Situated six miles south of Copperopolis, one of the many small former mining towns that are dotted throughout Calaveras County, the 18-hole semi-private layout at The Golf Club at Copper Valley (formerly Saddle Creek) is a Carter Morrish design dating back to the mid-1990s.
Nestled in the Sierra Nevada foothills, close to the Stanislaus National Forest and Big Trees Lake Park, the course is just one of the many outdoor sporting amenities available to guests and residents of a real estate development around which the fairways are routed.
The course is laid out in a figure of eight across undulating terrain in two large loops, with no two holes running parallel to one another. Small ponds and streams come into play from time to time in what is a very natural environment for playing golf.
Standout holes include the right doglegged par four 2nd (“Cape”), where water runs the length of the fairway, the par five 8th (“Gambler”), which has the green positioned behind a small pond, and the par three 14th (“Redan”), built in homage to its North Berwick namesake.
Copper Valley is a great option for somebody trying to get out of town from the Sacramento or Fresno area for a short little one-day golf trip. I do see they have some options for overnight stays. I did not take advantage of these available accommodations, so I cannot comment, other than I can see they are conveniently located just a few hundred feet from the main clubhouse.
The golf course starts out quite nicely with an exciting elevated tee shot on the 413-yard 1st. Other holes to note on the front are the 241 yard 5th, where the tee shot can be fed onto the green from right to left. - however, don’t overdo it, as it falls off hard left into heavy native near the green. Then there is the 540-yard 9th - here the fairway narrows significantly as one approaches the second set of fairway bunkers and a tucked right rear hole location makes for a great challenge on the approach, as this green angles from the left front to the right rear and is guarded by a deep greenside bunker.
I felt like the back-9 had had even more character than the front. Holes of note on the back starts with the 430-yard 11th. This is a great risk-reward dogleg right where one can take a chance to bite off some of the corner. The tee shot is demanding in the sense that anything too far right will find the hazard, however, if one goes straight down the middle with anything of decent length, the ball can also go straight right through the fairway into the native. The 483-yard 12th plays kind of the same way as the 11th, without the water hazard. If one has the length, the line truly should be over the fairway bunker on the right in order to find the center of the fairway and the tee-shot on this line is blind. I went this direction a little bit on accident and found that my ball, which I thought was too far right, was actually dead center. The 202-yard 13th is great fun with a high elevated tee shot. The 522-yard 17th is a reachable par 5 with water fronting the green for those who want to take it on. And then comes the 18th (pictured) - a beautiful short straight-away par 4 with another elevated tee-shot and a beautiful water hazard in the foreground of the green. This sets a up a nice clubhouse view for those watching players finish their round.
Copper Valley is a very nice course in a beautiful setting within the foothills of the Sierra Nevada’s where the drive to the course may be even more interesting that than the course itself and that’s not taking anything away from the golf course. It seems the course is somewhat of a residential development. However, many areas are still undeveloped and I found most of the homes adjacent to the course were set back enough that the course still maintained a nice remote atmosphere. The course has recently change ownership and used to be known as Saddle Creek. I never played it in the Saddle Creek days and thus have no idea of any additional changes, other than the course name.