18 holes | par 72
Yardage 4997 to 7002
Slope 124 to 138
Ratings 68.9 to 72.9
Tahoe Donner Golf Course fits the stereotypical image one might have when hearing the term “mountain golf course.” It works its way through tall pine-lined fairways and finishes on large rolling greens. It is not a new course, having opened in 1976.
Five sets of tees greet the player; it can play from the black tees at 7,002 yards and from the red tees at 4,997 yards. Combination tees are available on the scorecard. It would also be a good idea for a first-time player to purchase a yardage book in the pro shop since some shots are blind, and preplanning from the tee will help your score tremendously.
The impression on the first tee of “I better hit it straight” carries throughout all 18 holes. Fairways are narrow, but the rough is not deep. Tall pines are everywhere, but there is room under and between the trees, so a wayward shot will probably be found, and you may also have a shot. Sand comes into play on the fairways and around the greens. The course is hilly, and the only flat lie you will have will be on the tee ground.
Each hole at Tahoe Donner has a somewhat different look from the other. The most striking to me was the Par 4 No. 6 playing at 340 yards from the white tees. The tee shot is blind and slightly uphill to a tree-lined fairway with a lone pine in the right center of the fairway. Past the tree, the hole moves downhill to the green. A driver is not necessary, so a tee shot of 200 to 220 yards will give you a flat kind of lie for your short iron, second shot.
The 18th hole is a picturesque 400-yard Par 4 from the white tees. It moves steeply downhill with a stream running diagonally left to right across the fairway. Similar to No. 6, a driver is not necessary, but here you must lie up short of the water. Your tee shot may go a little right, but you may have tree trouble on your second shot. Since the hole is very downhill, it does not play 400 yards, so a tee shot of 210 to 230 yards will be perfect, even if you go a little left. From there a short iron will get you onto the green.
I had not heard much about Tahoe Donner before I visited it, which is a shame. It requires solid and straight tee shots and accurate iron shots. This course is a fine test and I imagine with the rough grown up and the greens at their normal speed, it could be quite a handful. Choose your tees wisely to ensure a fun day.
Story & photos by John Dee
To book a tee time or for more information, visit tahoedonner.com or call (530) 587-9443.