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Edgewood Tahoe: A below-average performance on an above-average course

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All photos by Matt Kartozian (Durka Durka Photo). 

Just when you think you are getting good at golf, you will find yourself in what amounts to a racecar crashing at 110 mph, flipping end over end while on fire.

I had spent some time trying to improve my game earlier this summer and I was getting results. In March, my handicap was a 20 and by July I had gotten down below a 15. My worst score since mid March had been a 100, with most in the low 90s and a sprinkling of mid to high 80s. All of that came to an abrupt halt on July 25.

If you are going to crash and burn, do it somewhere spectacular. I could not have picked a better course for my demise than Edgewood Tahoe, located in Nevada close to the California state line. Edgewood has a rich history and some very unique features. The course was built on what was a stop on the Pony Express and Wells Fargo stage coach lines in the 1890s. Edgewood is also the only golf course in the Lake Tahoe area with holes on the water. The 16th green sits next to the beach and the 17th and 18th play right along the beach on your way back to the clubhouse.

A group putts out on the 18th green next to Lake Tahoe.

A group putts out on the 18th green next to Lake Tahoe.

To me, one of the most unique things about Edgewood is the parking lot. How can something as boring as a parking lot be cool you ask? It’s all about location. Situated right on the beach, it has to be one of the most expensive parking lots per square foot in the world. The parking lot will soon go the way of the saber-toothed cat, however, as Edgewood is in the midst of a massive renovation and rebuild of their property. The parking lot will be replaced with an event lawn, and a new 154-room luxury hotel will open in the Summer of 2017 just steps away from the clubhouse.

Edgewood Tahoe's parking lot is literally on the beach.

Edgewood Tahoe’s parking lot is literally on the beach.

Edgewood opened in 1968 and was designed by George Fazio. There are four sets of tees that range from 5,310 yards with a 69.6/127 rating and slope to 7,552 yards and 75.1/142 from the tips. The last 25 years, Edgewood has hosted the American Century Championship, a celebrity tournament featuring stars like Justin Timberlake, Steph Curry, Charles Barkley, Jim Harbaugh, Jerry Rice and Alfonso Ribeiro to name a few.

I was set to play the course the day after the tournament wrapped up. Former MLB pitcher Mark Mulder won the tournament for the second year in row. Most of the signage and grandstands were still up when I played the next day, and the remains of the tournament gave the course a different atmosphere. With a little imagination I could picture the stands full, and that I was in the tournament — hopefully with Charles Barkley so I’d look like a decent golfer.

I played with Nicholas Vandermade from Edgewood’s marketing department. We elected to play the blue/white combo tees which were 6,610 yards with a 71.2/137 rating and slope. My coach had recently worked with me on a small swing change to help eliminate my balls acting like a boomerang off the tee. I had played a few rounds since the change, but I was not 100 percent dialed in yet. This was abundantly obvious on the first tee as my ball shot left and into a pond (I finished the hole with a snowman). This was not an inspiring turn of events to start my round. I repeated my left shot into the lake again on No. 2, but I managed to come away with a double.

No. 3 is the toughest hole on the course and my favorite. It’s a par-5 hole of 532 yards (from the whites) and doglegs right at its midpoint. The tee shot is straight forward; there are bunkers on the left and right, but the landing area is wide and generous. The second shot is where it gets complicated. Water on the left and bunkers on the right require an accurate shot. Ideally, the third shot lands on the elevated green that is ringed with large trees that make me think of it as a natural grandstand. It was one of my favorite views on the course. I have played Edgewood twice and have pared it both times, so I would be lying if I said my score had nothing to do with liking the hole.

Being in the mountains, it’s no surprise that there are large, old trees everywhere at Edgewood. What is a bit surprising is that sometimes they’re in the middle of the fairway. Nos. 8 and 16 feature monstrous pine trees close to your tee shot landing zone. Since my ball never goes quite where I aim it off tee, I aimed directly at the trees on both holes and took them out of play.

