You’ve probably heard it said that golf is a fantastic sport for getting connected with nature. 12 miles from downtown Sacramento, though, there is a course where nature reaches out to connect with you.

Ancil Hoffman Golf Course, which was built inside a public park, is different from your typical municipal course or your traditional country club. The fairways are lined with trees, and deer or wild turkeys wander onto the course to bask in the shade. On an average day, locals will bring their dogs out for a walk alongside a championship-level course.

“It’s just a beautiful walk in the park,” said Asa Jennings, GM of Ancil Hoffman Golf Course.

When the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors set out to put a golf course in their new park, they didn’t call a run-of-the-mill course architect. Instead, they enlisted the help of legendary course designer William F. Bell. You might be familiar with his work at Torrey Pines. This Sacramento course is another great example of Bell’s design prowess, with Ancil Hoffman hosting champion-level events like their annual keystone event, the Memorial Amateur. But the course isn’t reserved for championship golfers alone. 

“These are the best par 3s around,” said George Beach, stick and Ancil Hoffman regular. Beach’s advice should be well taken, as he has 15 hole-in-ones under his belt, earning him the title “Acemaker”. 

Beach is just one of the characters on this course that was founded around the people of the community. The Sacramento County Board Advisor for which the park is named, Ancil Hoffman, was a boxing promoter in the 1930s who worked with Jack Dempsey and Heavyweight Champion Max Bower. In honor of that history, the course has dedicated the 19th green to keeping that boxing theme alive. 

Courses like this one were vital during the pandemic when most of the state of California was locked down. Golfers searching for a quick 9 traveled from as far as San Diego to get their fix. The game grew in popularity during the lockdown, and Ancil Hoffman County Park grew. Now, the golf course parking lot is full almost every afternoon.

With its proximity to downtown Sacramento, Ancil Hoffman is a must-see course for your next trip to Northern California. Go for a walk in the park, and don’t forget to bring your clubs for a quintessential golf experience: one that is open, inviting, and challenging.