Area golf courses catering to early birds
While skiers, tubers and snowboarders are lamenting the early melting of snow in the Tahoe Basin, golf course operators are rejoicing.
A forgiving late winter and early spring is allowing Lake Tahoe Golf Course to open its driving range on Saturday and all 18 holes by the middle of April.
“We’re finally having a spring, and if things go as great as they’re going, we’ll have one of the earliest starts in history,” said LTGC head pro Mike Durst.
Only traces of snow are visible on the second and fifth holes, meaning that the course is almost playable.
“It’s just a matter of getting the maintenance crew on the course and doing a good job,” said Durst, who hopes to open nine holes April 8 and 18 holes by April 14.
Green fees are $45 for walkers Monday through Thursday, and $65 daily with a cart. The twilight rate (after 2 p.m.) is $33 for walkers and $46 for riders. Lessons are also available.
Until the course opens, players can prepare their games on the driving range, which opens at 9 a.m. Saturday. Range hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, with a half bucket costing $5 and a full bucket $8. The chipping area also opens Saturday, but Durst is uncertain when the putting green will open.
For tee times, phone (530) 577-0788.
Edgewood Tahoe, home to the American Century Celebrity Golf Championship in July, is planning to open the gates to its scenic lakefront course on May 17.
But players can get on the course a few days earlier by playing in the Boosters Club tournaments that benefit South Tahoe and Whittell high schools’ athletic programs May 13 and 14. Locals’ Day is May 15.
Green fees are $200 per player if tee reservations (775-588-3566) are made outside of 14 days and $175 if made inside 14 days.
A redesigned fourth hole awaits visitors. The green for the par-5 hole has been moved near the fifth tee.
“It’s nice that the green has been moved away from the road,” said Edgewood assistant pro Chris Holmes. “Because of the nice weather it’s going to turn out well really quick.”
Two area courses that test players shot-making accuracy and short games – Tahoe Paradise and Bijou Municipal – are also in the process of preparing for an early opening.
Dawn Beeman, manager of Tahoe Paradise Golf Course, a pine tree-lined course made up of par-3 and par-4 holes, is hoping to open nine to the public April 20 and 18 by May 1.
“All the greens are uncovered and the course is going to be in good shape,” Beeman said. “We’re right up with the other courses, which is surprising.”
Green fees are $32 for walkers and $48 for riders. A midweek pass, good for unlimited play Sunday through Thursday, is available for $250.
Plans are being made to open the driving range this weekend. A small bucket of balls is $3 and a large $5.50.
Bijou Municipal, a nine-hole course just off U.S. Highway 50, envisions a middle of April opening – unless the ski industry doesn’t cooperate.
“It depends on returning employees. Most everbody who works for me works for the ski resorts,” said Bijou general manager Stan Bobman. “The course is in really good shape, we’re anticipating an early opening, a good start and a good season.”
Green fees are $12 for residents and $15 for nonresidents. Seniors can play on Wednesdays for $9.
A short drive outside of the Tahoe Basin allows players to fire at the pins immediately at Genoa Lakes and Sierra Nevada Golf Ranch near Genoa, Nev.
Genoa Lakes head pro Randy Fox reports that his 18-hole course has escaped winter better than ever.
“We’re way ahead of the last three years,” Fox said. “It’s exciting for everybody, and the fever starts early, even before the Masters.
“Even though we had a lot of precipitation, the snowfalls were so high, we got a lot of rain down here. It’s really helped out the course, and it’s in real good shape for this time of the year.”
Genoa Lakes’ 18-hole rates are $40 Monday through Friday and $50 Saturday and Sunday.
Genoa Lakes’ golfing calendar includes local U.S. Open qualifying May 15 and Public Links qualifying June 20 and 21. For tee times, phone (775) 588-GOLF.
Down Jacks Valley Road at Sierra Golf Ranch, the 18-hole championship course is reporting similar conditions.
“Our course is in excellent shape and came through the winter very well,” said Priscilla Pallo, the Ranch’s membership director.
Beginning April 1, greens fees with a cart increase from $40 to $50 Monday through Thursday and from $40 to $70 Friday through Sunday. Twilight rates (after noon) are $40 weekdays and $50 on weekends, while supertwilight rates (after 2 p.m.) are $25 weekdays and $30 on weekends.
The Ranch also boasts a 10-acre practice facility, including a driving range where a large bag of balls is $5. Phone (775) 782-7000, ext. 236 for tee times.
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