The calendar says the longest days of the year are finally, officially here, which can only mean one thing: It’s time to play as much golf as possible. Sweet, sweet summer golf.
Question is, do you go high or low (elevation), north or south? The following rundown looks at several popular summertime golf destinations and clubs, plus a couple year-round spots that, yeah, will require additional heat-beating measures, but are worth a look all the same.
NEVADA: EDGEWOOD TAHOE/CLEAR CREEK
Edgewood Tahoe is known to most casual golfers as that gorgeous spot where the celebrities gather every summer — and will again July 9-14 for the 30th annual American Century Championship, with the likes of Steph Curry, Charles Barkley, Aaron Rodgers and last year’s champ, Tony Romo, slated to tee it up. But for serious golfers the spectacular course should be on every must-play list.
Originally laid out by George Fazio in the 1960s and updated in the early 2000s by son Tom, the course features four holes right on the lake, with views of the giant alpine gem from most other holes. The three-hole finishing stretch is pure mountain magic, with the beachside par-3 17th its signature centerpiece … and ground zero for all kinds of celebrity championship highlight reel material.
The new 9th hole that has been getting a lot of attention lately — it’s now nudged right up against Tahoe with killer views from every inch of tee, fairway and green. Why was it moved? To make way for the Lodge at Edgewood, a high-end boutique hotel that vaulted to the top of many a list the moment it opened in 2017. In 2018 Travel & Leisure named it the World’s Best Small Hotel, and Preferred Hotels & Resorts has just named it Hotel of the Year for 2019. The rooms are exquisite, with open floorplans, huge bathrooms, decks looking over the lake or mountains, fireplaces and all the little touches you’d expect from a top-notch resort. Throw in a full-service spa, pool complex looking over the lake and 9th fairway, excellent in-house dining options (with the exquisite Edgewood Room just steps away in the golf course clubhouse), shopping and close proximity to the South Lake Tahoe gaming and entertainment venues, and it’s a 300-yard-drive of a getaway.
Want to combine a stay at the Lodge with the celeb tournament? Sounds like a sweet summertime plan indeed — a special stay and play opportunity to make you feel like a celebrity before the real superstars take over. Starting at $1,799 with arrival on July 8, this two-night stay package includes your choice of room plus two rounds of golf with cart, one caddie for your twosome, and a starter to announce the names of each player for the morning split tee start on Monday, July 8; an Edgewood golf bundle for each player with logo’d goods: $200 dining credit; special stableford tournament scoring for players choosing to participate with men’s and women’s divisions winners receiving a $100 resort credit; closest to the hole contest on the 17th hole with a $100 resort credit for the closest to the hole winner, and a special three-night Presidential Suite stay prize should you make a hole-in-one; and tickets to the American Century Championship Celeb-Am on Tuesday, July 9.
This package is only available to be booked by phone at 855-314-0488. For more on Edgewood and the Lodge, visit www.edgewoodtahoe.com
Just off Edgewood’s 9th hole is another high-end hideaway called the Lake House, but you’ll have to be a member, or the guest of a member, at Clear Creek Tahoe, a private residence community that’s home to an incredible Crenshaw-Coore course just down Highway 50 on the way to Carson City. The 2,136-acre mountainside development currently has cottage and full-sized residential lots for sale, with several homes going up; members are also enjoying Summit Camp, a new pool and recreation center, and there are miles of hiking trails through meadows and through stands of pine and fir, with the occasional drop-dead view of the Carson Valley to the south.
But it’s the golf course that gets the most attention, for good reason. It’s the only C&C mountain design, with their trademark natural transition areas and blowout bunkers dotting the rolling, dramatic tee-to-green landscape. Our call? Finagle an invite or ask for a look-and-see visit, play the course … and try to resist the urge to go all in with a membership of your own.
IDAHO: WHITETAIL CLUB
Another private but worth-seeking-out mountain west destination is Whitetail Club, the second-home golf community in the secret lake/ski town of McCall, Idaho, not far from Sun Valley.
Known as one of Idaho’s premier courses, named among Golfweek's Best Resort Courses for 2016 and listed as one Golf Digest’s America's 100 Greatest Course — expect a full Golf Tips review and rating in the next few months — the scenic, 18-hole, par-72 course designed by Roger Packard and two-time U.S. Open winner Andy North meanders through forested corridors with Edgewood-like forays through open meadows and across sun-splash ponds. Also, the second-home club’s staff are keeping things relevant for its golf loving homeowners by offering players tips on how to play like a Masters Champion, or at least a Whitetail One, via the clubhouse’s full complement of swing analysis equipment.
