Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Bishop Country Club - Bishop, CA

Every year my friends and I visit the Eastern Sierras in June for our annual “Guys Fishing Trip”. This year marked the 9th year that we have been going up, and every year presents a new adventure. It seems that every year we have gone up there, we have always talked about wanting to squeeze in a round of golf as well. Usually the course that is discussed most often is Bishop Country Club located in Bishop, CA. I assume we talk about that course most often because you can’t miss it driving up to the Mammoth and June Lake area. It’s located directly off the 395 just as you enter Bishop. So this year I called the course a few days before our trip and spoke to the manager asking if we could play the course and review it. He was very accommodating and more than happy to welcome our group. So our group headed up the 395 early Wednesday morning and arrived in Bishop around 1:00. The staff was amazing at BCC. From the generosity of the management, to the pro shop help and service. I can’t say enough about how impressed I was with them. What a great start to the round.
The first thing I noticed when we began our round is the overall course layout. Even from the first tee, the course seemed to be wide open which definitely helps the beginner golfer. But as I played the course, there were also challenging holes including long par 3s and occasional water hazards. You also notice the view as you start playing. It’s really amazing to be teeing off with a large mountain range as your backdrop.
I was also impressed by the conditions of the golf course. I know that Bishop can get pretty hot in the summer, and I was planning on seeing dry fairways and sun-scorched greens. On the contrary...the course was well maintained and watered, and the greens were in great shape. This was another pleasant surprise.
Hole #1 started with a pretty traditional 377 yard par 4. You don’t want to hug the left side of the fairway on your first tee shot. The fairway is not only adjacent to the driving range, but also is lined with trees and a fairway bunker. A few of us found that out the hard way.
Hole #2 is a wide open par 5 measuring 523 yards and is reachable in two shots. My brother-in-law and I both were on in two. His two putt and my three put was the difference between a birdie and par. From there, hole #3 is a par 4 with a slight dogleg to the left. Large trees guard the left side at the dogleg, and a perfect tee shot is placing the ball directly over those trees to a short second shot to the green.
Hole #4 is the first of some lengthy par 3s measuring 193 yards. Going long on this hole will find your ball down a slight slope in dried grass and dirt behind the green. Hole #5 is a 489 yard par 5. Water guards the front of the green making a long second shot a gutsy play. A tee shot with a slight fade is ideal since a large tree also guards the front left of the green.
Moving on through the rest of the front nine, all of the holes and conditions played nicely. As stated before, the fairways and greens were in good condition, and the rough was just thick enough to drastically slow your ball down on errant tee shots.

“The course is forgiving enough, allowing you to make a few mistakes if you follow those up with quality shots. I would highly recommend packing your golf clubs next time you plan on visiting the Eastern Sierras.”

As we moved to the back nine, the course greeted us with a few more challenging holes than the front nine in my opinion. It all started with the par 5 tenth hole measuring 558 yards. I noticed on this course that since it is so open, longer hitter can definitely attempt to reach most of the par 5s in two shots. A slight breeze in the afternoon will temper some expectations though.
Hole #11 is a short 397 yard par 4. My most memorable shot was on this hole. After I bombed a long drive down the right side of the fairway, I had about 90 yards left. But I was located on an upslope behind a huge tree. I took out a pitching wedge knowing I was going to need a little more club to hit it so high. The second shot barely cleared the tree and settled on the middle of the green. I’m sure the flight of that ball was higher than it was long.
I feel that hole #12 is the toughest hole on the course. It only measures 392 yards for a par 4, but the tee shot has numerous possibilities for producing high scores. First of all, large trees are scattered throughout the fairway making accuracy important off the tee. On top of that, water carries down the entire right side of the fairway gobbling up any slices or strong fades.
As we finished up the back 9, the four of us had an amazing time. How often do you get to play golf in the mountains where you can spot trout swimming in the creeks that run throughout the course? Overall I played pretty well shooting 8 over par. The course is forgiving enough allowing you to make a few mistakes if you follow those up with quality shots. I would highly recommend packing your golf clubs next time you plan on visiting the Eastern Sierras. We have been talking about doing it for years, and we were finally glad we did so. Thanks again to Bishop Country Club for their awesome hospitality, and we’ll see you next year.

Bishop Country Club is located at 1200 S. Hwy 395, 1 mile south of Bishop on Highway 395 in Bishop, CA. Their phone number is (760) 873-5828, and their website is


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