Situated less than ten miles from the Canadian border, the appropriately named Wilderness Club offers members of an upmarket residential development a number of sporting options, from fishing and water sports to basketball and beach volleyball. There’s also a championship-standard golf course designed by Brian Curley and Nick Faldo.
Originally opened as a private club, it’s now available for the general golfing public to enjoy. The surrounding mountains provide a fabulous backdrop on a layout that exhibits several significant changes in elevation during the course of a round, where bluegrass fairways and bentgrass greens are largely bordered by swathes of fescue.
All the noteworthy holes occur on the back nine,
starting with the downhill short par four 10th, played to a pond-protected
green that’s also defended by a lone tree on the right of the fairway. The 12th
is a dramatic par five, sweeping downhill and left to an offset green that sits
on the edge of a large pond and this hole is replicated somewhat at the
593-yard 18th, where both the fairway and the home green are set on the west
bank of Grob Lake.
What a beautiful, challenging course. In general, I think the Par 5s stole the show especially 2, 12, and 18 - what fun holes that provided plenty of options over the three rounds we played last week. The location, condition of the course, quality of golf and the service really provided for a great experience. We had a senior player with us who played the Silver tees once and then the Gold with us and he stated the Silver slope/rating was woefully low as the Gold Tees were harder but not nearly 3-4 strokes harder.
The Wilderness takes an effort to get to as it is very remote and almost in Canada, but it is well worth the trip. The first hole is a welcoming par four. Slight dogleg left with a bunker complex on the inside elbow. Favor the middle, or slightly right. This elevated green is protected by bunkers right front and left rear. The 2nd hole also goes right to left. This long par four has a carry over a waste area with fairway bunkers right and left and a green with two bunkers left. The next four holes are great scoring oppties. The 3rd is the first par 5 and is reachable. A dogleg right, favor the right side off the tee. The two closest bunkers on the right should not pose any difficulty, however, there is a large waste bunker down the right side, so do not let your eyes get bigger than your stomach. This is a long green with two bunkers left. The 5th is a slight dogleg left, with a bunker on the inside elbow. A decent drive will give you an attack iron approach. This green is two tiered with the back right much lower than the left side. The 5th is a Florida par 3, carry over water, pot bunker in front and two really large bunkers back left and right. I don’t understand the magnitude of that design element. The 6th is another dogleg left, slightly uphill. There is a bunker in the inside elbow and a large waste area down the left side. There is also a fairway bunker in the middle of the fairway. Ideal tee shot is just inside that left to set up an attack approach. The 7th is a long par three over a ravine. Right is death and there is a greenside bunker front middle. The 8th is an S shaped par 5. This is all about the tee shot, there is water left, but if you can carry it, then you have a greenlight to go for it. For us mortals, aim at the center of the right fairway bunker off the tee and play it as a 3 shotter. The 9th is a super hole, a long downhill dogleg right. Too far right and you may be blocked out. The fairway ends about 140 yards short of the green as the hole plummets. This is one of the smaller greens with bunkers right.
Make your hay early on the back, the first four holes are your scoring oppties. A short dogleg left with water left and the green tucked behind it. Consider laying up to your preferred yardage off the tee. Whatever you do, don’t hook your drive into the water. The 11th is a dogleg right. Favor left of center off the tee, there are fairway bunkers on the inside and outside elbow along with bunkers short and left of the green. The 12th is a picturesque downhill reverse S par five. A HUGE drive will get to the bottom of the hill to set up a go for it second. For the rest of us, favor the left off the tee and the right on your second shot to take the water hazard out of play. The 13th is the shortest hole, a slightly uphill par 3. The 14-16 holes are all long demanding par fours. The 14th is a dogleg right, 491 yards, favor the left off the tee. The good news is an approach on the left side can be chased onto the green. This hole is above my paygrade. After 14, the 450 yard dogleg left 15th seems manageable. Favor the right off the tee to avoid the left fairway bunker and there is a BAB right greenside. The 16th is a downhill dogleg left with all kinds of trouble left. Off the tee you will be tempted to cut the corner. Don’t. There is a large tree in front of a large fairway bunker on the left, you want to be right of the tree. A high draw is the preferred ball flight starting at the right fairway bunkers. A good hole. You finish with two good birdie holes. The 17th is a short par 3, with a bunker front and two back. The 18th is a par 5 that tilts left with a large water hazard on the left side. There are fairway bunkers right and left in the landing area off the tee. Right is better for both your first and second shots. On your approach aim 5-10 yards right of the flag as the green slopes towards the lake.
An excellent course well worth the effort to get to.