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Madera is a decent muni with good greens and a very good value especially if you walk. Tees and fairways are bermuda that they don't overseed so in the winter the course is pretty much brown from tee to green but the greens stay in good shape the entire year. They are smooth and are definitely faster than average muni greens. The course is beautiful (for a muni) in spring and early summer but can get pretty baked out and rock hard by August. Pace of play is generally good in the mornings and even when it seems slow you end up playing in 4 hours. The pro-shop staff is generally good but the service in the bar/restaurant isn't all that great. It's owned by some guy independent of the golf course and the girls who work in there always seem really depressed.

The front is typical muni golf with 8 straight holes and one little dog-leg par 4. The back nine is much more picturesque and substantially more difficult with water coming into play on 5 of the nine holes and the two long par 4s go straight into the pevailing wind. The blue tees are MUCH more difficult than the whites and due to it's muniness, if you shoot a good score here you definitely earn it as bad bounces outnumber the good bounces 10-1. The one real problem I have with this place is the bunkers are absolutely horrible...they seem ok when you first step in them but when you make your swing your club goes through 1/4" of sand and then inevitably bounces off the granite like stuff below. You are better off trying to chip out of these bunkers than play an actual sand shot.

There is certainly no reason to make a special trip but if you happen to be in Fresno/Madera visiting family or something it is a very viable and inexpensive golf option. I'd say it is a toss up between Riverside and this place for value in the area.
7 Likes.
Played Sat 1/19/13 on an absolutely perfect windless day. Course was in good shape considering how cold it has been recently and the greens were just about perfect.

Every non par-3 has at least some elevation change and the majority have severe elevation change and blind shots and local course knowledge is a must. There are a couple holes that are borderline cheesy i.e. faiways that are so severely sloped that a drive can roll backwards 30 yards if you don't hit to the top. They give you a yardage book which is really cool except that it is the worst yardage book I have ever seen with little to no detail about where to play on some of the blind shots. When the wind is down it's a course you can really score on if you are able to hit the ball straight. I would imagine when the wind is really blowing this course would be just about impossible to score on. I would definitely recommend playing here with somebody who knows the course if it's your first time here.

Pro shop guy was super nice but the marshall was grumpy and didn't even acknowledge when I said hi to him driving up the first fairway. Pace of play was ridiculously slow but this grumpy marshall did nothing and wouldn't even tell us what was going on to make it so slow. Apparently there was a small tournament a few groups ahead where a bunch of 30 handicaps throught they were tour pros.

I thought it was a fairly priced course at $45 with cart but I probably won't play here in the summer when they raise the rates to $55 especially when Greenhorn is 1/2 hour away. This course is on Golfnow though so I'm sure you will be able to find some decent deals occasionally.

