Northstar Golf Course

Second shot on the 9th hole.

Northstar California Golf Course is part of a large development with housing, skiing and a village with food and shops. Luckily, a great deal of effort has also been spent on the golf course. It opened in 1974 and was designed by well-known, West Coast architect Robert Muir Graves. He had an unusual piece of land to work with and as a result created two different nines: the Meadow Nine and the Mountain Nine. Each has its own obvious flavor, but don’t think of one being better than the other — only different. The size of the greens is similar and the bunkering is similar, but as the Mountain Nine winds through the trees and up and down the mountain it plays much narrower. Actually, the Meadow Nine is far from wide open because long rough will gobble up any wayward shot.

18 holes | Par 72
Yardage | 4,490-6,820
Slope | 122-140
Rating | 64.8-73.0

It’s a good idea to pay close attention to the scorecard/pro-tips card; many of the holes require a precise tee shot and the layout of the hole may not be obvious from the tee. It is not long, stretching 6,820 yards from the black tees and a playable 6,322 yards from the blues. Typically, you will have mostly short-iron, second shots on the par 4s and middle-iron, tee shots on the par 3s.

Every hole at Northstar has its own character, but to me the most exciting hole is the short par 4 11th hole.

Every hole at Northstar has its own character, but to me the most exciting hole is the short par 4 11th hole, measuring 340 yards from the black tees and 330 yards from the blue tees. It is a slight dogleg left with two tiers: a fairway that narrows quickly at around 175 yards, then a downhill second shot of 140 yards over a deep ravine to a smallish elevated green. An accurate tee shot of around 200 yards is a must to make the second shot easier, but even with a short iron it is still a scary undertaking.

Designing a good resort course can be a difficult task because it must be interesting enough for an outside golfer to come and visit. On the other hand, it can’t be too hard for a resort guest who may be a new player or one who tees it up twice per year.

Five sets of tees are provided to allow a player of any level the chance to have a good round. Northstar’s land has given it a unique situation and it is certainly worth your while to come out and try this enjoyable layout.

For more information or to book a tee time, call (530) 562-3290 or visit

John Dee

John Dee grew up in Elm Grove, Wis., playing many sports with a strength in baseball. A desire to beat his best buddy in high school led him to take up golf. “The next time I played with my buddy, I beat him and that was the end of my baseball career,” John recalls. In the mid-80s he moved into golf as a profession, received his PGA membership and began to teach golf.
“My wife and I (and our cats) moved to Lake Tahoe in 2005 to further our careers and eventually found other paths to follow. She started her own business and I spent seven years in Parks and Recreation, but returned to golf in 2015 as Assistant Golf Professional at the Resort at Squaw Creek. Some things about the business has changed a lot, but the game is still hard and people still want to have a good time.”