Edgewood at Tahoe has long been the crown jewel in the High Sierra golfing world. The incredible views of Lake Tahoe, highlighted by the final two holes running right along the lake, combine to make it a wonderful round of golf.
Despite the surrounding Stateline casinos and the hundreds of hotel rooms that come with it, if one wanted to be nitpicky about Edgewood, you could point to no lodging on the property as a drawback.
In the fall of 2017, Edgewood took care of that with The Lodge, a project that cemented Edgewood’s legendary status. The project dates to 2008 when Edgewood started the approval phase. It was not a smooth process in the Tahoe area.
The Lodge, a non-gaming location, has 154 rooms, a 120-seat restaurant, an 8,000-square-foot spa, a fitness center, a lakefront pool and terrace and a 6,000-square-foot conference center. It makes Edgewood a destination resort, regardless of the season you stay at The Lodge.
It also provided year-round employment for residents such as Ron Blum. He taught skiing at nearby Heavenly Valley for 14 years while spending his summers at the Edgewood golf course. Now, he’s year-round at Edgewood, serving as the ski concierge during winter months.
Guests have direct access to the lake with lawns leading down to the beach. To accommodate the project the former beach-front parking lot for the golf course was transformed into the lawns. Complementary valet parking now is offered at the clubhouse.
It also enhanced the golf course significantly. Edgewood has always been known for its signature 17th hole along the shore of Lake Tahoe and its 18th hole that also finishes lake-side. The rest of the course was routed inland until No. 16 brought you back to the water.
The addition of The Lodge required shifting the ninth fairway and what a great change it was. The inland dogleg right was replaced by a 417-yard par 4 slight dogleg that is now beachfront. Jerk a shot way left and you can find the sand of Lake Tahoe, but will have a play back to the fairway or the green. The Lodge overlooks the ninth hole.
The third lakefront hole puts an exclamation point on the front nine just as 17 and 18 do on the backside.
The changes also included a larger and relocated green for No. 8 and a redesigned par 3 No. 7 that was shifted to accommodate the new entrance road.
When you arrive for a round of golf at Edgewood, do take advantage of the expansive driving range. And, if it is the first round you’re playing at the 6,200-foot elevation, pay attention to your distances—balls generally carry about 10 percent farther at this altitude. The large driving range is needed to handle the field for the annual American Century Celebrity Tournament each July.
Those distances are necessary on No. 1 where the fairway is bounded on the left by water so drives can go through the fairway and into the drink. The green on No. 1 also gets you ready for the round. Decent size and easy to hit, once you get on, the greens are no bargain with numerous breaks and levels. Add in that they were rolling at 12-plus on the Stimp meter in late August and you do not want to be above the hole.
The front 9 features unique back-to-back par 5s on No. 3 and No. 4. Both are very solid golf holes. No. 3 at 575 yards can be shortened by cutting the corner on the dogleg, but, come up short, and you’re in the rough or buried in the middle of trees with no choice but to punch out.
The 4th hole runs back along Highway 50 (the only time you are aware that there’s civilization nearby once you leave the clubhouse). It’s 520 yards with a creek and crud protecting the right side. Getting home in two is a challenge because it plays uphill to a green guarded by a large, deep bunker.
After a par 3 over the same ravine that No. 12 plays over, it’s on to No. 6 and another hole to be careful from the tee. It plays 398 yards downhill and you may not want to unleash the driver because if your ball goes right, it’s wet. The approach shot is daunting with the lake covering the front of the green and bunkers to the left and the right. If you miss left and the pin is in the front, you’ve brought the pond back into play.
After the redesigned No. 7, it’s on to No. 8 where a huge pine tree stands in the center of the fairway at 260 yards from the tee on the 430-yard hole. The new green is quite large and has a large bunker on the right.
The new No. 9 then turns back to lakeshore at 417 yards to another large green with traps left and right.
Before the 10th tee, stop for refreshments at the snack building and get ready for the back nine that closes with three truly great golf holes.
No. 10 runs parallel to No. 1, again with water left. No. 11 requires a drive over the pond that fronts No. 6 as well and then an uphill approach shot.
It gets really interesting on No. 12 which is 187 yards over a deep ravine (think No. 5) and it uphill and all carry. The green is guarded by a deep and large trap and is wide, but narrow. Take enough club off the tee and be prepared for a slick putt depending upon where your ball settles on the green.
The next two holes are both doglegs right from elevated tees. Miss right on the first par 5 and you’re in wetlands with plenty of trees. No. 13 requires a solid approach shot to an elevated green—the opposite is the case on No. 14 that brings the lake back into play along the left side.
No. 15 runs uphill with a blind tee shot at 425 yards. There’s a huge bunker guarding the front of the green from about 20 yards out. Hole out and take a deep breath and get ready for the closing three holes.
The ride starts on No. 16, a downhill 547-yard par 5, which takes you back to Lake Tahoe. The beauty of the hole tends to mask the danger, starting with a huge tree on the right-center of the fairway just 230 yards off the tee.
Get by the tree and your task is nowhere near close to being done as six—yes, six—big traps surround the green starting almost 100 yards out. Incidentally, there’s also fairway traps on the left side of the fairway to match the tree on the right.
A big drive gives you the chance to get home in two, but there’s no margin for error between the traps fronting the green as well as bordering both sides. The green is 48 yards deep sloping from back to front with other undulations so there’s plenty of opportunity to three putt if you find yourself well away from the pin.
Enjoy the drive along the beach to No. 17, the favorite hole of the celebrities and fans who line that beach during the American Century. The hole plays vastly differently depending upon the wind. At 175 yards your aiming point can be anything from dead at the pin to starting it over the lake if the wind is howling from the west. If those winds blow, go ahead and convince yourself to aim over Lake Tahoe with your tee shot.
The shot requires all carry over the beach and the bunkers that front the green.
No 18 is one of the great closing holes because the 501-yard par 5 is reachable in two with a big drive. But, to get home in two, the second shot must be accurate with a lake to the left of the green, Lake Tahoe and the beach to the right with a narrow run-up gap between. The tiny opening leaves little choice but to fly it onto the green.
After finishing the round, head for Brook’s Bar and the deck for post-round libations and some food. It’s one of the highest rated 19th holes by national golf publications—ACES agrees.
Plain and simple, Edgewood is a must-play. It’s the Pebble Beach of the High Sierra. Walk the course, especially if it’s a nice day. Edgewood has nice push-carts—a golf cart is included with the green fee ($280 weekend in prime season, $260 during the week). The carts are equipped with GPS so there’s no guessing on yardage.
The Lodge is the first phase of lodging at Edgewood. The resort also has government approval for 40 cabins between the eighth and ninth fairways. These are planned for fractional ownership. Management has not set a date for ground breaking.
By Dennis Miller& Tim Hunt