Golf the High Sierra’s

The Majestic Lake Tahoe Area

All around the lake, regions shine with their own style, full of surprises and stunning views. Lake Tahoe itself is unique for its deep blue hues, tan sandy beaches and the most photographed point in the world-Emerald Bay, second only to the Great Wall of China. Fly into the biggest little city of Reno, Nevada via Southwest or other major airlines. Formed as a second Vegas, just hours from the Bay area, it is an entertainment center surrounded by superb golf such as LakeRidge Golf Course. It’s a walk in the park until the 16th par 3 island green. From the elevated tee box, the Reno skyline reflects on the lake below, setting the stage for a dramatic golf vacation. Close to the airport, the new Atlantis has state of the art facilities and the best surf or turf cuisine in their Bistro Napa. Reno tourism officials tout not only the rodeos, bowling championships and golf, but the Testicle Festival – your guess is as good as ours. The Reno Aces stadium puts major league baseball venues to shame. With high rise neon backdrops, the freight district connection, libation and amusements for any age, nothing beats the treat of $45 dugout seats, all in walking distance of Harrah’s Casino.

Border hopping across the state lines of California and Nevada, scenic trains blow their whistles on the tracks along the Truckee River, parallel to highway 80 and into town. The Truckee Donner Lodge at the entrance to the Donner Memorial State Park is a thrifty choice for comfy rooms and inspirational hikes. No need to worry about food these days. Stop by The Truckee River Winery before escaping the Donner Party fate in one of the world class restaurants. Italian Pianeti’s upstairs terrace is reminiscent of the proposal in the movie, “Love Actually”. At Gray’s Crossing, challenging number 9 and 18 bring golfers in mad, elated or ready to replay for revenge. Watching players finish 18 in front of a teepee shaped fire pit, tops off the round. During the night, we were transformed inside a snow globe as pear sized flakes streamed down the window. A one inch blanket in June snowed us out of the Coyote Moon golf round even though we surely could have played with shiny Chromax balls.

We proceeded to the Lake Basin area. The pace of life is slowed by the surrender to natural beauty in Graeagle with fine golf choices minutes away. Private cabins at The Lodge at Whitehawk Ranch are nestled by the woods and pond with porch chairs to survey the wildlife while sipping tea or one of Janet’s margaritas concocted with jalapeno sorbet muddled in tequila. The Whitehawk Ranch course evokes an expectance that Hoss from Bonanza will ride up to the tee box. Pass the horse stables (or stop and ride) en route to Plumas Pines Golf, a striking beauty with rental villas in the valley. Dine with Chef Sean Conry at the Longboard’s Bar and Grill with the smell of fresh baked bread wafting through the air. Mountains and Ponderosa Pines tower above all, their branches waving magic wands to make worries and stress disappear. Streams teem with swirls of fish.

Not to be confused with Griswold Vacation’s Wally World, David Walley’s Hot Springs Resort features warm pools with only a hint of sulfur and magnificent snow capped views. Mule deer abound on Genoa Lakes with a smattering of coyotes, as evidenced by one deer with half a leg, prancing across the fairway. Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course is distinguished by a magnificent clubhouse, lakeside holes and home to the Celebrity Challenge with the likes of Michael Jordan, Ray Romano and Charles Barkley. Play in shorts and gaze on the reflections of snow capped mountains dancing on the blue water in one of nature’s idyllic settings. Or golf with altitude at the Incline Village Championship Golf Course. Long hitters rejoice; even average drivers get distance. The new contender is Schaffer’s Mill, another majestic run with facilities under construction. Bold lake views make homes at Sierra Shores ideal for accommodating a bunch of family or friends with private stairs leading to a sandy beach. Ski, tee and wet a hook just before dark for the ultimate sports trifecta. Four seasons of outdoor activities beckon, from gold panning to sailing. The golf courses are in great shape, freshly awakened from the winter like hungry bears from hibernation. Go to and rediscover a beautiful part of America.

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