Whitehawk Ranch Golf Club

I reviewed Whitehawk Ranch Golf Club two years ago and was duly impressed, as is just about anybody who plays there. It had a strong wow factor, so I was curious about how I would feel after a revisit and see if I could find any more reasons why it is so popular.

18 holes | par 71
Yardage | 4799 to 6955
Slope | 107 to 141
Rating | 63.0 to 72.3

A little over an hour’s drive from the North Shore brings you to Whitehawk Ranch. The clubhouse overlooks an amazing practice range, which is one the best that I have ever seen at a public course. There are four sets of tees, called hawks, to choose from, but you can mix and match with combo tees as desired. The fairways are wide and even though the course is mostly cut through trees, they usually don’t become a hazard.

The greens and fairways are well trapped but numerous mounds provide additional hazards. Greens are large, multi-leveled, smooth and true. No really big breakers, though. I like the idea of the chipping areas around the greens to aid those who miss the mark with their approach shots.

The signature hole is the unique and drivable par four, Hole 9 that measures from 238 to 310 yards. A stream running along the left side crosses the fairway at a diagonal from left to right at a little more than the halfway point to the green and then curls along the right side of the fairway and then up to side of the green. A tee shot of only 200 yards from the three hawk tees will clear the stream, but it must be accurate.

A smarter play may be a 6- or 7-iron layup, which will leave you only a wedge for a second shot. But, if you feel confident in your driver, there is some room around the green if you really want to have a go at it.

Whitehawk Ranch is popular because it was designed with the average golfer in mind. You are not going to feel physically and mentally exhausted at the end of your round. The ball pocket on your golf bag will not be empty.

The course is not easy — I have no doubt that it could be made difficult without too much trouble — but it rewards you for good shots and doesn’t kill you for bad ones. Golfers will find 18 different holes that are tied together perfectly in the end.

It may be a minor road trip to get there, but it is certainly worth the drive. | golfwhitehawk.com

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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.”