By Mike Bailey,
When visiting Lake Tahoe, make plans to play superb golf courses such as Edgewood Tahoe, the Resort at Squaw Creek and Incline Village, and Coyote Moon.
There are few places on earth as breathtaking, clean and awe-inspiring as Lake Tahoe, one of the world's largest and bluest Alpine Lakes.
Which means there are also few places on earth that serve as a better golf setting.
Both the north and the south shores of the lake, located on the California-Nevada border about an hour from Reno, also serve as a ski paradise from late fall to spring. Tahoe, however, is as inviting in summer and early fall for water sports, hiking, nature watching and, of course, golf.
Reflecting the white caps of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in the background, Lake Tahoe is also the second deepest lake in America at more than 1,600 feet in some places. Its shoreline stretches 71 miles, and it's surrounded by resorts, hotels, casinos and quaint restaurants.
Drive along its shores and you might want to stop off at places like Emerald Bay, reportedly the second most photographed spot in the world, or Thunderbird Lodge, which was built in 1936 and offers daily tours during the summer.
The lake, of course, is the perfect background for golf courses such as Edgewood Tahoe in Stateline, Nev. Located on the South Shore, Edgewood has hosted the popular American Century Championship celebrity tournament since 1990.
Designed by George Fazio, with recent renovations by Tom Fazio, the now 7,500-yard Edgewood course is best known for its finishing stretch along the lake. The par-5 16th, which often plays into the wind and toward the lake, is one of the best risk-reward par 5s in the country. The 17th is a terrific par 3 that runs along the shore, and the 18th is another risk-reward par 5 with a tricky green.
Just off the North Shore of the lake are the Resort at Squaw Creek and Incline Village.
Squaw Creek, which is in Olympic Valley, Calif., is a Robert Trent Jones Jr.-designed links-style course that plays through the valley of the mountains that hosted the 1960 Winter Olympics.
Incline Village (Nev.) features 36 holes of the par-58 Mountain Course and the par-72 Championship Course that was renovated in 2004. The latter, designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr., is a shot makers course that winds its tight fairways through tall pines and hazards just off the North Shore of Lake Tahoe.
A little farther north in Truckee are two more gems, Coyote Moon Golf Course and its sister course, Old Greenwood.
At 6,300 feet above sea level, Coyote Moon is one of the finest mountain courses in the country. With an abundance of wildlife, the course gets its name from its resident coyotes, which you might see near its signature hole, the 227-yard, par-3 13th. The tee is perched some 200 feet above the green, so the hole plays at least two or three clubs less than its yardage.
The Jack Nicklaus-designed Old Greenwood course, which can play to more than 7,500 yards, is a championship test that showcases a great variety of holes around extensive bunkering, water hazards and doglegs. The facility also features The Golf Academy at Old Greenwood, a 1,500-square-foot golf school led by noted teacher Keith Lyford.
For breakfast, you might want to stop off at the Red Hut Waffle Shop on Lake Tahoe Blvd on the South Shore for terrific waffles with fresh berries, omelets or sausage gravy over biscuits. There's also the Fire Sign Cafe in Tahoe City.
Also on the South Shore, there's Steamers, known for its taco nights twice a week, or Sprouts, serving healthy juices, rice bowls and sandwiches.
You could also try The Bridgewater on the North Shore, a great haunt for burgers and people watching, or Moody's Bistro and Lounge for fine dining in historic Truckee.
In Truckee, you can also get a great burrito at Jalisco's Tacos, an eclectic blend of Thai, Japanese, Indian and Malaysian influences at the new Dragonfly, or Asian-style tapas, sushi and sake at the Drunken Monkey in Truckee.
Another great place to grab a bite is the Village at Northstar, which is also one the area's premier ski resorts. The Village offers everything from gourmet pizza and chocolate to perfect sushi.
Lake Tahoe is surrounded by first-class accommodations. On the South Shore, there's Harrah's, an 18-story hotel with luxurious guest rooms, restaurants, a spa and a casino.
You could also stay at the Embassy Suites-Lake Tahoe Hotel and Ski Resort, an all suites hotel with more than 400 rooms, or the Lakeland Village Beach & Mountain Resort Lake Tahoe.
On the North Shore, there's the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort, Spa and Casino in Incline Village, the Resort at Squaw Creek, the Cal Neva Resort Casino Hotel in Crystal Bay and Truckee's Northstar Resort, which also has its own golf course.
You can fly into Reno-Tahoe International Airport or Sacramento International Airport. It will take about two hours to reach Lake Tahoe from the Sacramento area, and about an hour from Reno.
August 10, 2009
Any opinions expressed above are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of the management. The information in this story was accurate at the time of publication. All contact information, directions and prices should be confirmed directly with the golf course or resort before making reservations and/or travel plans.