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|The stunning par-5 16th at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course will challenge and tantalize players. (Courtesy of World Golf Tour Inc.)|
STATELINE, Nev. -- To be sure, the finishing holes at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course, which annually hosts the American Century Celebrity Golf Championship, are nothing short of spectacular. With the deep blue water reflecting the snow-capped mountains that surround it, there are few scenes that can rival it.
But referencing just the climax at Edgewood is selling the golf course short. Those mountains are in view throughout, and the rest of the golf course is never boring.
Opened in 1969, Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course was designed by George Fazio, who also designed Butler National Golf Club in Oak Brook, Ill. In the late 1990s, Fazio's nephew, Tom Fazio, came in and tweaked many of the holes to make it that much better.
The golf course doesn't force you to grind, but you have to be able to hit a variety of shots and patience on Edgewood's bentgrass greens is a virtue. Shaping the ball, especially left to right on several of the holes, is also a good skill to have.
"I really like the variety of holes," said Keith Turner of Meriden, Conn., after playing Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course for the first time. "It's not overly hard, but it has a lot of quirk to it. And it's a beautiful setting."
Early on, players get a test with the first par 5 on the course, the third. Large fairway bunkers, trees on the right and an inland lake on the left challenge you off the tee.
The lay-up -- and nearly everyone will lay up -- isn't a cinch either, with the lake and more bunkers coming into to play. And even if you get it to 120 yards or so, the uphill third shot adds at least a club, and the severely sloping green will test your putting and chipping skills.
At the sixth -- a downhill par 4 with water off the tee to the right -- protecting the green is not only strategically good but very scenic in its own right. Even if you manage to stay out of the water, if you hit it right, troublesome trees could block the approach. A long green, guarded by bunkers, makes two-putting anything but automatic.
Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course's 458-yard par-4 eighth is one of two holes with a lone tree in the middle of the fairway. Like the par-5 16th, the best policy is probably to aim at it, knowing you're not good enough to hit it. A shot on either side of it sets up an ideal approach shot.
The 13th is where the course really starts to get interesting. It's a 90-degree, dogleg-right par 4 with a big uphill approach shot. That's followed by slight dogleg-right par 4 with water down the entire left side. And the 15th has a blind uphill tee shot.
Of course, there's no denying that the 16th, which can play 564 yards, is one of the better par 5s in the country. Strong players, if they avoid the tree in the middle of the fairway and miss the fairway bunkers, can get home in two, but the green is surrounded by large bunkers itself. Better yet, the view from the tee to the green makes even a bad round worthwhile. The 17th, a par 3 that runs along the shores, has the same effect, and finishing par 5, with Lake Tahoe to the right and a pond left of the green, is a great risk-reward hole.
This is one of those golf courses that should be on every player's short list. It's not quite in the class of Pebble Beach Golf Links, but it's an experience to be savored.
It starts with the Alpine-style clubhouse, continues at the range and the first tee, and doesn't end until after a sunset dinner at Edgewood Tahoe's award-winning restaurant.
The golf course is almost always in good shape, including its greens, after it gets a chance to recover from winter. And as a bonus, it has excellent practice facilities, including an ample-sized grass tee, short-game area and two practice greens.
Also, be sure to try the giant kraut dogs at the halfway house after the ninth.
Within minutes of the golf course are several casino hotels as well as other smaller establishments. Many offer stay-and-play packages with the golf course.
One good option is the Embassy Suites Lake Tahoe Hotel and Ski Resort, which is literally just two miles from the golf course. And for those who would like to skip walking through the smoky casinos, this is a good choice.
The hotel is perfect for those who golf or ski, and there are certain times of the year you can do both. Guests can also take in lake cruises, fishing charters, hiking, sailing and hot air balloons as well as the casinos.
The hotel offers guests a complimentary breakfast buffet as well as happy hour in the afternoon with complimentary drinks and snacks. Rooms are also equipped with high-speed wireless Internet access.
June 25, 2010
Mike Bailey is a senior staff writer based in the Houston area. Focusing primarily on golf in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean and Latin America, he contributes course reviews, travel stories and features as well as the occasional equipment review. An award-winning writer and past president of Texas Golf Writers Association, he has more than 20 years in the golf industry. Before accepting his current position in 2008, he was on staff at PGA Magazine, The Golfweek Group and AvidGolfer Magazine. Follow Mike on Twitter at @Accidentlgolfer.
Any opinions expressed above are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of the management.
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