Being from Salt Lake City, home of the 2002 Winter Olympics, I have no reason to go somewhere else to ski. I have the greatest snow on Earth and the best resorts 20 minutes from my house. Sorry Tahoe, but I’m calling Utah’s snow better. That being said, I have skied at Heavenly ski resort and at Squaw Valley, both of which provided me a great time.
Give me some summer sunshine and warm temps and I’m all over Tahoe. I’ve camped lakeside several times, and mountain biked the Tahoe resorts in the summer. There’s arguably no more beautiful place than Lake Tahoe in the summer, with the massive pine trees and deep blue water of the lake.
Having been to Tahoe more times than I can remember, there was always a picture in my head as I entered and as I left the south shore. I’ve always lusted at Edgewood Golf Course and wondered why on earth I never played there. I always have the wrong gear in town like tents and mountain bikes. No sticks.
Finally that lust has been satisfied, at least for a very short time.
Edgewood Tahoe Overview
Edgewood is a par 72, tree lined mountain course which tips out at the magical 7445 yards. Why magical? There’s one other course I can think of which has the same yardage: Augusta National, home of the Masters Tournament.
I love tree lined golf courses. Many of my home courses are mountain courses with trees framing up all the holes, though the trees aren’t as tall as the ones at Edgewood. The Jeffrey Pines which line the fairways at Edgewood can reach as high as 200 feet tall, and the pine cones they leave on the fairways are gigantic.
Edgewood is full of elevation changes as the course winds up and down Lake Tahoe’s South shore hillside. Many shots require calculating how many club difference to play, depending on whether your shot is uphill or down.
I’m right at home playing Edgewood at 4580 feet above sea level. I’m used to hitting 300 yard drives in the thin air and high altitude of Salt Lake. If you are used to playing at sea level and hitting 260 yard drives, get ready to hit the 300 mark. The 7445 yardage is equalized by the high altitude and the course doesn’t “feel” that long.
Being a mountain course, so close to ski resorts, the course is closed in winter. The course is open from May 31st to whenever the snow flies in October.
Edgewood is the home for the American Century Championship. This is a celebrity golf tournament featuring the likes of Michael Jordan, Dale Jarrett, Charles Barkley, Tony Romo and many more. Just be sure to turn away when Barkley swings, unless you want to bring your game to a new low.
Edgewood was built in 1968 and designed by a guy with the last name Fazio. Before you jump to any conclusions, let me tell you Mr. Fazio’s first name: George. The very famous course designer Tom Fazio is George’s nephew, and did do a few tweaks to the course later on.
Following each round I analyzed the course and came to one conclusion: George Fazio likes fades. Every driving hole on the course goes left to right. Every one! If you draw the ball (like me), you may want to figure out how to hit a fade prior to your round at Edgewood!
Playing The Course
I played Edgewood two days in a row. The first day I played the blue tees, one set up from the tips. The blues rate at 72.6 with a slope of 139 and 6846 yards. I had a tough time getting to the course from the Reno airport and literally ran from the shuttle to the first tee. No warm up. No chance to enjoy the practice range or facilities.
Despite the rough start, I played decent the first day. I learned the course as much as one could in one round, remembering where NOT to hit my tee shots. I absorbed the course’s vibe and atmosphere as well. Following round one I enjoyed hanging out on the veranda and talking shop with a few golf writers.
Day two, my best round of 2008
On day two I walked to the course from my hotel, the Embassy Suites. It wasn’t a long walk, perhaps 15 minutes. My review of the Embassy Suites Tahoe was posted a while back.
I got to the course early, checked out all the facilities and took a bunch of pictures. I also got a good practice session in on the range as well as spending some quality time on the practice green. That practice would pay large dividends.
I decided to play the tips on day two and happily so. I played very confidently and drove the ball very well. I was in the zone, visualizing the shapes of my shots and watching them happen. I had the speed and lines of the greens nailed, making several birdies. I birdied the 14th hole, a tough downhill dogleg right by dropping an insane downhill putt from about 30 feet. That put me to one over par on the round.
