It’s summertime and that means it is time to hit the courses in the High Sierra!
The weather is usually cooler than the rest of Northern California and your ego gets a boost when the ball travels further because of the altitude.
A perfect trip is to head out early Friday morning, play two courses on Friday, two on Saturday and then one Sunday morning before heading home.
There are my top five courses to play in the High Sierra, not necessarily the top five courses, although I think they stand up well. It’s a subjective list and there are five other courses I left out that would make a wonderful group of courses to play.
- Edgewood (South Lake Tahoe, http://www.edgewoodtahoe.com): It’s my all-time favorite course to play, not matter the list. Tough to beat views of the wonder that is Lake Tahoe from every hole. Hit a bad shot – take a deep breath and take in the view. Great golf holes throughout the round, my favorite three-hole stretch is 16-17-18. The second shot on the finishing hole is as good as it gets and when you putt out, you are right near Brooks Bar and Deck, one of the best places to get a post-round beverage!
- Old Greenwood (Truckee, www.oldgreenwoodgolf.com): There is certainly no shortage of courses in the Truckee area that could be on this list, but Old Greenwood has always been my favorite in the region. The Jack Nicklaus Signature Course brings all the elements of classic Nicklaus course into play. The landing areas are ample and fair, with the approach demanding much more accuracy and touch. My favorite stretch of holes is 6-8, with No. 6 a 568-yard, par 5 where water comes into play, especially after the tee shot; No. 7 is a 161-yard par 3 back over the same body of water; and No. 8 is a 334-yard, par 4 that you can reach by cutting the dogleg, but deep bunkers await if you try. Located just off Interstate 80, the course is tucked into the trees without any feeling of being right off the freeway. At the end of the round, enjoy a refreshing beverage on the patio overlooking the 18th
- Coyote Moon (Truckee, http://www.coyotemoongolf.com): Always has been a favorite of mine for the tranquility of playing a mountain course with no development on the course. The natural boulders enhance the landscape and add to the drama of the course. The 13th hole is a downhill, 206-yard par 3 that is a blind tee shot and plays 1-2 clubs less than the yardage. The 14th plays only 291 yards but requires a two-shot approach to the green, hitting your first shot about 200 yards down a narrow fairway, before hitting back across a creek to the green. Fun hole.
- Whitehawk Ranch (Clio, www.golfwhitehawk.com): Located off Highway 89 in the Graeagle area, the course gives you a different perspective of mountain golf as you really are away from it all. Just a great, peaceful area that features some top-notch golf courses in the area. The course winds through the trees and through meadow areas. An even greater escape than most mountain courses.
- The Dragon (Clio, www.nakomarosort.com): Another course about 45 minutes from Truckee, this is a course that is sure to start some conversations. Originally designed as one of the toughest courses on the planet, it has been softened and is top-flight track. I liked the original no matter how tough it was and now I love the new course. From the elevated first tee that affords sensational vistas of the surrounding region to the 18th that leads you back to the Franklin Lloyd Wright designed clubhouse – the only golf clubhouse he ever designed – it’s a wonderful mountain golf experience. And, when you seek lodging for the night, look at the relatively new Lodge at Nakoma. The 42-room property is high-class lodging among the pines.
By Dennis Miller