It is amazing that there are so many good tests of golf around Lake Tahoe. Granted, this is a vacation spot, but the overall population is not that high. You may need to drive a bit to find a new challenge, but it is usually worth it.
Par 71 | 18 holes
Yardage | 3,702 to 6,741
Slope | 115 to 129
Rating | 66.4 to 71.3
Lake Tahoe Golf Course is worth it. I had the chance to play it for the first time two years ago and really enjoyed my round. I was curious how the second time around was going to go. Did I miss anything? Would I still feel the same?
The course opened in the early 1960s and is in Lake Valley State Recreation Area. The terrain is mostly flat, but you still get some great unobstructed mountain vistas. The Truckee River meanders its way throughout the course, but really should not come into play. Greens and fairways are well trapped, which is rare for a public course due to higher maintenance costs. Greens are smaller than I remembered but I did recall that putts don’t break much. Fairways are wide, but if you get a little too wild, you will find some nasty rough. The overall yardage is not long, but you can’t scrape it around and have a good score.
A yardage book is available for $2 and I highly recommend you purchase one. It may not be crystal clear from the tee where to go and you may get an unpleasant surprise or two. I was very lucky to get paired up with a local both times that I played there who advised me where trouble lurked.
I still think that the strongest hole on Lake Tahoe Golf Course is Hole 9, a par 5 of 444 to 559 yards and scary from the tee. There is a large lake you hit over and runs along the right side of the fairway. A creek runs across the fairway at around 250 yards; so depending on conditions, it may be in play if you are not careful. On the second shot you must avoid more water to the right and a deep sand trap fiendishly placed well short of the green in the spot where your layup shot should land. There is enough room left, so don’t get greedy. Par is a good score here.
Heavy February snowfall has played havoc with course conditions throughout the Tahoe Basin. Personally, I always value a good layout far above conditions. You can play around conditions, but a mediocre layout in great shape is still mediocre.
Lake Tahoe Golf Course is a solid layout that can test the good player and still be fun for the novice. This is one of the reasons that the locals have loved it for decades.