Old Greenwood: A Jack Nicklaus beauty in the mountains surrounding Lake Tahoe

TRUCKEE, Calif. - It seems like every golfer who plays Old Greenwood comes away raving about it.

Golf Advisor's Mike Bailey rates Old Greenwood among his favorite five courses in Reno-Lake Tahoe. The Golf Channel's Matt Ginella ranks it among his three favorite Jack Nicklaus designs in America open to the public. The very first review of the course on Golf Advisor featured this headline: "If I could give 6 stars, I would."

Old Greenwood, the semiprivate club that feels more like a premium private-club experience, delivers the scenery, conditioning and layout worthy of a top-100-caliber course. Its holes roll seamlessly through a mountainous, alpine setting west of Lake Tahoe. It can play brawny from the 7,518-yard "four tree" tips or more user friendly from the "two tree" tees at 6,457 yards where my foursome played.

Even the longest hitters have trouble taking advantage of its strong collection of par 5s. The first three you play - the 621-yard second, the 578-yard sixth and the 600-yard 10th - are the three most difficult holes on the course. The short 270-yard 11th hole ("two tree" tees) with a pond up the right side is as easy as it gets at Old Greenwood.

If things fall apart, the Golf Academy at Old Greenwood is one of the best practice facilities in northern California, public or private. The range is so long that several world long drive championships use it to train. The 15-acre complex is anchored by a 1,500-square-foot learning center home to an indoor/outdoor hitting bay, flat-screen TVs, lockers and more. Its outdoor classroom consists of two large all-grass tees and a five-acre short game area with several greens for putting, chipping and bunker shots.

Staff rating of Old Greenwood: Review by Jason Scott Deegan

Jason Scott Deegan has reviewed and photographed more than 1,000 courses and written about golf destinations in 20 countries for some of the industry's biggest publications. His work has been honored by the Golf Writer's Association of America and the Michigan Press Association. Follow him on Instagram at @jasondeegangolfpass and Twitter at @WorldGolfer.

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Old Greenwood: A Jack Nicklaus beauty in the mountains surrounding Lake Tahoe