All in all I'd say if you are in Sonora and want to play golf it's a great option but I definitely wouldn't make a special trip to play here as it's an hour + from Merced, Modesto, or Stockton.
6 Likes.
Place is a pretty good value; $29 to walk on the weekends but imo you definitely get what you pay for. The course is pretty mickey mouse with several holes being short but having trees come into play immediately off the tee box. There are at least four holes where power lines come into play and there is a trailer park inside the course. On the plus side the greens were puttable albeit hard and slow (a tough combination) and there are some really nice holes with 7, 14 and 17 coming immediately to mind. If you happen to be in the sanger/reedley area it might be worth stopping by but absolutely do not make a special trip to go play this place.
0 Likes.
Played Saturday morning 2/7/09. Teed off in less than 500ft visability fog so I really can't comment on the asthetics of the first 5 holes. Overall this course is decent. I played the black tees and the par threes are great, the par fives are decent and the par fours are too short but provide a decent variety with some doglegs, forced carries and approach shots over water. The Black tee boxes were in really good shape but I'm guessing not too many people play from back there since those par threes are intimidating (11 is like 235 into breeze to a protected green). I didn't really check the other tees so I can't comment on those. As the previous poster said, the greens are SLOW but they don't look very slow so it's a little tough to get used to. When I played they rolled really nicely despite being so slow. Decent driving range and boring practice putting green. They had a nice little chipping range but it was mats only?!?! This was a first for me. The course actually did have a marshall but the only two times I saw him was when he was sitting in the cafe drinking coffee and fishing for golf balls in one of the hazards but it didn't really bother me as courses pretty much never enforce pace of play anymore. I got the round for $40 on golfnow.com which is $7 cheaper than rack rate. In my opinion, $47 is a little steep for this place but I will definitely go back if I find a decent deal.
0 Likes.
I haven't played Pheasant Run in a number of years and I like the changes they made. 18 was a completely unfair par 4 and it was a great change to make it a par 5. Some of the par 4s are quite long even from the whites. I played on Saturday 1/31 for $37 with a free cart coupon and it's definitely worth that price. The greens were pretty smooth and MUCH faster than they used to be and they were soft enough to hold long irons very easily. Most fairways in the valley are dormant this time of year but these were pretty green and lush. I do agree with the previous poster in that many of the holes are uninteresting and have a definite element of "sameness" but for the money (with a coupon), I don't really think you can beat it. If you don't get a deal though, go to Stevinson or Riverbend.
0 Likes.
Played on Memorial Day 5/26. I have played this course dozens of times and I can't quite recall the course being in this bad of shape for this time of year. Usually this course is immaculate during late spring/early summer but I found it to be just OK. The fairways were decent with a fair amount of brown spots and the greens were very receptive but a bit slower than usual and a tad bumpy. If I weren't so familiar with the course I would be giving it a much better review but I have come to expect very good conditions from Riverbend especially since they are charging $75 per round on Saturdays and holidays. It is still the best test of golf as far as public courses in the Fresno area go and definitely one of the best public courses in the central/south valley. I would recommend it if you haven't played it before.
0 Likes.
Played on Saturday 5/10/2008. Arrived at 12:45 after calling and them assuring me that they could get me on as a single. They apparently had some big NCAA womens tournament on the other course but because of the tournament, they would not allow paying guests to use the range or even putting green despite the fact that both were only about 20% occupied with competitors. While waiting for my round I stepped onto the driving range to stretch and although there were a total of two of the college girls on the range, the starter yelled at me to get off. Other than that the staff was fairly nice.

The course itself is actually a pretty good design from tee to green and I was surprised by the good condition of the fairways, fairway rough and bunkers but the greens themselves are a joke. All but two of them are seperated into multiple tires by these enourmous hills right in the middle. Some of them were just missing the clown's mouth. You could literally go five feet from the hole, drop the ball from shoulder height and the ball would roll 50 feet down the hill. They were also rock hard so if you landed the ball on the top tier with anything longer than an 8-iron in could very easily skip of the back. The worst part about them was they were slow compared to the firmness. There is nothing worse than rock-hard yet slow greens.

Also, don't expect to go to this course for a relaxing round of golf in the hills. There are homes all over the course and although they don't come into play, they are not the most attractive of sights. You also have to constantly cross busy streets when going from green to tee which can get annoying.

I got to play for $45 using the West Coast Valuebook which made it a decent deal but if I had to pay full price (I believe it is $70 or so) I would have been pissed as it is nowhere near a $70 course IMO. If you can get a decent rate or can play it for free it might be worth playing but at full price, I would definitely look elsewhere. There are too many decent courses in the area.
0 Likes.
Played on a Friday morning (4/25) and other than pace of play (4hrs 30 mins) we had a fantastic day. The tee boxes, fairways and rough are all immaculate and the greens were in surprisingly good shape for this time of year albeit a tad on the slow side. I'm not a huge fan of target golf but this course is definitely worth the price of admission. (I think we paid like $40 a piece with a four for three coupon). Every hole is visually appealing and the views are fantastic. As far as pace of play goes, the design of this course prevents quick rounds of golf for all but the best of golfers. There are a couple of holes that are "cart path only" that are very hilly and it can take a long time to get to your ball if you hit an errant shot. That being said, do not expect the starters/marshals to do anything to help the pace of play. Fortunately, the course is so scenic that you will have plenty to look at while you are waiting 10 minutes between every shot.
0 Likes.
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