Lake Tahoe Basin golf courses planning for ‘great’ season
Lake Tahoe Golf Course didn’t open until May 8 last year and didn’t charge full rates to play 18 holes until mid-June due to extremely wet, conditions.
The Mountain Course at Incline Village had so much snow to deal with it didn’t open until June 8. The Championship Course at a slightly lower elevation fared a little better and opened its tee boxes on May 26.
The historic winter claimed a chunk of the golf season.
“There was a lot of dead grass out there after a horrible, no good, very rotten winter,” said Kevin Sommerfeld, LTGC general manager. “There was a lot of standing water that killed a lot of grass. And the snow didn’t melt forever.”
A new year has brought a change of fortune.
Courses are opening up all around the Tahoe Basin and the spring conditions couldn’t be much better for golfers to try and keep that tiny sphere in the short grass.
LTGC is first to open on South Shore
Lake Tahoe Golf Course, located just outside South Lake Tahoe city limits on the way to Meyers, opened for the season Monday, April 23. Conditions are “fantastic” and full spring rates are being charged right from the start.
That’s in sharp contrast to losing nearly two months of the season last year. With golfers already on the course, revenue should be much higher.
“The conditions are fantastic,” Sommerfeld said. “The greens all came back excellent and the grass is incredibly green right now. Everything is up and running. It’s going to be a great season.”
The par-71, 6,741-yard William Bell-designed, California State Parks-owned course is a certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary, the only one in South Lake Tahoe, according to laketahoegc.com.
The Upper Truckee River winds its way through the course and comes into play on seven holes and each tee box has views of Mount Tallac, Twin Peaks and Heavenly Mountain Resort.
Sommerfeld said the bar has been completely remodeled and new kitchen equipment has been installed to provide more “consistent” service.
But as far as the golf course goes, he says, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
LTGC this year is offering a local’s special. Golfers for $39.99 per month receive a large bucket of balls daily, access to four free hour-long clinics and greens fees range from $15 to $35 depending on dates and times. There are some limitations and blackout dates. The regular rate for 18 holes during primetime (8 a.m. to noon) is $89.
“It’s a way to come out and learn how to play golf,” Sommerfeld said. “It’s affordable, and affordable and Tahoe golf doesn’t always go together, but this is a great program for locals. Sign up online or come into the golf shop.”
Incline Championship, Mountain courses set to open a week apart
A snowcat from Diamond Peak Ski Resort was used last year to help clear snow from the golf courses. The ski lifts stopped churning in late April last year with over 10 feet of snow still on the mountain — people stopped skiing and started looking for more seasonal activities.
They had to wait nearly two months to start playing golf.
“The difference is huge between last year and this year,” said Jaclyn Ream, marketing coordinator for the Incline Village General Improvement District. “Last year we used a snowcat, this year we’ve just used push blowers and shovels.”
Superintendent for the courses, Jeff Clouthier, had the Championship course greens cleared of snow in early April and was almost there on the Mountain course. He also had his crew spread black sand and black mulch to “enhance melting.”
The hard work has resulted in opening much sooner than a year ago with much better conditions. The Championship course, a 7,106-yard, par-72, 18-hole test for any golfer, will be open Friday, May 11. The 18-hole, par-58 Mountain course measures 3,527 yards and will open the next week, Friday, May 18.
The driving range at the in-town course is open with the putting and chipping areas to open Friday, May 4.
Rates for the Championship course range anywhere from $40 to $140 through June 14 depending on days and times. The prices jump to $55 to $190 through Sept. 23. Also, leave your denim at home and wear a collared shirt. And don’t show up on Wednesday afternoons after 3 p.m., the course is closed for maintenance.
The Mountain course is at the highest elevation of any golf course in Nevada and Tahoe Basin. Rates range from $30 to $50 through June 14 and rise to $40 to $70 through late September. Denim is allowed, but it better look nice with no holes or frays. Shorts must be mid-thigh length and no tank tops are allowed except for sleeveless polos.
The high-elevation course is home for Tahoe Golf League Fridays in the fall where any golfer can add a little friendly competition. Sundays are Family Fun Days with anyone under 18 playing for free with a paying adult.
“We are very excited to welcome all of our regulars back to the courses for another great season of Lake Tahoe golf this year,” said Michael McCloskey, director of golf for both courses, in a press release. “This off-season our maintenance teams have been able to do extensive work on both courses, and we’re confident that we’ll be able to provide excellent conditions on both courses as well as our practice facilities all season long.”
Edgewood Tahoe celebrating 50th anniversary
When Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course first opened in 1968, it was the first public course with holes directly on the shoreline of Lake Tahoe.
The George Fazio-designed, 7,529-yard, par-72 course has played host to countless tournaments. The course closes every year in mid-summer peak season to host the Celebrity Golf Tournament. This year’s event is July 10-15.
Edgewood hosted a high school invitational on Thursday, May 3, and will open to the public on Monday, May 7.
And for the first three days, Edgewood is offering a locals’ special. Residents from the South Shore can play for a discounted rate of $90 with government identification proving the local residence.
Edgewood is also enticing customers with a 50th anniversary stay and play package that begins on opening day and lasts through May 31. Blackout dates include May 25-27. The special deal starts at $399 and includes one night in a Tahoe Room Sunday through Thursday and two rounds of golf with cart. The price jumps $100 to stay Thursday through Saturday. Regular rates for May are $140 per round on the weekdays and $160 on weekends. One night at the hotel starts at $225.
South Shore’s oldest course opens the latest
The city of South Lake Tahoe-operated Bijou Golf Course is the oldest course on the South Shore and will open the last.
The executive, 9-hole, par-32 course that opened in the 1920s, is located in the city limits in the shadow of Heavenly Mountain Resort.
With most of its holes located near a creek, the city is at the mercy of the spring swells onto the links.
“We have some flooding issues with the creek overflowing onto the course,” said Lauren Tomaselli, recreation superintendent for the city. “Our goal is always to open by Memorial Day weekend.”
She said that target date shouldn’t be a problem this year and is holding out hope the course may open sooner. Last year, the course didn’t open until “mid-to-late June.”
“We’d really like to open early, but it depends on Mother Nature,” Tomaselli said.
This year the course is looking to expand its offerings at the pro shop “to provide a little more amenities,” she added.
The first nine holes cost $18 Monday through Sunday. To play a full 18, it’s $29.
The course offers multi-use local value passes and among the options is a package where $135 will take care of 10, 9-hole rounds.
Tahoe Paradise Golf Course set to open 9 holes
Tahoe Paradise Golf Course is set to open nine holes of its executive 18-hole course on Friday, May 4, according to its answering machine in the pro shop.
The 4,028-yard, par-66 course located in Meyers just off U.S. 50 has all the amenities, including pro shop, practice facilities and a snack bar for enjoying a post-round brew.
The course offers various rates for 18 holes depending on the time of day. Prices range anywhere from $20 to $62. The 9-hole cost to walk is $30 and $42 with a cart.
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