Teeing off on Tahoe’s disc golf courses

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Warm up on the mellow first and second holes at Squaw before heading into advanced terrain. | Squaw Valley  ·

 

Summer in Tahoe can be a hectic time of year. Sometimes, I find myself craving a relaxing afternoon away from the beach crowds and the trails, yet the clear blue sky and fresh mountain air beckons me outside. These are the perfect afternoons for a round or two of disc golf.

The game of disc golf informally began with groups of friends tossing Frisbees at chosen targets such as fire hydrants, drinking fountains and garbage cans. “Steady” Ed Headrick, who patented the first modern Frisbee design, saw potential in the game and went to work on designing the first permanent course in Pasadena. It was a hit, and by 1975 Headrick founded the Professional Disc Golf Association. Today, there are more than 3,000 courses across the United States and disc golf continues to grow in popularity.

The game is played and scored similar to traditional golf with the holes being replaced with baskets and the balls with discs. Each time a person throws the disc, it’s counted as a stroke and each hole has a par. The beauty of disc golf is that the game can be as simple or as technical as the player desires. A variety of discs are available from drivers and mid-range to approach discs and putters.

Disc golf enthusiasts and professionals will carry a full bag with multiple discs from each style, and they can explain the small nuances and appropriate time to use each disc, however, the game also can be played with a single mid-range or driver. Ready to check out disc golf? North Lake Tahoe is home to five great courses.

 

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Teeing off on one of the more forested holes at Lake of the Sky. | Tahoe Mountain Sports

Shady course in Incline Village
The North Tahoe Lions Club Disc Golf Course in Incline Village offers 18, par-3 holes in a shady, forested section of town, which makes it a nice choice on a hot day. Parking is available at the Incline Village Recreation Center. The course begins on the west side of the entrance road.

After hole 2, prepare for a long walk around the tennis courts to reach hole 3. From there, the course meanders through the trees along a stream. Losing a disc in the stream calls for a one-stroke penalty. This course has relatively little elevation change and is less challenging than other courses in the area. Pets are welcome on leash.

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The Lake of the Sky Course in Tahoe Vista offers a mix of open fairways and technical forested holes. | Tahoe Mountain Sports

Technical holes in Tahoe Vista
Lake of the Sky Disc Golf is located in Tahoe Vista at the North Tahoe Regional Park. The course has a bit of elevation gain beginning with a short climb from the parking lot. The course features a mix of short, technical holes and long fairways that favor those with a good arm. Players will benefit from having several discs to play this course and an accurate distance driver. Keep a sharp eye on discs because it is easy to lose them in the thick Manzanita.

Truckee home to two courses
Truckee is home to two great courses. Eighteen holes are located throughout Truckee River Regional Park. The course is mostly forested, but with wide spacing between trees. Some holes take players along the Truckee River. The front nine holes are a bit difficult to navigate; I’ve been to known to play them out of order in the past.

The second course in Truckee is located on the Sierra College Campus. Tight trees require an accurate distance driver. Follow the orange flagging tape through rolling hills to complete the course. No smoking or pets are allowing on campus property. Keep in mind, the gate to the college entrance is only open during school hours.

Squaw Valley boasts challenging course
For a high elevation experience head to Squaw Valley’s High Camp. Players will need to purchase a ticket to access the aerial tram or make a day of it, save a few bucks and hike from the base. Holes 1, 2 and 18 are considered beginner holes, however, the rest of the course is fairly difficult with technical holes and challenging terrain. This is another course where players will appreciate having a few discs to choose from. The course winds down Shirley Canyon and back up to High Camp.

Ready to up the ante with your disc golf game?
Tahoe Mountain Sports hosts the Sierra Tahoe Disc Golf Tournament Series throughout the summer. Two events remain this season, the first is Truckee Twister, which is a Professional Disc Golf Association B-tier sanctioned tournament on Aug. 30 and 31 at the Sierra College campus in Truckee. The Pro/AM Sierra Tahoe Series Finals take place at Lake of the Sky Disc Golf Course in Tahoe Vista on Oct. 11 and 12. As well, the Nevada State Championships will be held on Sept. 20 and 21 in Zephyr Cove.

For more information on the tournament, visit tahoemountainsports.com or Sierra Tahoe Series on Facebook.

 

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Sinking the putt at Lake of the Sky Course. | Tahoe Mountain Sports