A massive, old-growth tree sits in the middle of the fairway landing zone on hole No. 8. A massive, old-growth tree sits in the middle of the fairway landing zone on hole No. 8.

A massive, old-growth tree sits in the middle of the fairway landing zone on hole No. 8.

No. 9 has been redesigned in recent years and now has a great lakeside green. No. 11 is a great hole to go for it. At 328 yards, you can choose to hit left to a large safe landing area or hit slightly right over a lake to cut the distance down. No. 12 is a 167-yard uphill par-3 with another great pine tree stadium surrounding the green.

No. 14 is one of the most scenic holes on the course. You hit into the 406-yard par-4 from an elevated tee box in the trees with views of the clubhouse and a large lake. As you work your way to your ball off the tee, you are greeted with a nice view of Lake Tahoe and the mountains behind the California side of the lake.

The final two holes are the jewels of Edgewood. No. 17 is a 140-yard par-3 that parallels the sandy beach, and you putt out with a great view of Lake Tahoe. During the American Century Championship it is also the home of many shenanigans. The beach and water edge is lined with fans and boats, and many of the players interact with the fans there. Justin Timberlake and Alfonso Ribeiro have danced, NFL linebacker A.J. Hawk tackled a fan (at the fan’s request) and Jerry Rice has thrown passes —  to recap a few great moments from the hole.

The par-3 17th at Edgewood has been host of many tournament shenanigans.

The par-3 17th at Edgewood has been host of many tournament shenanigans.

No. 18 is a par-5 of 501 yards that starts inland, though you can still see Lake Tahoe through the trees. On your approach to the green there are bunkers, trees and a water hazard that can come into play. Once on the green, only a cart path separates you from the beach and Lake Tahoe.

The 18th green offers a great way to cap a day at Edgewood.

The 18th green offers a great way to cap a day at Edgewood.

If you are looking for a great golf getaway, look to Edgewood Tahoe. It’s a fantastic course and with typical summer temperatures in the 70s, making it a great place to beat the heat.

If there is a moral to this story, it’s that you can still have a good time and enjoy a course while having a bad round. When you are playing well remember these words from Han Solo: “Great kid, don’t get cocky!”

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Matt Kartozian is an amateur golfer, professional photographer and journalist based in Phoenix, Arizona. He can often be found on the sidelines at NFL, NHL and MLB games, as well as racetracks around the world. Matt specializes in off-road racing and events like the Baja 1000. When not dodging racecars and linebackers, Matt likes to spend time on the golf course.

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Guia

    Sep 17, 2016 at 1:47 pm

    “Just when you think you are getting good at golf, you will find yourself in what amounts to a racecar crashing at 110 mph, flipping end over end while on fire.”

    Slightly over the top comparison.

    • ooffa

      Sep 18, 2016 at 8:35 am

      Just when you think you are getting good at golf, you will find yourself in what amounts to a racecar crashing at 110 mph, flipping end over end while on fire. While in a hurricane, during an earthquake. In November after Trump has been elected. I do not think that is over the top at all. I think at best it is understated.

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Hidden Gem of the Day: Boulder Creek Golf Club in Streetsboro, Ohio

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These aren’t the traditional “top-100” golf courses in America, or the ultra-private golf clubs you can’t get onto. These are the hidden gems; they’re accessible to the public, they cost less than $50, but they’re unique, beautiful and fun to play in their own right. We recently asked our GolfWRX Members to help us find these “hidden gems.” We’re treating this as a bucket list of golf courses to play across the country, and the world. If you have a personal favorite hidden gem, submit it here! 

Today’s Hidden Gem of the Day was submitted by GolfWRX member JimGantz, who takes us to Boulder Creek Golf Club in Streetsboro, Ohio. Just 30 minutes from downtown Cleveland, Boulder Creek features over 100 feet of elevation changes, and when you look at the photos of the course, it’s easy to see why this track landed in our hidden gem thread. JimGantz gives us a concise description of the course, praising it for its nice blend of different hole types.

