If you've always wanted to see how your game stacks up on an affordable PGA Tour-tested course, just head a few miles east of Carson City on U.S. Highway 50 to Dayton Valley Golf Club. This Arnold Palmer-designed course has hosted a PGA Tour Qualifying tournament every year since 1995. That's the longest streak of hosting a PGA Tour qualifying tournament for any course in the country. Obviously, the PGA Tour finds the 7218-yard layout and course conditions to be an ideal proving ground for professionals seeking to join the ranks of the world's best players.
So, get out there and see how your game measures up. Don't be intimidated, but don't set yourself up for failure either. Dayton Valley has five sets of tees from the tour tips down to 4422 yards at its shortest. The links-style layout abounds with challenges, so playing the correct set of tees that best suit your game is a must for optimal enjoyment.
Without a doubt the most prominent feature of the golf course is the fast, smooth greens that are known as the best anywhere in the region and among the best in the country. If you ever wonder why tour pros make so many medium-to-short length putts, you'll discover it's because they putt on greens like Dayton Valley's week in and week out.
The design is typical Palmer in that each nine eases you into your game and then crescendos to a strong, stirring finish. There are 11 holes with water hazards and fairway and green side bunkers that require strategic shot placement and smart course management. Benevolently, Mr. Palmer left three holes without any water or bunkers to contend with to give players strategically placed respites from the rigorous course management demands.
Dayton Valley members lay claim to their own version of Augusta National's famed Amen Corner. The final four holes on the front nine are all surrounded by water and require well-executed tee shots and approach shots. If you survive these three holes with the same golf ball and a score within reasonable relation to par, you will have a memorable front nine. The finishing par 5 18th is a great risk-reward hole with a large, well-mounded green set in front of the clubhouse that requires a precise approach shot to avoid finishing with a dreaded three-putt.
The semi-private club offers easy access to tee times with affordable, simple green fees and plenty of golfer comforts. There is a practice putting green, chipping area, large driving range, pro shop, bar and restaurant. There are two separate banquet rooms, and the club caters to group tournament outings, banquets and weddings.