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Nevada golf: Reno a top budget alternative to showy Las Vegas

By S. Adam Cardais,
LakeRidge Golf Course
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If you're looking for great Nevada golf and don't feel like spending a mint in Vegas, try the Robert Trent Jones Sr.-designed LakeRidge in Reno. (Chris Baldwin/WorldGolf.com)

When it comes to hitting the links in Nevada, golf in Las Vegas ain't the only game in town, baby. That's right, Reno is an excellent low-cost golf option.

From the Robert Trent Jones Sr.-designed LakeRidge Golf Course to Northgate Golf Club, Reno and its environs have some top-rate rounds of golf. And, as opposed to Vegas, you won't have to take out a second mortgage on your house to play them.

Here's a rundown of must-play golf courses in Reno.

Reno golf courses

LakeRidge Golf Course: This course has been winning praise ever since Jones designed it in 1969. Golfweek Magazine has named it the best course in Reno, and Nevada Magazine has called it the finest round of golf in northern Nevada.

The golf course is impressive from the first hole to the 18th, but LakeRidge's No. 5 stands out from all the rest. It's a golfer's dream.

"What's not to love? At the fifth tee you find yourself a jaw-dropping 145 feet above a 239-yard hole that, due to the drop, actually plays 195 from the tips," William Wolfrum wrote in a review for WorldGolf.com. "Golfers not only get a spectacular panoramic view of the Reno area but a fun and challenging tee shot to a natural island green."

Northgate Golf Club: Measuring nearly 7,000 yards with a 133 slope rating, Northgate G.C. has hosted two Reno Open Tour events and annual U.S. Open qualifying tournaments. Nicknamed the "St. Andrews of the Sierra," Northgate is a links-style design.

Watch out for the par-3 No. 16. This hole will challenge even the scratch golfer. It measures 215 yards from the championship tees and requires a precision shot to the green. Make sure to steer clear of the bunker on the front left of the green.

The Legend at ArrowCreek Country Club: This is one bruiser of a golf course. It measures just under 7,000 yards, carries a 136 slope rating and is full of devilishly abusive forced carries.

Designed by Arnold Palmer, Legend requires accuracy off the tee. And if you do manage to navigate the narrow fairways and hit a solid approach shot, you'll have to deal with the course's huge undulating greens.

Though it doesn't compare to Vegas prices, The Legend is one of the more expensive rounds in Reno.

Wolf Run Golf Club: In just under a decade, this course has become central to the Reno golf scene. Golf course architect John Fleming designed a tough but fair layout that hosts more than 30,000 rounds a year.

The course measures 7,100 yards from the tips and carries a 137 slope rating, so it no doubt packs punch, and its "elevated, sloping greens [will] make you work on approach shots," according to Wolfrum. The course offers a bit of respite in its wide, accommodating fairways.

"Simply put, Wolf Run is a very solid course, offering golfers a good test without costing as many balls as the likes of LakeRidge or ArrowCreek," Wolfrum writes.

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