Riverside Golf Course has a long and distinguished history in the City of Fresno. Way back in 1939, the course was built as a federally funded Works Progress Administration project for the city. It's actually the second oldest course in Fresno. Although the course has never been remodeled, most of the greens have been upgraded to USGA standards.
Our layout was designed by the noted architect William P. "Billy" Bell, who also collaborated with another designer George Thomas to do such classic designs as Riviera Country Club. Bell gets credit for such well-respected courses as the Stanford University course and the famous Torrey Pines in San Diego.
From its beginnings, Riverside has been the ultimate in public courses – built by the public, for the public and priced for the public. Affectionately known as "Big Muni," Riverside has long been recognized as one of the finest public layouts in California's Central Valley. It's one of three courses owned by the city of Fresno.
In a picturesque setting along the San Joaquin River, this parkland-style course features expansive tree-lined fairways stretching over gently rolling terrain. Very small greens with classic Billy Bell bunkering put golfers on notice to keep thinking as they play.
Riverside's championship history is long and distinguished. In fact, we continue to hold the Fresno City Championships, the premier amateur event in the region.
With surprisingly moderate green fees, Riverside is an attraction for everyone, especially the traveling golfer. Combining the charm and challenge of classic pre-war architecture, Riverside's convenient location just off Highway 99 makes it a great stop for visitors as well as a popular playing spot for locals.
Ours is a course with slightly undulating fairways that can be narrow at times due to the trees. You seldom get a level lie. The roll of the terrain is very unique for the San Joaquin Valley.
The first hole is a slight dogleg right par-4, playing at 380 yards from the back and 327 from the front. Your tee shot should favor the left side of the fairway to open up your second shot. Long hitters can challenge the fairway bunker on the right for a shorter approach shot.
One of the outstanding holes on the front nine is No. 4, a par-4 that measures 423 yards from the tips and 404 from the forward tees. It's a straightaway hole that requires a solid tee shot. Then, you'll need to make a long approach shot to a long, narrow green.
There are a number of great par-3s on this course and one is No. 8 (178 yards from the back and 153 yards from the front), which requires a slightly downhill tee shot to a green guarded by bunkers, right, left and front. It's an undulating firm green. The ideal shot is to hit in the middle of the green.
Many of the best holes on the course lie on the back nine where you'll start out with what could be considered Riverside's most photogenic hole. You drive down into a canyon as you look out toward the San Joaquin River. This hole is also where you can see the picturesque train trestle on the river that serves as the logo for our course.
This hole is a par-4 that plays at 424 yards from the back and 404 from the front. From the elevated tee box, you will be making a downhill tee shot to a large fairway guarded by trees on the right and an out-of-bounds area left. The green is protected by a large pine tree on the right. It makes for a challenging second shot.
No. 11 is the shortest par-3 on the course (143 yards from the back and 122 from the front). It also has one of our toughest greens because of its drop from back to front. You'll be taking an uphill tee shot. If you're short, you'll find the deep bunkers in the front. Shots that are long will leave you a treacherous chip shot.
Be sure to hit a straight drive off the tee on No. 13, a par-4 that measures 437 yards from the back and 401 from the front. If you go left, your ball will drop 100 feet downhill, although you can go down the hill to hit it. Your second shot will play slightly downhill to a tiny green that slopes severely from right to left.
No. 15 (206 yards from the back and 157 from the front) is one of the toughest and longest par-3s on the course. Usually it plays directly into the wind. The green is guarded by large, deep bunkers. You need a high soft shot with a long iron to the middle of the green. Par is a good score here.
From the tough par-3, you're on to a difficult par-5 (522 yards from the back and 492 from the front. It's tough to reach the green in two here, because you're playing into the wind. A huge hidden bunker also guards the front of the small green.
The finishing hole, however, is a great birdie opportunity and the easiest par-5 (469 yards from the back and 441 from the front). Avoid the multiple fairway bunkers as you make your shot off the tee. For your approach, you can hit a long iron or wood to the small narrow green. There are two bunkers here, one on the left and another on the right.
Yardage, rating and slope from the four sets of tee boxes on our par-72 course: B: 6,674 yards (71.9/130); W: 6,435 (70.6/127); R: 5,776 (67.8/119); G: 5292 (65.5/111)