Tahoe City Golf Course

Hole 8 tee. | John Dee

I mentioned in my recent column column on Lake Tahoe Golf Course (available at TheTahoeWeekly.com) about how many golf courses there are in the Tahoe Basin compared to the population. There might be one that you drive by every day. That was the case with Tahoe City Golf Course. I began working in Olympic Valley in 2015, meaning that I drove past the course twice a day but never stopped in to tee it up.

Check off BUCKET LIST #32 on our Ultimate Tahoe Summer Bucket List

The course was established in 1917 and was designed by May “Queenie” Dunn Hupfel as a six-hole layout with sand greens. In 1926, it was expanded to nine holes and its current length, but over time development around the course required a few holes be changed. Owners have come and gone but the course has continued with a rich history of supplying a place to play for the local population and tourists.

Read Mark McLaughlin’s two-part series on Queenie Mae.

The course is tucked behind a row of businesses along North Lake Boulevard; you could miss it if you are not paying attention. The greens vary from large to small and appear mostly flat — they are not. Lots of subtle breaks will foil a short putt for par or birdie. I strongly suggest rolling a few putts on the practice green before you go out. The fairways are ample, but some groups of trees have been strategically placed to catch or block a wayward tee shot.

Par 33 | 9 holes
Yardage | 2,403 to 2,570
Slope | 114 to 118
Rating | 65.5 to 67.8

I always enjoy the nine-hole courses since they don’t need to have a par 35 or 36. Here we have a par 5, four par 4s and four par 3s. None of them are short or an afterthought. The most fun hole is Hole 5, a par 4 of 294 to 316 yards. It is a fairly sharp dogleg right with the corner protected by tall trees. The second shot is downhill to the green with a large sand-trap short. A tee shot of 225 yards with a little fade will set you up with an easy second shot. Depending on the wind, going for it from the tee may be tempting. I would rather doubt that many have been successful.

Tahoe City Golf Course has entertained golfers from the newbie to big-money celebrities. Don’t dismiss nine-hole courses as not real golf or not worth the time. To help with this, Tahoe City set up the scorecard for 18 holes with the first nine 9 played from the white tees and the second nine from the blue tees. I had never seen that before, but what an incredible idea. The course is simply a fun place to play and that is why it has stayed so busy for a century. | tcpud.org/golf

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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.”