I can’t say enough about Indian Casino Golf Properties. I have played a number of them and have yet to find one sub-standard or disappointing.

If you are looking for one of the best that you will ever find out West, it’s just 40 minutes northwest of Sacramento or north from San Francisco to the Highway 16 exit off Highway 505 heading into the Capay Valley

Once there, you travel along a narrow, twisting two-lane highway for 30 miles or more along where peach orchards and beautiful farming land is found. I kept thinking that I was lost when lo and behold around a blind bend of the road Cache Creek Casino Resort was found in all its vast, elegant glory.

With a 200-room hotel staring at me, I was also entertained by a Vegas look-a-like gambling palace with 3,000 slots, 142 table games, a 28-table poker room, eight restaurants and spa: all adding up to a complete, one-stop golfing and gaming Mecca.

Just a half-mile up the road from Cache Creek you will find the 7,337-yard Yocha Dehe course which means “Home by the spring,” on 165 acres of remarkable secluded valley property. It offers a splendid view spanning the countryside with golf course creator Brad Bell putting it all together. It’s surrounded by serene rolling hills that were once a traditional gathering place for the Patwin people that lived in the oak forests and grasslands along the meandering fish stocked Cache Creek.

The 17,951 square-foot facility contains a 1,400 square foot restaurant, multi-function room and attractive pro shop. The club’s open-air design that begins its quest on a prominent hill site offers a commanding view of the entire course (five sets of tees) and stands where the front nine holes begin and the back nine ends. There was a great deal of effort made to place functional aspects into its design along with visually stimulating features such as Native American, prominent courtyard sculptures and a real working olive orchard.

You better take enough club at No. 4 at Yocha DeHe, which plays 199 yards over water from the tips.
You better take enough club at No. 4 at Yocha Dehe, which plays 199 yards over water from the tips.

If you are ready to get the Yocha Dehe Golf game underway, you might as well start off in spectacular fashion with a par four of 454 yards from a 170-foot high cliff to the valley below. The hole travels along a straight-away, expansive fairway to a small green breaking from left to right and accompanied by two bunkers on its left side. It’s followed by a dogleg right 548-yard five par where dense trees on the right come into immediate play. You will find a batch of bunkers encircling a crowned putter land that breaks a touch from left to right.

If you are looking for a beautiful signature par three, the 199-yard one shot No. 4 might just be the right ticket to gain admission for excitement and difficulty. That’s because a bold body of water cuts the hole in two. It prevents one from easy access to an extra large putting surface that breaks swiftly from left to right and a circular bunker holding up its right side.

The par five 542-yard No. 6 named “Rattlesnake” hole could easily fit that name as the fairway twists around from tee to green with a quadrant of sand traps preventing easy access from 150 yards out. It’s also where a steep green from front to back and from right to left will keep golfers busy trying to avoid a bogie or more. If you are looking for a hole that is perforated with a giant cross bunker and other trappings, the 408-yard par four No. 8 is the one that will keep your sand iron busy from start to finish. That’s unless you keep it in play along the left side while avoiding trappings in the back of a green that slants from left to right.

When you are ready to begin the back nine, you will pass by an imposing sculpted Indian couple overlooking a majestic golf course view on the way to the par five No. 10. You will be entertained by 541 yards of imposing distance associated with a variety of bunkers scattered about the entire hole with a butterfly designed putting surface to have fun on.

No. 12 at Yocha DeHe
No. 12 at Yocha Dehe is long, but there’s plenty of room to the right for slicers. Not so much to the left.

For a change of pace, the 457-yard No. 11 and 452-yard No. 12 are two strong par fours to bring out the best of golfer’s long distance game, including the 254-yard one-shot No. 13 where continuous bunkering hangs around on its right side. A par might be in order if everything goes just right. If nothing else, you have the opportunity of enjoying some sweet hanging Pinot grapes at nearby vineyards around this part of the course.

One of the most memorable holes on the course is the 416-yard No. 14 where the tee shot must be laid up to avoid off fairway woods and shrubbery. Next is an extreme right-turn approach where golfers have to find their way through a gantlet of trees on their way up to an almost level large green that angles from left to right. It’s followed by the most interesting 433-yard No. 15 “Wihnem Ka Cha” (shortcut named) hole. It represents two parcels of turf separated by a lake and a creek dividing the entire scene. It’s just a matter of driving safely over the hazards in as much distance as possible without getting into wet trouble. A crowned green that moves from right to left completes this unique vineyard designed hole.

The last three holes all come with a variety of waterscapes. The par three 206-yard No. 16 bends left from tee to green with a slice of water holding up that side of an extensive putting surface that breaks from right to left.

The longest par five 565-yard No. 17 is a winner from start to finish. The fairway is skinny from the start with a lake hanging almost along its entire right side. It makes its way to a precariously located rock-framed green that keeps company with the lake on the right. Any approach headed for the putting surface from that side had better be perfect in length and location or water will be your unwanted reward.

The second strongest hole on the course ends the great Yocha Dehe Golf Club experience. It’s a heroic 443-yard gem that bends around a body of water on its right side. It’s just a matter of cutting the corner as far a tee shot will go without splashing the water for good as you gradually make your way to a bunker encircled putting surface. There’s also a waterfall not too far on its right to give the hole a touch of finishing class.

Daniel Kane, director of golf, is thrilled by how the golf course and clubhouse turned out as well as the satisfied guests who have had the pleasure of playing it. So whether you’re a casual golfer or a budding World Series of Poker professional, this is one Native American outpost that leaves nothing to chance when it comes to a complete, one-stop golfing and gaming fun since its inception.

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  1. I’ve played this course maybe 10 times since it was constructed. It is an outstanding test of golf. At $90/round it better be.

    >Unlimited practice balls are included on grass tees over a large canyon. You have to hit it 160 yards to clear the canyon.

    >From the elevated practice area you go to the summit of a hill for the first tee. It is a 160 yd carry to reach the fairway. There is no “short of the fairway” shot. Just re-tee it.

    >I’m too old to play from the tips but was more than pleased to par the first five holes during one round. Things went downhill from there.

    >#10 green is a challenging uphill shot…the surface can’t be seen from the fairway. #9 is much the same but is a par 4.

    >There are a number of environmental areas that you aren’t supposed to enter to get your ball. But you do get a free drop…no penalty.

    >Employees are very accommodating and aware of your presence in a resort-type way. Some of them almost too much…almost fawning, as if they are looking for a big tip.

    >The course is impeccable…perfect fairways, perfect greens. The rough is penalizing and is often wild unkept areas. That is except for #13 and #15. You can’t very well play out of the grape vines with harvesting wires strung between the plants.

    >#17 is a nightmare green. The only place to miss is left in the traps. Anything long, short, or right is in the lake. There is virtually no fringe. But it is a large green.

    >Is is worth playing at least once in a lifetime…you bet.

  2. Casino supported courses are usually TPC level from my experience. Have not played this one yet. Many have said that have its worth the drive. Hopefully i will make it someday.