Lucky 7’s – If you are here for GOLF!

Thinking DICE right!  There was plenty of that going on.  But when almost 200 golf tourism professionals from all parts of the world descended on “The Biggest Little City in the World” there were just as many putts being rolled as dice!

For the International Association of Golf Tour Operators (IAGTO) to have chosen the Reno Tahoe area for its 12th North American Golf Tourism Convention is a coo.  Reno Tahoe, just hosted the PGA TOUR’S Barracuda Championship, recently crowning Chez Reavie as champion at Old Greenwood.  One of 2 courses at Tahoe Mountain Club, jewels in the area.  That just puts an exclamation point on the destination!

There is no shortage of things to do when you get to Reno!  24 /7 Casino action is certainly a major draw.  But when you setting includes the largest alpine lake, Lake Tahoe, with a background setting of the Sierra Nevada Mountains you have an outdoor paradise at your fingertips.  Both in summer and winter.  There is plenty of precipitation, most of that being in the winter, perfect for skiers.
Over 300 days of sunshine make Reno / Tahoe a perfect golf destination.  For the summer outdoor adventurist, where do we start?  Explore the desert, set sail on Lake Tahoe or for me, fly fishing the Truckee River.  Not so adventurous.  It is a foodie’s paradise, restaurants, shopping and art can be found around every corner downtown.   The Truckee River makes its way through downtown Reno, bringing a bit of nature to the city’s urban side. Take a stroll through the Riverwalk District to find coffee shops, picnic-perfect parks and plenty of photo ops…….and sunsets galore.  Visit Reno Tahoe

Red Hawk

With over 50 golf courses to choose from in the Reno Tahoe area you have plenty of options.  Here are a few that we played and can highly recommend.

First up for us  was the Red Hawk Golf And Resort a Troon property that was home to 2 courses, the Hills Course and the Lakes Course.   The Lakes Course was a treat, a Robert Trent Jones II design that stretches back to 7,100 yards with 5 sets of tees to satisfy all abilities.  The course is pretty much laid out in front of you.   Bunkers there are a plenty, over 100 and many small lakes and ponds.   Signature hole #17 from the black tees is a 241-yard par 3 completely over water named “Hawk’s Challenge.”

Toiyabe 8th Green

Just minutes from downtown Reno is one of the most spectacular views in golf! (lead photo)  The 15th  hole at  Lake Ridge Golf Course is perched high atop Lake Stanley offering up a spectacular panoramic view of Reno and the surrounding mountains.  Your goal on this 200-yard (white tees) par 3 is to land your ball on the island green.  It plays to about 170 yards, concentrating is the biggest challenge!
This Robert Trent Jones Sr. design is a treat to play, semi-private, a favorite for golfers visiting and consistently voted “Best of Reno.”

 Toiyabe Golf Club is a very photogenic semi-private golf club carved out of the Toiyabe National Forest, nestled in the foothills of the the Sierra Nevada Mountains in the Washoe Valley. The club’s signature 18-hole Robert Muir Graves-designed course, is a natural blend of links-style and Alpine golf that stretches out to 7,100 yards.  Well manicured fairways and greens with rock walls to enhanced the visuals around the many ponds.  Par 3, 8th hole. 158 yards, almost a birdie, my favorite here!

Both Lakeridge and Toiyabe Courses are part of  Duncan Golf Management   Dedicated to providing the best golf experience in Northern Nevada, Duncan has 5 courses under its umbrella and works with many of the Casino properties in Reno to facilitate Stay & Play Golf Packages in the Reno area.

Old Greenwood 18th

On the California side and roughly an hour from Reno, the Tahoe Mountain Club has a couple of must play courses.  I was lucky enough to play both.

Old Greenwood: is a 7,518-yard, Jack Nicklaus Signature Design, nestled into a backdrop of the Sierra Nevada mountains on 600 acres of pine forest and meadowland at nearly 6,000 feet above sea level.  Accolades galore follow this course year after year.  In typical Nicklaus style the layout offers spacious tree lined fairways with plenty of well-placed deep bunkers protecting large greens.  A number of water holes help to shape the famous Nicklaus doglegs and add to the wow factor.  Note: you need to pay particular attention to the slants of the greens here.

The Golf Club at Gray’s Crossing minutes away from Old Greenwood, is a Peter Jacobson design with elevation changes offering up panoramic views of Mount Rose and the Sierra’s.  Fewer water holes on this course, fairways carved out of the tall pines with many more native wetlands and wildflowers to navigate on route to large inviting greens.  A very scenic course that has earned certification as an Audubon International Gold Signature Sanctuary.

Grays Crossing 13th

 Where to STAY!  A casino of course.  Where else can you have so much fun and be well taken care of with food options galore.

You can smell the roasted garlic as you enter the Italian inspired Peppermill Resort Hotel boasting 1,621 luxurious guest rooms including the 600-room all-suite Tuscany Tower.  I stayed in the Tuscany Tower and I can tell you that I did not want to leave.  Amenities galore, indoor pools, outdoor pools, a 33,000 sq. ft. Spa and Salon Toscana and fitness center.  For the most part, other than the golf my goal was to make it to as many of the 9 award winning restaurants……. following the garlic of course.

Silver Legacy Resort Casino in the heart of the downtown area, a Caesars property, one of 3 the make up Reno’s The Row Hotels & Casinos  Shows and entertainment are considered to be some of the best in Reno.  Restaurants for the meat eaters in the crowd include Ruth’s Chris, I couldn’t resist.  Another favorite spot in the complex was Brew Brothers.  Name says it all but try the pizza, it’s awesome!  If you have not had enough golf in your day you can swing away all night long with someone to bring you cocktails at the TopGolf Swing Suite.

Atlantis Casino Resort Spa  In the heart of Reno, Nevada, the AAA Four Resort Spa is known for luxurious accommodations, dynamic casino action, TripAdvisor’s Top-Ranked restaurants, including my personal favorite Sky Terrace which I combined two of my favorites oysters and sushi into a seafood lovers delight.   The Atlantis is also Reno’s only Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star Spa.

Golf and eating aside, while in Reno you should set a day aside to step back in time.  Take the winding road up to the former mining town of Virginia City

Remember the Bonanza television show? Rumor has it, this is the place that the legendary Ben, Hoss, Adam and Lil’ Joe rode in to for supplies or a night out on the town.  Today you can visit the many saloons, go on a mine tour, visit the Mark Twain Museum or catch a Wild West Show.  I am going to bet that you won’t leave the Bucket of Blood Saloon without a tee shirt or hat!

Note: in the next issue we will get into more detail on courses on the Tahoe side of Reno / Tahoe.  In the meantime, for more information on golf or general information: Visit Reno Tahoe