The Vineyards are an integral part of not only the name, but the game at Napa’s Eagle Vines Vineyards & Golf Club.
A visit to the well-known wine region of Napa, California inevitably brings with it the question, “Where do I play golf?” The sage answer has increasingly centered upon the Eagle Vines Vineyards & Golf Club.” Set right in among the vineyards over rolling terrain, Eagle Vines features an attractive combination of golf and surrounding beauty, and fun golf challenges together with good services and values at a convenient location.
Eagle Vines Vineyards & Golf Club is tucked away in the foothills just five miles southeast of Napa offering one of the most scenic courses in the area. It is also one of the most challenging. Every hole on the golf course provides stunning views of the surrounding vineyards. The layout sprawls across gently rolling hills that weave through stands of mature cherry and oak trees, shimmering waterfalls, and meandering creeks.
Eagle Vines came into existence somewhat ready-made with ten of the original Shakespeare Course holes from the adjacent Chardonnay Golf Club. Affecting the fortunes of both facilities, these holes were among the best of the then 36-hole Chardonnay Golf Club. In fact, after you complete the first hole, you will play the next eight holes from that Chardonnay group – the best and most memorable holes of Eagle Vines – though the others are good as well.
The dogleg left par-four 7th hole entices the long hitters to take out their driver and go for the greens, but they have to carry the vineyards that are out-of-bounds.
Too often when two different designers combine at different times (Johnny Miller’s group with the new holes and Algie Pulley with the former Chardonnay ones), the look and feel is apparent, disjointed, and doesn’t work very well. Eagle Vines is the exception. The newer Miller holes actually blend in nicely as newcomers would scarcely never know the difference.
Eagle Vines is actually very versatile test. Mostly generous fairways allow for some mistakes, but missing to one side or another usually translates to a big score. Also to be noted is that the vineyards are played as out-of-bounds so at least mentally the driving challenge becomes just a bit tighter. There is plenty of bunkering, but the relatively small, tiered putting surfaces place a premium upon stellar shot-making and don’t surrender birdies easily. The sea-level yardage of nearly 7,300 yards from the tips along with a not-to-distant ocean breeze make for a genuinely strong test resulting in a stout 75.1/136 rating/slope. If the vineyards or rolling terrain and greens don’t force a mistake, there is an ample amount of water to snag careless shots.
Many holes feature expansive vistas of other holes and always, the vineyards.
If there is a sizzle to Eagle Vines, you encounter it early in your round. The stretch between the 2nd hole and 9th is robust with plenty of variety. The second with its tiny green is a monstrous 499-yard par-four played on flat terrain. The fourth hole is a classic lay-up and pitch hole across Fagan’s Creek (had to get that in), followed by the water guarded 447-yard dogleg left two-shotter. The coup de grace is the 166-yard 6th. Featuring many elevated terraced tees, you aim for a huge and very wide island green complete with bunkers. Judging the elevation, wind, and your own strength makes for one of the most challenging club selections anywhere in America. Depending upon the hole location, this can be very challenging test.
The amazing tee shot from the elevated par-three 6th hole.
While many other area golf courses are either struggling to maintain playing volume or have small declines in rounds or revenue, Eagle Vines is bucking the trend. Their tee sheets continue robust with a host of outings and tournaments. That translates into the only negative side – slow play. That said, Eagle Vines is a gorgeous spot to slow down and enjoy the golf course views and beyond.
The other nice aspect that I’ve encountered during several visits is the friendly professional folks and excellent service you will encounter from the golf shop, staging area, and beverage cart all the way home to the restaurant with its expansive views of the vineyards and golf course. Just as a crisp iron approach will feel unusually good here, so will a glass of local wine sipped while enjoying views of the gorgeous vineyards. The facilities are modern, clean, comfortable, and sensibly sized – and yes, the views are what you probably have imagined of Napa’s Wine Country. As its name suggests, Eagle Vines comingles a loving harmony of golf and nature. When you gaze upon the rolling hills, babbling creeks, shimmering waterfalls, working vineyards, glorious oaks, countless birds, and an occasional birdie, you will fully understand the essence of Eagle Vines.
If you’re in Napa area and looking for an affordable, memorable golfing experience, Eagle Vines Vineyards and Golf Club makes for an excellent first choice.