Lake Tahoe and its surrounding areas have always been popular winter destinations, but for part of the year the mountain retreat provides some of the most complex, scenic and enjoyable layouts available.
The Course: Brad Bell designed the Coyote Moon layout in 2000, and in the last eight years, thanks to Trout Creek and a number of eagles, hawks, and, appropriately, coyotes, the facility has established itself as an environmental course with recognition in the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program. There are minimal forced carries and with approaches from generous fairways to medium-sized greens, the layout, which spans from 4,965 yards to just over 7,000 yards, is a good test of shot-making ability. No homes are on the course, leaving unobstructed views of towering pine trees and granite rock outcroppings that border each hole. The amenities: The bar and grill serves breakfast, lunch, and appetizers for happy hour, featuring its famous Moon Margarita for a libation.
Did you know?: Both Coyote Moon and Old Greenwood (see below) are part of Tahoe Mountain Club, an active-lifestyle community offering golf, skiing, swimming, tennis, dining and more for every season.
Green fees: $100 to $160 (includes golf cart).
The course: Jack Nicklaus designed the massive 7,500-yard Old Greenwood layout (five sets of tees start at 5,400 yards) that spans over 600 acres; it’s his only course in the Tahoe area. When it opened nearly four years ago, the course garnered the No. 4 rating among America’s finest new Upscale Public Courses by Golf Digest in 2005, and Golf Magazine rated it one of the Ten Best New Public-Access Courses in the Country.
The amenities: The Terrace Grill at Old Greenwood provides views of the ski lifts and mountains at Northstar-at-Tahoe, and the golf academy offers one- to three-day sessions to fine-tune a player’s game. Stay and play packages are available with area hotels.
Did you know?: A year-round resort community surrounded by the Sierras, Old Greenwood is the first Gold Audubon Signature Sanctuary in the state and the 10th in the world, requiring Audubon involvement from the planning and design phase through homeowner move in.
Green fees: $100-$185 (includes golf cart).
Information: www.oldgreenwood.com; also see www.tahoemountainclub.com for additional amenities.
The course: Edgewood is one of the older courses in the area, designed by George Fazio in 1968 on the south shore of Tahoe. Fazio even incorporated the lake in the final three holes of his 7,445-yard layout, bringing players out of the mountains and down to the shore. A number of events have been held at Edgewood — not only has the USGA conducted the U.S. Senior Open and U.S. Amateur Public Links championships in the past, it’s also home to the annual Celebrity Golf Championship in the summer, featured on NBC and a place for the likes of Donald Trump, Michael Jordan, John Elway and others to hone their skills for a family-friendly television audience. The amenities: Brooks’ Golf Bar and Deck serve breakfast, lunch and dinner with unobstructed views of the lake. Stay and play packages are available through most lodging facilities in Tahoe, and include one night lodging and one round of golf with cart and balls.
Did you know?: The property on which the golf course sits was purchased (and is still owned) by the Park family in 1896. Friday Station, which still stands today, was once a stop for the Wells Fargo and Pony Expresses, and can be seen across the highway from the fifth green.
Green fees: $160 to $235 through August 24, with rates decreasing after that.
The courses: Two contrasting courses are located at Incline Village—the Championship Course, which is the par-72 layout, and the Mountain Course, one of the most challenging par-58’s around. The Championship Course underwent a complete redesign in 2003, which designer Robert Trent Jones, Sr. described as “the ideal mountain layout with a challenge you won’t want to miss and views you will never forget.” At just over 7,100 yards, golfers are faced with tight, tree-lined fairways, bunkers and lateral water hazards on nearly every hole, a true test of mountain golf. The Mountain Course, on the other hand, tops out at 3,519 yards but with its contours and undulations, the Robert Trent Jones, Jr. layout will test shot-making and target skills the most.
The amenities: The Grill at The Chateau, inside the clubhouse, offers views of Lake Tahoe from its indoor seating and deck. The courses are also a short distance from the North Shore casinos for a little gaming action.
Green fees: Championship Course $99 to $174; Mountain Course $41 to $67.
The course: The Northstar-at-Tahoe golf course is symbolic to what the resort represents—the active nature of its guests year-round and appreciation of the rugged terrain that is the Tahoe area. Robert Muir Graves designed the 6,571-yard course with two distinct nines: the Mountain nine is tighter and more precise with small greens and tree-lined fairways, while the Meadows nine is just how it sounds—more open and more forgiving.
The amenities: The Martis Valley Grille in the main clubhouse is the place to watch sunsets on property, with expansive views over the Martis Valley, Castle Peak, and the Sierra ridgeline. Stay and play from $69.50 per person per night as well with one of the resort’s golf packages.
Did you know?: The all-inclusive Northstar-at-Tahoe offers activities for all tastes off the golf course. Horseback riding, tennis, fishing, outdoor movie nights and more are featured in the summer, while the winter brings skiing, ice skating, live music in The Village at Northstar, wine tasting, and s’mores.
Green fees: $35 (late afternoon nine holes) to $80.
THE RESORT AT SQUAW CREEK
The course: At the base of Squaw Valley USA sits the Resort at Squaw Creek golf course, elevated 6,200 feet and stretching just under 7,000 yards. Length is overrated at the Robert Trent Jones, Jr. course, and instead, precision and accuracy are required to maneuver down the narrow fairways. The back nine, however, takes golfers out of the mountains and through the Squaw Valley wetlands with tall grasses and wooden cart paths. Golf Magazine awarded the course as one of the Top Ten Courses You Can Play in 1993.
The amenities: The resort has five dining options of all prices and food selections. There are many off-the-course activities to partake in as well, including the full-service Spa at Squaw Creek, one of the area’s most luxurious facilities that recently underwent a multi-million-dollar renovation.
Did you know?: The golf course took 10 years of planning due to the need to carefully handle the environment around it. As such, it has been recognized as a Certified Cooperative Sanctuary by the Audubon Society.
Green fees: $60 twilight to $115 weekends.