Incline Village Championship Golf Course

Hole 7 tee. | John Dee

Incline Village Championship Course is where I have played the most amount of golf since moving to Nevada in 2005. Designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr., it opened in 1964 and went through a facelift in 2004-05.

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It plays its way through tall pines and provides some beautiful lake views. Fairways are ample, but it is not hard to find a fairway sand trap and you will seldom have a flat lie. It looks like it shouldn’t be that difficult, but you would be wrong. Not that trouble lurks everywhere, but you may find yourself riding the bogey train and have a hard time getting off.

Par 72 | 18 holes
Yards | 4,324 to 7,106
Slope | 120 to 144
Rating | 68.7 to 73.6

The greens are where the test really begins. They are not overly undulating, but the whole green complex is subtlety fitted into the terrain. The general rule that the putts break away from the mountains and/or break toward the lake may not apply. You could encounter putts that you will swear broke uphill, even after looking at the putt from both sides.

The toughest hole can be found on the back nine Hole 12, a par 4 of 255 to 423 yards. From the tee you have homes and out of bounds to the left and trees to the right. The wide fairway slides downhill past the dogleg and moves to the right. A large sand trap occupies the inside corner of the dogleg and must be avoided. A stream runs across the fairway some 50 yards short of the green but should not come into play.

Generally, a round window in the back of a house straight down the fairway is a good target off the tee. A hybrid or 5 wood is a good club choice so as not to go through the fairway. Your second shot will usually be a mid-iron from a downhill lie. But, depending on the wind and the tees played, a faded 3 wood could carry the sand trap, cut dogleg and give you a short iron from a level lie. The green is long, narrow and highly sloped. Staying below the hole is a must.

I would admit that I have had both good and bad rounds at the Championship Course. Solid ball-striking is a must and putting from the right location on the green helps immeasurably. Keeping it below the hole will help a first-time visitor. Since the greens are tricky to read, making putts and getting it up and down can become quite a chore. Your short game will be tested, but don’t be surprised if at the end of the round your score may be a bit above average. | yourtahoeplace.com