Whitehawk Ranch Golf Club is a championship caliber course in the serene Mohawk Valley in Clio. Designed by Dick Bailey, the course first opened in 1996. It has since racked up several honors, consistently ranking amongst the Top 10 to 20 courses on many editorials’ Best Public Golf Courses of California lists, as well as receiving the Golf Writer’s Association Environmental award.
18 holes | par 71
Yardage 4,799 to 6,955
Slope 107 to 141
Rating 63 to 72.3
The grounds sit on former ranch land and cow pastures. With Sierra peaks in the distance in nearly every direction and several streams moseying through the playing field and into lush ponds and even waterfalls, there’s not a spot on the course lacking a beautiful view. The abundance of fir, cedar and aspen trees, as well as native mountain grasses and wildflowers blooming in the summer time with deer, butterflies swarming by the thousands, several species of birds and cows roaming in adjacent pastures, make this course idyllic.
There are plenty of bunkers, which seem to come into play often, sharp doglegs and water hazards that blend in all too cleverly with the landscape.
Arriving at the course, we were greeted with open arms and a cart fully stocked with wet towels and a cooler full of ice. The practice facility is top notch, sporting pyramids of Titleist range balls to hit off the grass tee pads. There’s also an expansive short game area and a large putting green to get a feel for the short grass. After warming up, we were personally escorted to the first tee and given a quick rundown of some local knowledge, which proved to hold more and more value as our round progressed.
There are four tee pads to choose from, which make the place fun, challenging and accommodating for golfers of all skill levels. The relatively large bent grass — greens have multiple levels — usually will leave you putting uphill, downhill or both unless you can stick a landing on the appropriate section. They’re fast and true, most of the time manageable and aren’t all that undulating or tricky to read. Though carved through a valley, there’s a great deal of elevation change from tee to green. There are plenty of bunkers, which seem to come into play often, sharp doglegs and water hazards that blend in all too cleverly with the landscape.
The place has a mountain vibe to it, too; the majority of the holes feature mature pine trees bordering the edges and sometimes intruding on into the fairways. The par 4, hole 9 is memorable, because a well-placed drive can reach the green, though the huge pond just to the right of the green can swallow up your ball without you even knowing it. The 16th hole is a short and wide-open par 3, though nestled next to the putting surface is the largest bunker on the course by far, bigger than the green itself. And, oh, hole 18, is a monster dogleg right par 5, reachable with two bombs if you can avoid the open-mouthed, wave-like sand traps in the landing zone of the fairway just as it begins to bend.
There’s really too much goodness to put into words. Take a drive out into the Mohawk Valley and check it out for yourself.
For more information or to book a tee time, call (530) 836-0394 or visit golfwhitehawk.com.