Room with a view: Awe-inspiring golf shots in the Reno-Tahoe area

TRUCKEE, Calif. -- Mountain golf is a special kind of golf. Not only do the shots fly one or two clubs farther, but the elevation changes from tee to green can often be quite dramatic.

Such is the case when you golf the High Sierras, from Reno, Nev., to Lake Tahoe up to the Truckee area. The area is littered with dramatic holes, and some of them present some pretty interesting risk-reward opportunities.

And because the ball flies farther, and it doesn't seem to curve as much in the thin air, it seems more logical to take risks. After all, where you might have needed a 3 wood, a hybrid or long iron might do the trick.

Here are four examples of what kind of thrill rides you're in for when you play golf in the Reno-Tahoe area:

Coyote Moon Golf Club, No. 13

Have you ever dreamed of hitting a 227-yard 8 iron? Not only is it possible, but on the 227-yard 13th at Coyote Moon Golf Course near Truckee, it's the right club for many players.

In fact, that is what's so tricky about this hole. There is a 200-foot drop from the elevated tee. Short is no good, because in front of the green is a creek and a bunker. Long isn't much better, and if you're too long, you might not be able to find your ball.

This is where experience playing the course comes in handy. Picking the right club for first-timers is difficult at best. It's literally a six- or seven-club difference from the same shot at sea level without the dramatic drop.

Old Greenwood Golf Club, No. 11

Drivable par 4s help keep golf courses interesting, and the short, par-4 11th at the Jack Nicklaus-designed Old Greenwood Golf Club certainly falls into that category.

Long hitters will tempted to pull driver on 345-yard dogleg right, but they most likely will have to take it across the water that fronts the green. Make it to the green or just in front, and you've got an eagle putt and probably an easy birdie.

Fail, and you could be looking at double bogey or worse. Or you could simply take it down the left side and let your wedge game work for you -- decisions, decisions.

LakeRidge Golf Course, No. 15

The signature hole at the Robert Trent Jones-designed LakeRidge Golf Course in Reno may also be one of the most difficult on the course.

At 239 yards, the par-3 15th plays much shorter than its indicated yardage because it's some 170 feet below the teeing ground. Even then, though, you're looking at pulling at least a 5- or 6-iron that will stay in the air for long time.

The green is fairly large, but it's surrounded by water. Come up short, and you're most likely wet. Mis-hit it, and you're wet. Pick the wrong club, and you're probably wet. You get the idea.

Edgewood-Tahoe, No. 18

There are a lot of dramatic holes at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course, site of the American Century Celebrity Championship each summer.

One that sometimes gets overshadowed and shouldn't is the beautiful, par-5 18th finishing hole. At just less than 560 from the blue tees, the hole is reachable in two with a good drive, but the green is, oh, so treacherous.

There's a pond left of this narrow green and not much bailout area between the green and Lake Tahoe on the right. Plus, there are pin positions where even if you hit in two, three- and four-putts loom, so it might be better to lay up, just to find the right part of the green.

Heck, what are we talking about? Nobody comes to Lake Tahoe to lay up, right?

Mike Bailey is a former Golf Advisor senior staff writer based in Houston. Focusing primarily on golf in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean and Latin America with an occasional trip to Europe and beyond, he contributes course reviews, travel stories and features as well as the occasional equipment review. An award-winning writer and past president of Texas Golf Writers Association, he has more than 25 years in the golf industry. He has also been on staff at PGA Magazine, The Golfweek Group and AvidGolfer Magazine. Follow Mike on Twitter at @MikeBaileyGA and Instagram at @MikeStefanBailey.

Related Links

Visit Reno and its surrounding area, and you'll find the golf courses of the High Sierras as diverse and interesting as the region's weather. Little destinations within destinations spring out at Lake Tahoe, Truckee, Plumas County and in the Carson Valley. And the topography makes the golf courses spectacular in nature, if entirely unexpected.
3 Min Read
Located on Lake Tahoe's vibrant South Shore, Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course makes for the Tahoe area's most memorable play as the only course that literally plays along the shores of Lake Tahoe. The golf course has played host to a number of prestigious events such as the U.S. Senior Open, but these days is a regular host of the American Century Celebrity Golf Championship.
13 Images
More from the author
4 Min Read
September 14, 2023
Here's a look at the history of golf handicaps, how they are calculated, and where you can get one.
5 Min Read
April 6, 2023
Mike Bailey is no stranger to Hilton Head Island-Bluffton and ranks his favorite courses to play.
6 Min Read
May 28, 2019
PORT ARANSAS, Texas — Golf is being redefined at Palmilla Beach Resort and Golf Community on the Texas coast.
9 Min Read
May 24, 2019
University programs, both large and small, continue to invest in their golf facilities
5 Min Read
May 21, 2019
New owner Escalante Golf has made considerable investment since 2017.
8 Min Read
May 20, 2019
Not all Texas country clubs have had the steadfast history of Fort Worth's Colonial. But while some of these sites have been lost, others are now public and affordable.
8 Min Read
November 12, 2023
The rise of artists launching their own companies has changed the way golfers use wall art that impresses their co-workers on Zoom.
3 Min Read
November 30, 2023
We share travel tidbits from Asia, London, Greater Zion and more in our latest column.
4 Min Read
November 15, 2023
The streaming giant picked golf as the medium for its foray into live sports. How did it go?
3 Min Read
November 30, 2023
For six days in early spring, The Old Course at St. Andrews will open its "reverse" routing, offering a completely different experience at one of the world's great golf courses.
Now Reading
Room with a view: Awe-inspiring golf shots in the Reno-Tahoe area