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Reno, Lake Tahoe areas present diverse, scenic golf

By Staff
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Red Hawk is a top daily-fee golf course in the High Sierra area. (Courtesy Golf the High Sierras)

If the Reno and Lake Tahoe areas have an inferiority complex and feel left in the shadows as a golfing location by their bigger Nevada neighbor to the South - Las Vegas - it certainly isn't easy to recognize.

With diverse weather and golf courses designed by some of the biggest names in golf design, this is an area is one that has carved its own niche into the nearby High Sierra mountains.

As a golfing location, Reno is a natural as it's less than an hour from the unique beauty of Lake Tahoe, as well as other golf-course-laden cities like Carson City.

And the golf was created by the masters - Robert Trent Jones Sr., Robert Trent Jones Jr., George Fazio, Tom Fazio, Arnold Palmer, Peter Jacobsen, Johnny Miller, Fuzzy Zoeller and Hale Irwin are among the architects to put their fingerprints on the golf courses of this spectacular region.

Reno golf

The Jones Jr.-designed Springs Course at the Resort at Red Hawk Golf Club is always a course to not miss in Reno, even though the course is in the bordering city of Sparks. More than 100 bunkers will block your path at this links-styled course.

Water will come into play on 11 of the course's 18 holes, and the bluegrass hybrid fairways are consistently in strong condition.

"Red Hawk is the core of the upscale daily-fee golf courses being built today," wrote TravelGolf.com's David Holland. "There's first-class service and a top-shelf conditioned field of green to hit off of and putt on."

The Springs Course measures out at 7,127 yards from the back tees. Red Hawk also features the first Golf Learning Center and Golf School in Northern Nevada, and the practice facility features multi-tiered practice stations, bunker practice areas, putting greens and target greens.

Wildcreek Golf Course measures at just less than 7,000 yards from the tips and was a stop on the Senior PGA Tour during the mid-80s.

"The seniors pretty much cussed the No. 11 hole to high heaven," wrote Holland. "It's a 380-yarder uphill to an elevated green. Wildcreek decided to rip up the 11th green, build another and play it like a par 3."

Wildcreek was designed by Brad Benz and Dick Phelps, and glorious views of the Sierra Nevada Mountains will usher you through your round. One of the busiest public courses in the area, Wildcreek has GPS systems in their carts and reasonable green fees.

Robert Trent Jones Sr. and Jr. combined to put together Lake Ridge Golf Course, which was one of the original golf communities in Reno. A creek presents itself as a challenge through eight holes with lakes and elevation climbs keeping a golfer tested at Lake Ridge. And the par-3, 239-yard shot to an island green will have them amped.

Lake Tahoe golf

Few areas on the globe bring the scenic majesty to golfers that Lake Tahoe and its surrounding area do, with few being untouched by the scenery.

Edgewood Tahoe has been the home of the celebrity tour's American Century Golf Championship, with former Major League pitcher and outstanding golfer Rick Rhoden calling it the U.S. Open of celebrity golf.

Ranked No. 98 on the Golf Magazine "Top 100 You Can Play List," in 2000, this George and Tom Fazio designed course is nearing its 40th birthday and remains as relevant as when it was built in 1968.

The Dragon at Gold Mountain is located in the nearby town of Graeagle, in the stunning Feather River Canyon area that borders the Plumas National Forest.

"The Dragon lurks in the deep gorges overlooking the Wild and Scenic Feather River and is sure to add five strokes to your handicap when you stay busy with the camera and vistas of Golf Mountain," wrote Holland.

A notoriously tough course that leaves many low-handicapped players shaking their heads, the Dragon is a must-play in the area, even with higher-than-average green fees for the area.

The Golf Club at Whitehawk Ranch is the first design effort of Dick Bailey, who created this course that winds through the Mohawk Valley. A variety of trees, as well as lakes and ponds will come into play, with the natural vegetation adding a luster to this scenic course.

Other great plays in the area include: The Golf Courses at Incline Village, the Resort at Squaw Creek, Coyote Moon, Plumas Pines Golf Resort and the Lake Tahoe Golf Course.

Carson City golf

Just down Highway 395 from Reno is Carson City where you'll have several golfing options, starting with the Sierra Nevada Golf Ranch. Designed by golf great Johnny Miller and architect John Harbottle, this challenging setup will have you harkening back to the days of the old West, with a whopping 114 bunkers in your path.

At 7,358 yards from the tips, the course culminates in a fascinating challenge at holes 17 and 18. The No. 17 is a 188-yard, par-3 that plays to an island green, while the 18th is a 561-yard, par 5, which will have you navigating water.

"Here's the best tip about playing Sierra Nevada Golf Ranch -- go early in the morning before the wind has a chance to blow," wrote Holland.

The Golf Club at Genoa Lakes has recently underwent a huge renovation. A huge clubhouse and pro shop are now leading you to the course, which has been used as a course for U.S. Open qualifying.

Ranked the fourth "Best New Public Golf Course" in North America in 1994 by Golf Digest. This is a course that has set itself up to be a quality outing for years to come.

More courses in the area include Wolf Run Golf Club, Rosewood Lakes Golf Course, Arrow Creek Golf Club, Northgate Golf Club and D'Andrea Country Club.

Where to stay, play

Keep in mind, in Reno, Carson City and a lot of Lake Tahoe, you're in Nevada where gambling is legal. Due to this, your options for a quality hotel room at a reasonable price are usually excellent.

Places to stay in Reno or Carson City include the Atlantis Casino Resort, Harrah's Reno, Hilton, Peppermill and Carson Valley Inn. In Lake Tahoe, Caesars Tahoe is a favorite, as are Northstar-at-Tahoe and Harveys.

For help booking

For help booking online call (877) 332-4465. We'll be happy to assist you Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. - 7 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

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