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Two with a view: Edgewood Tahoe G.C., Coyote Moon showcase great Lake Tahoe golf

Joel ZuckermanBy Joel Zuckerman,
Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course
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Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course offers incredible lakeside beauty. (Courtesy Golf the High Sierra)

Lake Tahoe, straddling the California-Nevada state line, seems to have it all: boating, hiking, biking, skiing - and increasingly, golfers heading to this outdoor playground for a golf vacation are finding that Tahoe golf courses rank up there with the best of California golf -- and maybe golf anywhere.

Here are a few Lake Tahoe golf courses you shouldn't miss:

The anchor of Lake Tahoe's golf scene is undoubtedly Edgewood-Tahoe Golf Course. The site of the 1985 U.S. Senior Open, this George Fazio design, later enhanced by his more famous nephew Tom, is the No. 1 golf attraction in the area.

The lake views down the stretch get the headlines and the accolades, but one of the real strengths of the Edgewood-Tahoe layout is the green sites. Time and again, on the par-4 holes in particular, the putting surfaces are shelved seamlessly amidst groves of Ponderosa pine trees. It's a wonderful feeling to hit an accurate approach shot to greens so perfectly nestled, but most of us will be zinging through the hardwoods in one fashion or another, ricocheting off the bark.

Edgewood-Tahoe Golf Course remains the most popular choice in the region, despite its premium green fees, for several reasons. The course conditioning is excellent, and the layout features a preponderance of holes that turn from left to right.

In short, it's an ideal set up for faders. Even with all the casinos close at hand, faders outnumber hookers, on the golf course anyway, by a five-to-one margin.

Ultimately, Edgewood is about the views. There are glimpses of Heavenly Valley, looming above nearby South Lake Tahoe. There's the solitude of the tree-lined corridors and quick-running streams. Disconcertingly, there are several passing glances of the glass and brass casinos just west of the property. But the lasting impression of the golf course comes on the last several holes, as the lake looms ever larger. The penultimate hole in particular, a tiny par-3 hard by the lakeshore, has a surrealistic beauty the likes of which is rarely seen in the golf world. The snow-capped peaks in the distance are mirrored clearly in the still waters adjacent to the tee box. This hole alone, shortest on the course, explains why Edgewood is the elemental golf experience at Lake Tahoe.

Coyote Moon Golf Course, though fantastic, is undoubtedly one of the finest courses you've never heard of. Located northwest of Lake Tahoe in Truckee, Calif., Coyote Moon G.C. offers a totally secluded walk through magnificent forests. It was designed by former PGA Tour journeyman Brad Bell, opening in 2000. Bell was plagued by injuries in his pro golf career, and is but a footnote to life on Tour. But if his playing ability was commensurate to his architectural acumen, he'd have won multiple major championships.

There isn't a home, condo or casino in sight on this wonderful, rolling property. Instead there are hills, mountain views, rock-lined ponds, granite outcroppings, streams, waterfalls, and huge stands of imposing hardwoods on the course perimeter. The outward nine is a serpentine routing, while the inward journey is a counter-clockwise loop.

The uneven lies, elevated tees and greens, and doglegs both left and right make this an incredible golfing funhouse of rusticity and solitude.

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Coyote Moon Golf CourseCoyote Moon Golf Course - 4th hole

Joel Zuckerman is based in Savannah, Georgia and Park City, Utah. He is the author of five books, and his golf and travel stories have appeared in more than 100 publications around the world, including Sports Illustrated, Golfweek, Travel+Leisure Golf, Continental and Golf International.

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