Next up on your list of courses to play this summer is Old Brockway. This nine-hole wonderland in the heart of North Lake Tahoe is a step back in time amidst a lush piece of forest you may otherwise have not known existed. It’s a family-owned and operated facility that continues to best the test of time and one as rich in history as is its dedication to offering up a good old-fashioned round of golf.
9 holes | Par 36
Yardage | 2,012 to 3281
Slope | 113 to 131
Ratings | 66.9 to 70.6
Harry Comstock, of Virginia City’s silver conglomerate Comstock Lode, built the course in 1924 on pastureland as an addition to the Old Brockway Hotel. He commissioned the famed architect John Duncan Dunn to carry out the design work. Dunn was a golf teacher, club builder, golf reporter and course designer hailing from one of England’s most prestigious golf families. He made his way to the states around the turn of the century and put his stamp on highly decorated courses in Vermont and Maine, before heading west and shaping links in Southern California and eventually Lake Tahoe. His sister, Isabella May “Queenie” Dunn, is responsible for the design of Tahoe City Golf Course, completed just a few years before.
Brockway brilliantly melds all the crucial principles of gameplay into a cocktail of aesthetics, nostalgia, temptation and surprise; one not so much unlike those sipped on by legends such as Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra decades ago as they wandered these woods. The kick-back, let-loose atmosphere is still thick in the air, though humbly balanced with the on-your-toes elements characteristic of a challenging playing field.
The first two holes are fairly straightforward par 4s that may attempt to lull you — don’t take the bait. Hole 3 is one of my favorite par 3s in Tahoe and one sure to set the tone for the rest of your round. Tee off a 199-yard bomb from the back tees high into the sky above the pine trees and watch it drop drastically downhill and, hopefully, stick onto the plateaued putting surface below.
Old Brockway is nine holes in all, goldilocks in length and ranked by Golf Today as one of the Top 10 nine-hole golf courses in America — for good reason. You can play it twice or more and be up against distinctively different nines every loop. It’s easily walkable, pleasantly rideable with multileveled smallish greens that are deceivingly quick even when wet and false fronts, false backs, false sides even, well adorned with deep, steep-faced traps, so, keep your guard up at all times. Creeks and streams cut through the narrow fairways at clever distances. Course knowledge is extremely helpful, especially around the greens. If it’s your first time out here, keep your approach below the holes whenever possible.
After your round, stop in for food and drinks at Spindleshanks. | (530) 546-9909 or oldbrockway.com