1. sixpez Posted: 08/30/14 8:33p Member Since: Oct 16, 2003 From: Irvine
I decided to attempt a fun and unusual double-dip today, playing at the lowest course in the world (Furnace Creek at 214 below sea level) and then heading up to Sierra Star (highest course in Californ... Continue »
I decided to attempt a fun and unusual double-dip today, playing at the lowest course in the world (Furnace Creek at 214 below sea level) and then heading up to Sierra Star (highest course in California at over 8,000 feet). I got started early at Furnace Creek, though admittedly by playing so early I kind of "cheated" myself out of the hardcore Death Valley summer golf experience an afternoon round would provide. Anyway, I booked a 6:00 tee time on their site. When I got there early, I noticed the sign on the pro shop said they open at 6:30. The workers did show up a little after 6:00 and opened up, but they didn't have me on the tee sheet. I guess that's just a phantom time that they don't bother removing. No worries, I was still teeing off first on my own at 6:15 and done in less than 2 hours. Price was $30 with cart, which I believe includes unlimited play in summer months, but I was only up for 18. There were actually quite a few people out there in the morning trying to beat the heat on a very mild morning.
Though far from great, the course was in much better shape than I would have expected for late August in Death Freaking Valley. Everything left a little shaggy with primarily kikuyu to stand up to the heat. Fairways and rough had their fair share of bad patches, but relatively well maintained with defined, consistent cuts. Tee boxes okay enough. Bunkers fine. The greens were the weak part. I was worried on the first hole when the green was more sand than grass, but the rest were OK. They were verticut but not sanded. Still pretty bumpy. Very firm, but very slow.
This is a pretty basic course. Nothing too exciting about it. Flat, mostly pretty wide open. The back nine does tighten up some with a few short dogleg holes lined with old tamarisk trees (I think that's what they're called). Basically, the biggest appeal is to say you played golf in Death Valley at the lowest course on earth. Unless you're a weirdo like me, not worth going so far out of your way for unless you are already visiting the park or staying at the Furnace Creek Inn. I did not notice any significant distance loss because of the low elevation this morning, but I know most people say it's a club extra at times.
I saw at least a dozen coyotes out here, including 3 super cute pups playing together and having a good old time. The 'yotes were cool, but the flock of vultures perched in the trees along the 18th fairway were a little creepy.
2. 140ver Posted: 11/28/13 9:17a Member Since: Jan 4, 2009 From: san diego
Played 11/19. Over-priced at $60 rack rate and $45 for twilight, but just go done paying $5/gal. for gas, so it's all relative. You're in Death Valley, and this is it for golf. The course is billed... Continue »
Played 11/19. Over-priced at $60 rack rate and $45 for twilight, but just go done paying $5/gal. for gas, so it's all relative. You're in Death Valley, and this is it for golf. The course is billed as 214 ft below sea level and you don't get much higher, no elevation changes. That said, it's a fun little par 70 course. Par 3s are all interesting, a couple good 4s and average 5s. The green complexes are the highlight and in very good shape. I think this was a Dye redesign, but around the greens is the only place it was evident. A lot of short par 4s on the back is a bit of a bummer. Clubhouse guy was okay, cart guy was very friendly. Lots of wildlife. This place is like driving on a long trip, you're really hungry. Pull into the only restaurant for 100 miles. Figure how bad can a burger be. It's a little expensive, but you're surprised at how good it is and glad you stopped. I wouldn't drive there to play it, but if you're out there, you'll have fun.
Just a side note, Furnace Creek, you need a new logo. Death Valley, lowest golf course, "Furnace Creek." At least make me want to buy a hat.