For many, the chance to play golf is an opportunity to escape the hustle and bustle of the everyday world. In the Bay Area, where traffic has gotten horrible in virtually every direction, finding that escape on a local course is not easy.

If you’re searching for such a place, look no further than the Spring Valley Golf Course in Milpitas.

Located five miles off 680, Spring Valley is in the middle of the hills, providing the much-needed respite from the noise and traffic of the surrounding area.

I had heard of the course and visited the property once years ago, but had never been out on the track until recently.

My mistake.

The course is in wonderful condition and combined with the peacefulness of the surrounding hills, it’s a value-priced, must play course.

Upon arriving on the property, you are greeted by a pair of old-school, wooden buildings that give you an instant feeling of comfort. One building holds the golf shop, with the other housing the grill, which features a fully stocked bar and offers dining specials throughout the day.

The course, that maxes out at 6,143 from the tips, goes out away from the clubhouse, coming back after the 18th hole.

The options on the tee boxes are plentiful and set up for a fair test of golf for all abilities.

The opening hole plays 361-yards, but going over the trees on the right side cuts the distance, reducing the hole to a driver-wedge. It’s the perfect opening hole to welcome you into your round.

The second hole is an interesting concept as there are two different holes, with both playing to a par 3. One is a flat, medium length hole, while the other plays downhill and a bit longer.

Some of my favorite holes on the front 9 include the 308-yard, par 4 third hole where hitting an iron off the tee is the smart play on the hole that features a dogleg to the right.

There is a false front and three different levels on the green, making an accurate tee shot crucial to set up the best approach.

The 5th hole is the type of golf hole I love. At 320-yards and playing slightly downhill, big hitters can get close to or on the green. Then again, a wayward blast brings a high number possibly into play. Once again, take no shame hitting an iron off the tee, sacrificing distance for accuracy.

The 8th is the longest par 4 on the course at 439 yards and plays as a par 5 for the women. The green is one of the deeper on the course and alters the cub selection for your approach depending on the pin placement.

The 9th plays over water off the elevated tee, with the hazard realistically not in play.

The 10th is a 512-yard par 5 that can be shortened by a shot over the trees down the right side. A big ball off the tee in the right place can make getting home in two realistic.

The 11th is 192 yards, pretty much all carry over water. The hole often plays into the wind so taking an extra club is advisable. Take par and move on with a smile on your face.

The 13th – a 380-yard, par 4 – features the toughest green on the course, one that slopes from right to left and demands that your approach stays below the hole.

A very good birdie chance awaits you on the 17th. The 508-yard, par 5, plays downhill, with a good tee shot making reaching the green two probable. It plays as the No. 12 handicap hole on the course, but might be your best shot at a birdie.

The closing hole is over the same water as the tee shot on the 9th. Once again, it’s more of a visual hazard, but what is a tough shot on the 403-yard hole, is the approach as three bunkers guard the green.

Though not overly long or tough (the course carries a rating of 68.9 and a slope of 116 from the tips) Spring Valley is a joy to play and a must for the golfer to sample.

The maintenance of the course was sensational and well worth drive through the 680-grind. Make a day of it and plan to have breakfast before your round or lunch afterwards in the grill.

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By Dennis Miller

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