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prise lodging at the resort. One-, two- and three-bedroom units with kitchens and fireplaces are walking distance from everything on site. Many who frequent Silverado,

including the 450-person membership, are familiar with the dining options that excel in serving fresh and local cuisine. The Royal Oak, The Grill at Silverado and the Main Lounge offer choices ranging from comfort food staples such as crab dip, burgers and chocolate molten cake to the more upscale offerings from executive chef Jeffrey Jake in The Royal Oak such as Pacific Swordfish and Filet Mignon. Regardless of the meal the resort is proud to serve the best of Napa Valley’s wine selection.

The first step of the resort enhance- ment was the renovation of the North Course that had recently become dated and needed a remodel. The new layout, which debuted in May, was opened up with the clearing of trees, new tees, new bunkers and new fairway grasses. With the addition of 300 yards, the

North Course now tops 7,200 yards, a yardage that could challenge some of the best players in the world. Miller acknowledged a women’s U.S. Open would be perfect for the venue but re-

mains focused on getting all the details right first. While one might think the two- time major winner would have made the layout overly penal and tight because of the accuracy he enjoys, the average golfer was top of mind when adding tees and playing options. “We extended fairways to the right to help the average player who pushes the ball. While the course is now a champion- ship layout, it is more playable for the average golfer.” Movement was added to a course that was practically dead straight before the changes. Tee boxes were shifted to create soft doglegs and additional dimension was gained through penal bunkers. More than 15 bunkers were eliminated but those that remain are strategically placed and “meaningful.” One aspect that remained virtually

unchanged was the greens; Miller noted that original designer Robert Trent Jones Jr. did a “really good” job, so the management team of Troon Golf only had to enhance the putting surfaces with improved conditions including increased speed. The beauty of the design is best

exemplified by the attention to detail and grooming. Several bunkers or

mounds were raised to hide an unsightly cart path or road in the background. Miller has always enjoyed buying and cleaning up ranches and his focus on beautification was crucial in his quest to make Silverado an iconic place. Striped fairways, blooming flow- ers, precise edging around the trees and crisp white sand give the course a championship quality feel without the intimidation of some of the newer, more contrived designs.

While the course is now a

championship layout, it is more playable for the average golfer.

The closing hole is a perfect example of the thought and heart poured into the renovation. Miller discussed the nuances of the green and bunker placement, his voice conveying the excitement of a kid ready to play his first 18. From the 18th fairway, the bunker guarding the front looks like it sits greenside, but a good 10 yards separate the hazard and putting green wreaking havoc on club selection. Subtle mounding also runs away from the hole making any approach not only difficult but requiring strategic place- ment from a thinking golfer. Miller spent close to 30 days on site, hand selecting changes on each hole he felt were ideal. “This is the first time I designed a course by myself and really expressed what I thought I could do as a golf course owner. It certainly helped that I knew the course and had been dream- ing about the changes for 40 years.” Not one to rest on his laurels, Miller

has an eye on renovating the South Course as well as updating every aspect of the Napa retreat. Family has always been important to the devout Mormon, and he and his staff envision a bustling family resort where children can escape the big city and enjoy the amenities and laid-back country feel of Napa. “There is no place like Napa Valley,”

Miller said wistfully. “Some things are irreplaceable; the location and the oak trees and the redwoods are unbelievable. Silverado had the picture frame; we just needed to get the picture a little better.”


26 / NCGA.ORG / SUMMER 2011

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