Waking up on a middle May morning to frigid temperatures, breezy skies and a fresh coating of snow on the ground was almost enough of an excuse not to get out of bed and play golf. Looking at the scorecard online for Plumas Pines Golf Resort, the first thing that stood out to me was the yardage. The back tees play just 6,421 yards. That doesn’t sound bad at all. Then I saw the slope rating of 137. The slope rating is a reference used to gauge the difficulty of play of a golf course.
Par 72 | 18 holes
Yards | 6,421
Slope | 137
Rating | 71.3
In 2009, Dean Knuth, the inventor of the slope system, estimated the slope rating of Augusta National golf course to be 137. For a short course like Plumas Pines to have such a high rating of difficulty, there must be something unique going on out there. So, I threw the rain jacket and a couple extra layers in the truck with the golf bag and headed north.
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Set just outside Plumas-Eureka State Park in Blairsden, the Plumas Pines Golf Course follows the Middle Fork of the Feather River through a lush alpine meadow beneath the snow-covered mountains and finishes in the rolling foothills bordering Plumas National Forest. The course first opened for play in 1980 and was designed by Homer Flint. What it lacks in length, it makes up for with the rows and rows of mature pine trees lining its narrow fairways, smallish greens of a quick and tricky nature, sharp blind corners and some form of water coming into play on almost every hole.
Views from the lodge and first tee box are spectacular and remain so throughout game play. Though the property is scattered with vacation homes and condos, the general feel of the place is quiet and removed; we saw several deer and other resident wildlife roaming the grounds. The highlight of the course for me was the greens. They’re narrow, and more often than not, a tough task to stick your approach shot on, but are some of the most meticulously maintained putting surfaces in the Reno Tahoe area — a genuine thrill to play on.
A signature hole in my eyes was the par 5, Hole 13. It’s 456 yards and reachable with two well-hit shots if you can find a healthy lane between the creek bed and the fairway bunkers. The view from the tee pad was my favorite of such on the course.
The driving range is perched beside the lodge, elevated high above the landing zone, providing for unique club-calibration opportunities. Longboards Bar & Grill inside the lodge features a top-notch restaurant atmosphere with award-winning dining and an elegant bar room sporting amazing views in all directions. | (530) 836-1420, plumaspinesgolf.com