Visited Novato during the Easter Break and decided to play at Indian Valley. Having been to Stone Tree Golf Club, I thought I would give Indian Valley Golf Club a try.
It rained all day on Saturday so the course was damp (to say the least) on the following Monday. I was surprised the contour and terrain of the course did not adequately provide good drainage for the rain water, especially giving it a full day to drain/absorb. Streams of fast flowing run-off water courses its way through fairways and rough. Anyways, traveling to the course was an adventure. Drive through urban neighborhoods then out into the rural setting...fantastic!!! The course is off the main roadway and the sign is large enough so that you won't miss the turn - miss it, then it's just you and the cows. Serpentine through a narrow two lane roadway and you will find yourself dead-end into the parking lot of the course.
Here's the first test of endurance...climb the driveway to get to the Clubhouse!!! You can rest assure the electric carts have good brakes - they line the driveway facing the first tee (now you have to descend the driveway, cross the parking lot, and follow a trail to the 1st tee). There is a really, really, really, small putting green with three holes to practice directly in front of the clubhouse (I think it is pictured on the website). Got there early and nobody was on the 1st tee. The starter, however, decided to pair me up with two other golfers and waited 40 minutes for them to get there. Hmm...one would figure to just get me out as quickly as possible to avoid back-up (Northern California rules, I guess).
Now the course. It's hilly and bumpy - and that's the greens! Lots of undulation on the greens and aeration plugs don't help with keeping the line either. The greenskeeper had his staff make concentric circles with a thin layer of sand, making it difficult to predict the slope of the greens. Tee boxes were spaced a distant from the preceding green and required a hike up a hill on some of the holes to reach the blue tees. Good luck trying to get your heart rate down to concentrate on the tee shot. The width of the fairways are generous and if you do hit it off track, your ball can be found in most instances. There are quite a number of Canadian Geese on the course so watch out if you think an impediment in front or behind your ball is just dark leaves or branches!
The course is not difficult if you are a straight hitter. If you draw the ball, you will find yourself questioning whether there's enough room on the right (for right-handed hitters) to start your ball on. To me, I felt it played to the fade-hitters.
Bring your own drinks because there was no beverage cart when I visited. Also, bring snacks because you will be in need of energy if you walk the course.
I am sure Indian Valley Golf Club is a completely different course during the summer months. The green fees are within reason but the rental cart rate is too high. For a scenic view of the golf course, I recommend walking because you might actually see some deer.
Hope this helps those of you planning a golf outing near San Francisco. I will be playing here in the summer months and maybe someplace in Petaluma (recommended by my playing partners).