Foxtail North Golf Club
Dollar for dollar, shot for shot, Foxtail North is one of the best deals in the North Bay, or the region, for that matter. $52 dollars? On a weekend? In the wine country? And, on a full-bodied, big-boned, well-conditioned golf course?
Both Foxtail North and South are reincarnations of the Mountain Shadows golf complex, which, to put it nicely, had not aged well. In 2003, both underwent much needed renovations. Architect Gary Linn redesigned the north course. He added forty-five bunkers, undulated the fairways, and changed some tee shapes and positions. Unfortunately, Linn could not remove the houses that surround and line most of Foxtail North, but the course is so engaging, and the fairways so fair, that you are less likely to notice them. Besides, if the houses were not there and this course was surrounded by vineyards, you would probably pay much more to play there.
Foxtail North has Bermuda fairways and bent grass greens. They ran a little slow on the day we played, but rolled true and consistent. The sand, in places, seemed to be getting a bit thin, but winter was coming on. Anyone with two, well-functioning legs can walk Foxtail North, easily. Players who prefer carts will enjoy the GPS.
The front nine has several interesting holes, including the par-3, 112-174 yard, 3rd. Water and a large bunker protect the front and right side of a large, slightly two-tiered green.
The par-4, 10th, ranges 311-349 yards, but don't let the distances fool you. This hole bends right, around a lake. It's one of those 'bite off as much as you dare' kinds of holes, with an uneven shore and three well-placed bunkers to keep a player honest.
The par-4, 328-441 yard, 11th, is as good and classic as any hole, anywhere. It looks simple, but plays like a bear, due to three bunkers, one in the fairway, and two more fronting the front right side of its sloping green. As my friend, John Sheehan noted, "If the pin is right, it demands that you play a cut. Nothing else will hold the green." And, if a player fails to successfully challenge or carry the hole's left-side fairway bunker, he or she is unlikely to have any chance or angle with a second shot, at all.
Foxtail North is a golf course without pretense. Technically, it qualifies in the 'resort' category due to an affiliation with the nearby Doubletree Hotel, but on the day we visited, we saw locals, and not many of them. The pace of play moved right along. It certainly does not charge resort prices. More important, it is a better layout and golf experience than many of the high-minded places, elsewhere.
golf, wayne freedman
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