15-18: Stellar Finishing Holes
The next hole is one of my favorites. #15 is the beginning of four of the best holes you’ll ever play sequentially.
On #15 you tee off down below the fairway which is framed by huge pines. I split the fairway and my ball came to rest next to one of those huge pine cones. No problem as the cone was a loose and I could move it legally. I made par on 15 after hitting sand wedge to the back fringe and getting up and down.
#16 is one of the best par-5 holes I’ve ever played. Once again the hole is framed by hundreds of super tall pines. You are facing the beautiful Lake Tahoe in the background. I threaded my drive, threaded a 3-wood, leaving myself a 60 yard flip lob wedge to the back pin. Par.
The 17th hole at Edgewood (right) may be the most picturesque par-3 I’ve ever played. 200 foot tall pines guard the left side and Lake Tahoe on the right. I was quite nervous on the 17th, as I knew if I birdied one of the last two holes I could record a round of even par from the tips. That nervousness caused a bit of a gag swing and I dumped my shot in the front greenside bunker. I was dead with the short pin and had to fly it to the back of the green, where I two putted for bogey.
Despite that gag bogey on 17 I was still feeling good about my round of +2 on such a great course. On the 18th tee I was thinking about how my drive had found the tall pines on the right the day before. I blocked that out of my mind, hitting a good drive up the middle.
The 18th is a tricky risk/reward hole. I took the risk the 1st day and was rewarded with a bogey. I opted not to go for the green in two this time. There’s a pond left and Lake Tahoe right so I decided to pull out an iron and play for a good wedge distance.
My approach distance was a perfect gap wedge which I stuck in there at about five feet. Looking past the pin to the deep blue of Lake Tahoe relaxed me and I calmly drained the satisfying birdie putt.
My final score from the tips my 2nd day at Edgewood: 73. Though I shot a bunch of rounds under par during the year, that 73 was the most rewarding score of 2008 for me.
The Edgewood clubhouse and pro shop is spectacular. I had a terrific time hanging out on the veranda, looking out over the lake following my round, sipping a glass of fine wine. Talk about being content. If I could have just birdied #17…
The practice range is wonderful, with lakeside views and the practice greens equally as nice. Even the spiders love it, as you can see by the huge spider (right) I saw on the clock behind the range.
Along with the big spider, a really great touch behind the range and before the #1 tee, is a big box of fresh apples on ice. If only more courses would do that.
I like food. I like all kinds of food. Give me a hot dog at the turn and a fillet mignon at the 19th hole. Edgewood did just that, and more.
The snack shack had a great variety of at-the-turn goodies. I had an awesome hot dog and was told I must have a chocolate shake. Twist my arm will ya? As a connoisseur of chocolate shakes, I can say Edgewood’s can compete with any I’ve enjoyed. And let me tell you something. I’ve gone on several day road trips with my cousin in search of the world’s best chocolate shake so I know what I’m talking about.
Remember that fillet mignon? The Edgewood Restaurant has fine dining with a beautiful lakeside view. It is a toss up as to which was more spectacular at the Edgewood Restaurant; the food or the view. My fillet was prepared to perfection. I could swear I was chewing in slow motion just to savor the flavor. My wine was perfect and the desert tasted as good as it looked with its fancy presentation.
It took me 42 years of my life to get around to playing my first round at Edgewood. That’s 41 years, 11 months, 30 days, 23 hours and 59 seconds too long.
The experience you get at Edgewood Tahoe is far beyond just playing a round of golf. Many talk about the Edgewood “experience” and I agree 100%. The entire experience, surroundings, amenities and attention to detail Edgewood’s staff puts in is 2nd to none.
Edgewood is special. The routing, design, pine trees, pine cones, spiders, vibe and stunning views will provide a wonderful and memorable golf experience for players of any level, regardless of what numbers they write on the scorecard.
Hooked On Golf Blog Edgewood Tahoe Photo Gallery (almost 200 images!)