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Taking on Napa Tournament Golf at Silverado Resort and Spa

Home of the Safeway Open, Napa Valley's big professional golf event, Silverado Resort and Spa offers amateurs a shot at the same course as the big guys.

John Scott Lewinskiby John Scott Lewinski

There’s more than a few good golf courses in the Napa Valley region to entertain travelers between glasses of wine. In fact, the professionals head up to vintner country every year for the Safeway Open at the Silverado Resort and Spa.

The long-standing and historic resort in the heart of Napa is home to tow courses, with the North Course hosting the annual PGA tournament. During a recent swing through the region, this writer took on the North Course to get a flavor of what the pros face.

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I would take on the Silverado track under the worst of conditions. The Napa Valley took on a violent rainy season this winter with many courses in the area closing due to flooding, falling trees and the abundance of debris. In fact, while playing other courses in the area this winter, I found greens delicate collapsing into the earth under the weight of water.

Despite Mother Natures’ intemperate behavior, I found the course conditions at Silverado to be pretty well on the rails. Of course, the turf was wet and play somewhat sloppy, but everything from the greens to the bunkers was playable.

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For a professional-quality course, the North track at Silverado is surprisingly welcoming to an amateur. To take the course on at full bore, I played from the tips and still found few blind tee shots and no greens that couldn’t be reached in regulation if hitting quality shots.

If there is an element of the course that plays to its PGA ambitions, it’s the greens. Offering some aggressive elevation changes and occasionally serving up putts in excess of 60 feet, Silverado North will test the blade.

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Of course, I wish I could’ve caught the course under better conditions just because I’m sure it glows in that special brand of magic hour Napa Valley sunshine. I took the 18 holes in under gloomy, heavy skies. But, we can’t hold Silverado responsible for the weather — only for the well-groomed golf experience the resort serves up to pros and amateurs alike.