Whitetail Club also went to great lengths to appeal to golf lovers when it unveiled its first-ever multi-acre golf course townhome neighborhood, The Fairways at Whitetail Club, in late 2018. Made up of multi-acres, the golf course townhome neighborhood holds 34 spacious three- to five-bedroom townhomes alongside the course.
The club also offers a Fish & Swim Club, plenty of trail hiking, indoor tennis and fitness center, a kids’ park and much more.
ARIZONA: DESERT MOUNTAIN
Renegade—the first of six Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Courses at Desert Mountain Club—reopens this summer after a year-long renovation, led by Nicklaus himself along with Nicklaus designer, Chris Cochran.
Since debuting in 1987, Renegade has placed on Golf Digest’s list of America’s 100 Greatest Golf Courses three times. It is a fixture on lists of the best courses in Arizona. In fact, Renegade was once called “the most versatile course in the world” for its use of two greens on every hole, allowing golfers the option of playing it shorter or longer based on the tee and green they chose.
Nicklaus, working alongside Cochran, created a new master plan for Renegade and has been intimately involved in the work, visiting the site several times. Houston-based construction company Heritage Links has implemented the Nicklaus Design renovation plan that included new greens, bunkers, tees, cart paths, drainage, irrigation system, lake construction, and grassing.
Renegade will still provide two pin placements on every hole, allowing Desert Mountain members to customize the course every time they play it. Either pin placement can be played on any given day, providing endless options and distance variety from a forward tee-length of 4,500 yards to a champions’ test of 8,000 yards. The customization goes so far that hole 10 can play as a par 4 or par 5 and hole 12 can be played either as a par 3 or par 4—depending on the day and the choice of the player. Every available playing option will be rated by the Arizona Golf Association, so players can enter accredited scores.
“Everything—including the game of golf—evolves and when the game changes, you’ve got to adapt with it,” said Nicklaus. “We opened up the renovated golf course a little bit by flattening the mounds and broadening the fairways, but it’s still the same golf course with two pins on every hole—just with a modernized playing strategy.”
Nicklaus once said that Renegade might be the toughest course he’s designed and played (he kidded on a recent site visit that he shot 83 during the 1987 grand opening—one year after winning the Masters at age 46—and missed only one fairway), while also the easiest, due to the two-green system.
Renegade now features six single greens, with two pins on them, and 12 holes with double- greens. Previously, it was five holes with three greens, and 13 holes with one large green. Golfers’ views of the surrounding mountains have been enhanced, as are the views of the course from the homes that overlook it.
GEORGIA: REYNOLDS KINGDOM OF GOLF
Stepping to the tee confident that the driver in hand is perfectly matched to deliver optimal performance is the advantage golfers get from the new “TaylorMade For You” package offered at Reynolds Kingdom of Golf presented by TaylorMade, a state-of-the-art game improvement center at Reynolds Lake Oconee halfway between Atlanta and Augusta.
Included in the experience is a private, one-on-one consultation with a TaylorMade Tour Club Fitter, who use the latest technology to determine the proper equipment for each golfer. A Master Club Builder will then craft, on-site, a custom driver in the TaylorMade Tour Trailer, ready to take straight to the course.
The “TaylorMade For You” experience is perfect on its own as a day trip to Reynolds Lake Oconee, or as an opportunity to “linger longer” at the resort, adding it to an existing golf package that offer guests access to the community’s award-winning courses.
“Having the proper equipment in your hands is the first step to play great golf,” said Sean Cain, Director of Reynolds Kingdom of Golf, the state-of-the-art game improvement center at Reynolds Lake Oconee. “The TaylorMade For You package is a great way for our guests to experience an elite club fitting identical to the process for Tour players, while enjoying the golf courses and all the beauty and hospitality that Reynolds Lake Oconee has to offer.”
Reynolds Lake Oconee is ranked among the most exciting golf experiences with six golf courses designed by legendary architects: Great Waters by Jack Nicklaus, National by Tom Fazio, Oconee by Rees Jones, The Landing and The Preserve by Bob Cupp, as well as the members-only Creek Club by Jim Engh.
Along with its Top 100-ranked golf courses, Reynolds Lake Oconee features a full range of sporting activities, with access to more than 350 miles of Lake Oconee shoreline and four marinas; shooting sports at the Sandy Creek Sporting Grounds; and an award-winning tennis center, together making it one of the most impressive community and golf destinations in the world.
The experience package, which includes a driver, starts at $599 per person for the TaylorMade M6 model with standard equipment; the M5 model price is additional.
- Luxury accommodations in a Reynolds Lake Oconee cottage or condominium
- One round of golf per person for each night of stay with special rates for replays
- Additional club fittings including metal woods, hybrids, irons, wedges, and putter
- A thorough full-game analysis and nine-hole on-course playing lesson with PGA Tour professional Blake Adams, a new member of the Reynolds Kingdom of Golf staff