Ponderosa Golf Course

By TJ Lester ·



Ponderosa Golf Course ·


9 holes | Par 35
Yardage | 2,556-3,022
Course rating | 67.6-69.6
Slope| 120-121

Ponderosa Golf Course is Truckee’s oldest golf course. It was developed by the Truckee townspeople and designed by Bob Baldock in 1961. Reynold C. Johnson purchased the property from the PUD in 1968 and it remained family owned and operated for 40 years.

In 2008, Ponderosa was nearly leveled when it was zoned for a 1,000-unit residential development project. Fortunately, the property was purchased by the Truckee Tahoe Airport under its open space program and “Pondi” was saved. Today, the Truckee Tahoe Airport leases the land to the Truckee Donner Recreation and Park District, which manages and operates the course.

Ponderosa is a 9-hole course that plays more than 3,000 yards. It is a blend of six par 4s, two par 3s and one par 5. Be prepared to use every club in your bag, since you will encounter long and short shots.

The first hole at Ponderosa is a fair, yet challenging, starting hole. It is a 389-yard par 4 with out of bounds right and left. A soft fade off the tee is best. With out of bounds on both sides, be sure to sacrifice distance for accuracy. A short iron or wedge will be used for the approach into this small green that is guarded by one bunker.

Hole No. 3 is the first par 3 on the course. It measures 145 yards from the blue tees. Hit an extra club off the tee since the green plays quite a bit uphill. During summer months, a ball hit short of the green can roll to the bottom off the hill so be sure to take enough club. Many locals play their ball long and use the hill behind the green to bring his or her ball back onto the putting surface for a birdie putt.

The most difficult hole at Ponderosa Golf Course is par 5 hole 9. It is the longest hole on the course. From the blue tees it is 507 yards. It is a slight dog leg to the right with out of bounds down the left side. The tee shot is a played through a narrow shoot of trees and the ideal drive is a fade. This green can be reached in two by some, but the large Ponderosa Pine in the middle of the fairway forces the player to shape his or her shot around the tree. The green is protected by two sand bunkers, left and right.

Every Thursdays is men’s club day. Each week, players of all levels play together under different formats. It costs $75 to join, which covers NCGA membership fees. Ladies are invited to come play on Thursdays with special rates and women-specific pairings in the afternoon.


For more information or for tee times, call (530) 587-3501 or visit ponderosegolfcoursetruckee.com.