You are about to enter a small part of the “Lost Sierra.”
You often see the names Reno and Tahoe together in advertising, promotions and in identifying the area. It’s not that each area can’t stand on its own. After all, with Lake Tahoe you have a majestic freshwater playground at 6,225 feet, high in the Sierra Nevada Mountains straddling the Nevada / California border. With Reno, the tag line says it all, the “The Biggest Little City in the World.”
When it comes to Stay & Play golf, in my humble opinion, Reno is the Place to Stay and Tahoe is the Place to Play!
This is not to say that there isn’t golf to be had in Reno and it’s surrounding areas. You can check out our July article below where our focus was specific to Reno and golf on the Nevada side. Search, “Roll’in In Reno.”
Roll‘in In Reno | Traveling Golfer
When you think golf in California it is easy to think of the coast, why not you have the oceanside likes of Pebble Beach in Monterey area, Torrey Pines in San Diego and a plethora of courses from the coats to Palm Desert. It might just be time to expand on your horizons. Think mountain golf around a very big lake.
I came nowhere close to discovering all the great golf on the Tahoe side. I only had a few days in the area after our IAGTO North American Golf Tourism Convention in Reno. In my pre travel research it was easy to come up with courses that had ties to the PGA Tours such as Edgewood Tahoe, a Golf Digest, “America’s Top Golf Courses.” The Tahoe Mountain Club has 2 spectacular courses, one Old Greenwood hosted the PGA Tours, Barracuda Championship. Good place to start.
The course that intrigued me the most was Grizzly Ranch, pure mountain golf, another Top 100 Public Course in America, also #9 in Top Public Courses in California. Pretty exclusive company!
From Reno it is a scenic drive to each of these properties. Less that 1 hour, except Edgewood Tahoe (actually on the Nevada side of the in Stateline) which is about 70 minutes.
Grizzly Ranch is a Bob Cupp design, framed by the by the high desert and the natural and rugged terrain of the Plumas National Forest. You will see a plenty of that forest as there is hardly a hole that does not have gorgeous Douglas Firs lining some part of a fairway.
This semi-private course has a beautiful setting within a gated community, and there are very few houses in view. Elevation changes there are plenty to keep things interesting and add to the ravines, creeks and boulder outcroppings that you need to navigate. Thankfully the fairways although treelined are generous. Playing the right tees, as always, is most important as the course stretches back to over 7,400 yards. With 5 sets of tees, you have choices. Greens are large and challenging to read, remembering that you are in the mountains is helpful.
The entire course is amazing but my 3 favorite holes, #1, made birdie and #’s 9 and 18 with water and covered bridges with the Sierra Nevada’s in the background.
Tahoe Mountain Club is home to 2 outstanding courses, Old Greenwood is a magnificent Jack Nicklaus Signature design. Another Golf Digest 100 in America Course. Nestled into a backdrop of the Sierra Nevada mountains on 600 acres of pine forest and meadowland at nearly 6,000 feet above sea level. Accolades galore follow this course year after year. In typical Nicklaus style the layout offers spacious tree lined fairways with plenty of well-placed deep bunkers protecting large greens. A number of water holes help to shape the famous Nicklaus doglegs and add to the wow factor. Note: you need to pay particular attention to the slants of the greens.
The Golf Club at Gray’s Crossing minutes away from Old Greenwood, is a Peter Jacobson design with elevation changes offering up panoramic views of Mount Rose and the Sierra’s. Fewer water holes on this course, fairways carved out of the tall pines with many more native wetlands and wildflowers to navigate on route to large inviting greens. A very scenic course that has earned certification as an Audubon International Gold Signature Sanctuary.
In keeping with the Top 100 courses theme, the Edgewood Tahoe Resort fits the bill. With its panoramic setting on the shores of Lake Tahoe, and the Sierra Nevada’s reflecting from a distance across the majestic waters it is forever memorable. Built in 1968 the George Fazio design is a fun yet challenging layout mixing in everything one could want. Not surprising are the number of water hazards, elevation changes and risk reward opportunities.
The course plays host to the annual American Century Championship and has also hosted the PGA Tours Barracuda Championship. You have probably watch on television at some point, celebrities and pros, with bathing suit clad spectators watching from their boats, the snow-capped Sierra’s in the background.
There are some 40 golf courses scattered all around the Lake Tahoe, in the Lost Sierra. Some of the other notable courses that are highly recommended include: Coyote Moon, The Dragon at Nakoma Resort, the Lakes Course at Red Hawk Resort, The Golf Club at Whitehawk Ranch, the Lakes Course at Genoa Lakes, Links at Squaw Creek and Plumas Pines.
Staying on the California side of lake Tahoe is not out of the question depending on your style. There are world class resorts with brand name hotels, some only offer home style accommodations and limited dining opportunities so you might need to plan some dining in, just like being at home.
For a true taste of the Lost Sierra you could look at some of the artsy modern day ranch towns around the Lake for accommodations; Truckee, Clio, Graeagle and Portola on the California side.
Why Stay in Reno? Choices! Options! Even though I love to cook, I don’t want to have to go grocery shopping, buy spices that I might only use once, cook and clean up! Reno earned the tag line, “Biggest Little City in the World.” Casino’s offer 24/7 action and the dining options both in casinos and elsewhere, offering authentic cuisine to accommodate all tastes and budgets.
Convenience, depending on where you stay, my personal preference is the Peppermill Reno, Casino, Peppermill Resort Hotel, Reno, NV and getting even more specific in the Tuscany Tower where the aroma of garlic awaits as you enter. Many choices for dining and entertainment, plus you have so much more within a short walk or the choice of an Uber. I have no problem driving to a great golf course, definitely do not want to be have a few well-deserved cocktails and getting behind the wheel.
For more information on how you can arrange a Stay in Reno & Play in Tahoe visit Discover Lake Tahoe and Reno