The Links at Squaw Creek

The 1st tee.

Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows has hundreds of thousands of visitors during the wintertime to partake in some of the best skiing in the world and enjoy breathtaking views of the mountains and Lake Tahoe. Unbeknownst to many, under the snow of the meadow in Olympic Valley, lies a golf course. In 1990, Robert Trent Jones Jr. was commissioned to build a course for The Resort at Squaw Creek with specific directions to keep it as environmentally sound and natural as possible. The course does not use any pesticides or herbicides and has been recognized by Audubon International with the certified sanctuary designation.

Par 71 | 18 Holes
Yardage| 5,097 to 6,931
Slope| 125 to 140
Rating: 68.0 to 72.8

The Links at Squaw Creek is not long, with the white tees measuring 6,010 yards and the blue tees 6,453 yards. The slope rating tells the story at 128 and 136, respectively, and I always felt that a high slope and short yardage meant a tough course.

The outward nine winds its way through the trees for the first four holes; then the course takes on a links flavor for the rest of the 18. The greens are large and mostly two-tiered per typical Trent Jones style. Sand traps in the fairway and around the greens are all very much in play. The real hazard is the rough. The fairways are ample but stray off line and you will be in marshland or water.

It is recommended that a first-time visitor play the white tees regardless of skill level and plan on tee shots of 225 yards to keep the ball in play. Only a medium or short iron will be needed to get to the green. If you play smart it is possible to use your driver only twice during your round on holes 4 and 13.

There are many fine holes at The Links at Squaw Creek, with the most picturesque hole 6, a par 3 of 124 to 210 yards. Tees are slightly elevated and your tee shot is all carry over a pond to a large green running at an angle to the golfer. A sand trap lives between the pond and the green short to catch misstruck shots from a golfer trying to get too cute to a front pin.

The Links at Squaw Creek is a tough but fair golf course. It requires you to play smart and conservative off of the tee and pick your target carefully. You do not need to be a long hitter but you do have to hit it straight. A majority of the season passholders have found that if you play here regularly, then most any other course you play will seem easy — and the views, with the backdrop of Olympic Valley, aren’t too bad. | (800) 403-4434,

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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. 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.”