Tom Weiskoph unveils new Lahontan course
Tom Weiskopf’s competitive juices were flowing. His passion for the task at hand was obvious.
The 15-time PGA Tour winner wasn’t closing in on a round of 64 or a tournament title. It was something much better. Weiskopf was unveiling and enthusiastically explaining his design work at Lahontan, an unfinished $50 million private course and residential community outside of Truckee.
These days the 54-year-old Weiskopf seldom plays on the Senior PGA Tour. Designing golf courses has consumed his life.
“This is what I want to do. I just wanted to pursue something else. For the rest of the year I’m retired,” said Weiskopf, whose 1997 Senior Tour season spanned five events.
As he’s become one of the most respected course architects in the game, Weiskopf has lost some of his desire to play competitive golf – especially after accomplishing his Senior Tour mission of winning the Open in 1995.
“The first course I designed – Troon – won best new private course. After that, I had to make a choice,” said Weiskopf, a four-time Masters runner-up.
There’s no mistaking Weiskopf’s current love, a 720-acre private course and residential community located where Little Joe and Hoss of “Bonanza” became famous, one and a half miles off State Route 267 near the Truckee Tahoe Airport.
“One out of 10 times you have a situation like this, and you have to take advantage of that,” said, Weiskopf’s 29 previous design projects include Loch Lomond in Scotland, Double Eagle and Forest Highlands. “Of all of the sites I have had the opportunity to work on since I started in 1985, this is the best one.”
Although the 7,150-yard layout is a year away from completion, Weiskopf previewed five of the holes Monday. He repeatedly marveled at the picturesque vistas and natural wetlands that outline the course while hitting green after green.
Four sets of tees, generous fairways, small and fairly flat greens, ample real estate around greens for chipping and fingered bunkers reminiscent of the San Francisco Golf Club distinguish the course.
“I believe in a lot pitching and chipping around the green, which has been somewhat removed from the game. I don’t put bunkers directly in front of the green because that’s never been a philosophy of mine. You should never penalize someone for hitting it far enough and straight,” Weiskopf said.
Lahontan’s six finishing holes may be a first – two par fours, followed by two par 3s before concluding with two straight par 5s.
Weiskopf freely admits he has a favorite hole – the 585-yard second hole, which he refers to as a true three-shot par 5. With the Gooseneck Reservoir lining the right side of the fairway, any miscalculated shot leaves the player reaching into the bag for another ball.
Weiskopf has welcomed Tahoe’s sensitive and stringent environmental requirements.
“Loch Lomond was the most difficult course I’ve dealt with environmentally. If you’re reasonable, you can work through these details with time and money. We’ve always done what they’ve told us we could do by their definition,” Weiskopf said.
Completion of the course won’t happen until as early as Memorial Day or as late as July next year. A three-building clubhouse won’t be completed until 1999. Forty-one out of a possible 435 home sites have been sold. Owning a home is a prerequisite for gaining club membership.
“There’s a lot of beauty and variety out there,” Weiskopf said.
As far as Weiskopf is concerned, it sure beats a round of 64.
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