“Conditions are always top notch. Fluffy bunkers, thick-ish rough.  Staff are super friendly. Good mix of long and short holes which is something I like. I’m not a huge fan of playing a course where every par 3 is over 200yds. This track mixes it up.”

According to Boulder Creek Golf Club’s website, 18 holes with a cart from Monday-Thursday will set you back $40, while to play on the weekend costs $50. Seniors can play the course for as little as $25 during the week.

@BoulderCreekOH

@amgolferblog

@troymezz

Check out the full forum thread here, and submit your Hidden Gem.

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Hidden Gem of the Day: Oak Hollow Golf Club in High Point, North Carolina

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These aren’t the traditional “top-100” golf courses in America, or the ultra-private golf clubs you can’t get onto. These are the hidden gems; they’re accessible to the public, they cost less than $50, but they’re unique, beautiful and fun to play in their own right. We recently asked our GolfWRX Members to help us find these “hidden gems.” We’re treating this as a bucket list of golf courses to play across the country, and the world. If you have a personal favorite hidden gem, submit it here! 

Today’s Hidden Gem of the Day was posted by GolfWRX member thejuice, who submitted Oak Hollow Golf Club in High Point, North Carolina, as his hidden gem of a golf course. In his description, thejuice charts out what exactly he loves about the course, and why the Pete Dye designed track is now going to be his go-to-stop in North Carolina.

“It’s a Pete Dye design that has a lot of the unfair Dye slopes in the greens, with the normal Pete Dye risk/reward setup on several holes.  I played it with some cousins during my family reunion and thought it was fantastic.”

“We normally play Starmount Forest (I’m a ClubCorp member), Grandover, or Bryan Park (both have 36 holes, and both are fine facilities), but I think I want to make Oak Hollow my preferred course when I go to visit my NC fam.  For the price, it just can’t be beaten.  I think we paid $40 on a Saturday morning (8 am tee time) and it was definitely worth more than that with several holes on a large lake and excellent fairways and greens.”

Sounds good, right? Well according to Oak Hollow Golf Club’s website, that Saturday morning rate comes with a cart, and should you want to play during the week, an 18 hole round will set you back just $33. They have plenty of specials listed on their site too, but the one that stands out the most is the 18 hole weekday walking fee, which costs only $17.

@rcausey25

@TeamSC11

@HPCBison_Golf

Check out the full forum thread here, and submit your Hidden Gem.

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Hidden Gem of the Day: The Wilderness at Lake Jackson in Texas

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These aren’t the traditional “top-100” golf courses in America, or the ultra-private golf clubs you can’t get onto. These are the hidden gems; they’re accessible to the public, they cost less than $50, but they’re unique, beautiful and fun to play in their own right. We recently asked our GolfWRX Members to help us find these “hidden gems.” We’re treating this as a bucket list of golf courses to play across the country, and the world. If you have a personal favorite hidden gem, submit it here! 

Today’s Hidden Gem of the Day takes us to “The Lone Star State” and The Wilderness at Lake Jackson in Texas. The course was submitted by GolfWRX member pearsonified, who calls The Wilderness “the best value in Texas”. Pearsonified also believes that the course contains “perhaps the most memorable green sites” he’s ever seen as he went into full detail on why he believes The Wilderness is such a gem.

“This Jeff Brauer design is a RIDICULOUS sleeper with perhaps the most memorable green sites I’ve ever played. The par five 7th plays to a kidney-shaped green that’s nearly 70 yards long and features a few different plateaus. The long par three 16th—one of my favorite holes anywhere—is a classic Biarritz with a 5-foot-deep swale cutting right through the middle. Honorable mention goes to the short par four 11th which properly balances risk with reward and goads players to bite off as much as they can.”

According to The Wilderness at Lake Jackson’s website, a weekday round for a resident will cost $49, while for a non-resident the fee rises to $59. Although rising above the hidden gem “less than $50” rule, to play after 2 pm at the Wilderness will set you back just $44, and all of these rates include a cart fee.

@SilverStarGolf

@SilverStarGolf

@thewildernessgc

Check out the full forum thread here, and submit your Hidden Gem.

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