When buddies’ trips are headed for Truckee or Reno, knowledgeable organizers set aside the Monday round for Schaffer’s Mill in Truckee.
The semi-private club is only open for public play on Mondays—it’s reserved for members the rest of the week. Mondays can be busy—in mid-September, the course was booked from the first tee time until after 3 p.m. with the sun going down around 7 p.m. For country club members, the course offers reciprocal play.
Schaffer’s Mill is located at the roundabout at the end of the road of the same name—the entrance is on the right, while straight ahead are the gates of the private Martis Camp club, while to the left are the gates to Lahontan, the original private golf development in the neighborhood. That roundabout serves what’s probably the priciest real estate without a lake view.
Real estate has been hopping at Schaffer’s Mill with probably 20 homes under construction in various areas of the golf course. Those homes are set back so they do not come into play.
The course was designed by John Harbottle and Johnny Miller who routed the front nine through the meadows and then took the back nine up onto the ridge. The signature hole on the front side is No. 9, a 480-yard par 4 that runs between Schaffer’s Mill Road and the entry road into the development. The green is guarded by a pond to the left that runs around it and highlights the development entry.
That’s preceded by a 590-yard par 5 that includes a challenging approach shot to an elevated green.
After crossing the street, golfers take on the 445-yard dogleg left to open the back nine. No. 10 is a short, 302-yard uphill par 4 that is drivable for the big hitters. It’s a scoring hole.
Nos. 14 and 15 run across ridgelines to greens perched on the edge of ravines. You do not want to be long on your approach shots and the bunkers, well below the greens, are no bargain.
No. 17 is one of the signature holes. It plays 435 yards sharply downhill and big hitters may well want to take a 3-metal off the tee to avoid running all the way through the fairway and into the pond that guards the green on any approach shot that’s not from the left side of the fairway.
No. 18 takes the water from that hazard and makes it a stream that needs to be crossed twice—once off the tee and once on the second shot. The green is guarded by a pond to the right so favoring left is good strategy.
The greens, as you would expect, were in excellent shape, quick and true.
The course offers an excellent practice area with driving range, sand trap and putting green.
It plays 7,010 from the tips with a slope of 141. When the course opened in 2008 just as the wheels were coming off the economy, it was widely recognized as one of the best new private courses by golf publications.
Green fees for non-members during prime season (June-September) are $215.
The clubhouse, designed for the members, includes a full bar as well as a grill to grab a bite before, during or after the round.
By Tim Hunt