TRUCKEE, Calif. — The Great Recession left no stone unturned when it hit the Truckee area just a few short years ago. Homeowners were affected, as were many developers who had started projects at what appeared in hindsight to be the worst possible time.
Among the casualties was a 400-acre private golf club and community at the end of Schaffer Mill Road, just west of Truckee Tahoe Airport.
In 2011, a new ownership group came in and purchased what was then called “Timilick” and began working to restore what had always been considered some of the most striking land in the Martis Valley.
The name was changed to Schaffer’s Mill, in honor of Truckee founder George Schaffer, and the new owners set about being better citizens of the Truckee community.
The club, which was without a restaurant at the time, chose to work with locally owned Full Belly Deli to provide all their food (instead of going with a national provider).
The group opened the championship golf course to numerous community events, including the annual “Family Golf Day” (scheduled this year in August), a local cycle race and numerous charitable golf tournaments.
After completing necessary infrastructure work in the development and adding the North Village portion of the clubhouse in 2012 and 2013, respectively, the progress was recognized internationally as Schaffer’s Mill worked with the town of Truckee to be the venue for the 2014 HGTV Dream Home this past winter.
The HGTV Dream Home is more than just a prize for one lucky winner — it’s a substantial tourism draw and community fundraiser.
Over the course of the early spring, more than 5,000 people visited the home, raising more than $50,000 for the Tahoe Forest Health System Foundation to support Tahoe Forest Health System’s Wellness Neighborhood initiative.
“The team from Schaffer’s Mill was so generous with their time and money,” said Martha Simon, director of fund development for the foundation. “From the very beginning they committed to helping us achieve our goals, and it was clear that supporting our group was more than a necessary exercise — they really cared about helping us make a positive impact in our community.”
Last fall, Schaffer’s Mill announced to members it would open the 2014 season as a private club. This was part of a plan that had been put in place in 2011, and since, membership has grown by more than 40 new families, more than 80 percent of whom live outside of the Schaffer’s Mill community.
The club does allow non-member play on Mondays, as well as reciprocal play with other private clubs; the club also hosts group outings each year to help support local fundraising efforts.
“We’re excited by the addition of new members,” said John Marlin, managing partner at New Martis Partners, the Schaffer’s Mill ownership group. “Truckee and Tahoe have so much to offer, and we’re pleased that our amenities connect our members to the lake and the mountains. It is also gratifying that the local community has embraced our various membership options. We don’t want to be an island at the end of Schaffer’s Mill Road.”
The amenities to which Marlin refers include the 18-hole golf course, a 7.4-acre Clubhouse Village with pool, restaurant, fitness center, tennis and sports shop; a 48-foot yacht for members to use on Lake Tahoe; a member ski retreat in the Village at Northstar; a club shuttle; a club concierge; and preferred dining privileges at Jake’s on the Lake.
Real estate sales have also been strong, and this has helped not only the project owners, but the Truckee economy. When homesites are being sold, that means that the entire construction industry is benefiting.
While Marlin acknowledges there is always more to be done, he is pleased with the progress that’s been made.
“Truckee/Tahoe is a special place, and my family and I feel blessed every day we are here,” he said. “My hope is that we leave a legacy at Schaffer’s Mill that’s about inclusion, not exclusion, and that we honor the beauty of the Martis Valley.”