all skill levels can enjoy playing. There is also a full-length turf driving range, a large practice chipping green, a large practice putting green, and a private practice area. In addition to golf carts, push carts are available to those who wish to get their steps in.
Since their 2010 redesign, both courses continue to benefit from expert maintenance, careful grooming and thoughtful consideration, including minimizing Kikuya grass to allow Rye and Kentucky grasses to thrive, allowing for better turf conditions, and reshaped, revamped bunkers benefitting with the addition of brilliant white sand. Elevation changes and water crossings add exciting challenges to the game, and Oak-lined fairways, as well as surrounding rolling hills add to the natural beauty of the courses.
Our Favorite Hole
Although every hole on the course is well-designed and memorable, Hole #9 on the south course is the signature hole and the most fun to play. It is a Par 5, 462-yard hole, and tees off from an elevated tee well above the landing area.
Head Golf Professional Dave Zorn agrees that Hole #9 is a favorite among Silverado players. “A good tee shot in the fairway gives the player an option to lay up or to try and reach the guarded green in two,” he said. Zorn warns that although fun, the hole does present some exciting challenges. “Beware of the water left of the green and a bunker right with the green that runs towards the water. Two great shots leave the player with an eagle putt or a chipped a putt for a nice birdie.”
Zorn says that a delicious reward awaits players upon completion of hole #9. “After a fun hole is the world-famous Burger Dog Snack Shack.” (The Burgerdog is legendary in Napa Valley and beyond, featuring a hot-dog-length hamburger served in a hot dog bun, with all the delicious trimmings.)
The Most Challenging Holes
Although both south and north courses at Silverado are fun and playable for all skill levels, there are two holes that are considered very challenging to play, even by the most seasoned players. On the north course, the short par 4 8th hole is considered the most challenging hole, and on the south course, the par 4 6th hole is considered the most challenging to play, according to Zorn. He said of the 8th hole, “Any shot that ends up a short runs the risk of rolling all the way down the hill for a tough up-hill 30-40 yard wedge shot. A good shot on the green sets yourself up for a tough putt. Par is a great score on this hole.”
Describing the challenges of the south course 6th hole, Zorn said, “What makes this hole challenging is the second shot downhill to an elevated green. All short shots will run all the down the hill next to a plethora of divots from previous victims to coming up short and having a tough pitch shot back up the hill 20-30 yards. Escaping with a par on this hole feels like a birdie.”
In addition to pastries and coffee from The Silverado Market & Bakery, wood-fired pizza from Forno, and their famous Burgerdogs, golfers have the option for a more refined dining experience at The Grill.
Offering farm-to-table, seasonal cuisine for breakfast, lunch and dinner, The Grill offers diners a casual, yet upscale dining experience with both indoor and heated outdoor seating, and a variety of fresh, California-inspired dishes to choose from. Choose from classic Eggs Benedict, avocado toast or smoked salmon potato waffle, among other delicious options, for breakfast. The lunch menu offerings include a crab louie salad, Rueben Sandwich and shrimp tacos, and dinner selections include a seasonal risotto, duck confit, and butter-seared Petrale Sole. As expected in the heart of wine country, the restaurant features an excellent wine list, as well as craft cocktails and beer. The Grill also offers a Happy Hour menu, children’s menus, and a decadent weekend brunch.
Family and Junior Golf
Silverado Resort prides itself as a family friendly golf community, and true to their word, they host several camps throughout the year for junior players, as well as afternoon golf programs. The Troon Family Golf Program allows juniors to golf at no cost with a paying adult, after 3 pm.
There are also spring and summer golf, tennis and swim camps that emphasize the fun of the sport, as well as developing the skills and discipline needed to excel in golf and other activities.
Year-round group classes are also available, and low monthly fees for kids grouped in ages of 5-8, 8-11, and 8-13. The Johnny Miller Junior Golf Academy at Silverado Resort is a wonderful resource for both beginner and more skilled young players to develop and hone their golfing skills. One hour and 30-minute private lessons are also available to junior players.
Lessons and Memberships
Silverado Resort offers a variety of private and group lessons, at affordable rates. Choose from 30-minute to two-hour private instruction, starting at just $75, or adult group clinics for only $45. Locals will want to consider getting a country club membership, which offers a wealth of fun for the entire family.
A membership gives families access to two 18-hole golf courses, 10 Plexipave tennis courts, three bocce ball courts, access to the main pool complex with two pools, Whirlpool, and snack bar, preferred pricing for Spa membership and day use, access to a variety of dining options, and so much more.
Whether you’re a local looking for the best courses to play or learn on, or an out-of-town guest looking for a memorable game, Silverado Resort and Spa is your best bet for high quality, affordable golfing that’s a short drive from the Bay Area.