A short jaunt up on Northwoods Avenue in Tahoe Donner is Coyote Moon Golf Course, a gorgeous mountainous golf course that also acts as a haven for local wildlife, pine trees and lost golf balls. This is a challenging yet entertaining 250-acre course that features undulating terrain, tiered tee boxes, perfectly manicured fairways and fast wide greens. A coyote runs across the fairway on Hole 4 and remains throughout the duration of my round; this is a course that lives up to its name. I also encountered a young buck, robins, chipmunks, chickadees and plenty of ground squirrels that were unfazed by my presence.
Par 72 | 18 holes
Yardage | 5,022 to 7,111
Slope | 125 to 140
Rating | 69.3 to 73.6
The ladies’ tees help shorten the yardage on many of the holes, but while I did well hitting the ball to the greens, I found myself caught up in a few of the big, sneaky bunkers surrounding a few of the pins, especially the one on Hole 1 — in turn driving up my handicap.
The fairway is slanted to the right on Hole 4 and the pin looks like it’s up on a pedestal, so getting pop rather than distance is key when approaching the green. Hole 6 has a nice dogleg left to get to the green, so one has to aim toward the middle of the fairway in one or two shots in order to be set up to make that 90-degree turn.
Continue following the cart path in a forward direction and you will make it to Hole 7, although it helps to grab a course overview booklet in the pro shop before you go out to keep from getting turned around.
The back nine is noticeably more difficult from the front but the holes get more interesting. It felt like I was sinking into a more remote forest, quiet except for raging creek fed by mountain peak snowmelt. The backside of Hole 12 looks like Hidden Beach on the East Shore of Lake Tahoe with sand protecting the giant boulders like a big uneven granite wall that could either help or hinder one’s game.
Hole 13 is probably the most talked about hole at Coyote Moon with tiered tee boxes and incredible views. It also has thick shrubbery, boulders and a quickly flowing creek blocking the pin, so be prepared to lose a ball or two. Driving down the cart path to get to the gold tees is its own experience; there were speed bumps and I thought that if Coyote Moon had opened any earlier this season that I would have needed four-wheel drive just to get to the gold tees. How appropriate is it to make the hardest hole the superstitious No. 13? I lost my pink Nitro but picked up a yellow Callaway to replace it and ended up at the well-utilized drop area on the backside of the green.
All in all, it’s a beautiful course that will delight even the most seasoned golfer. | (530) 587-0886, coyotemoongolf.com