For my first golf trip to Lake Tahoe, I was very happy with the result. Though I still have plenty more left to play on future visits, I was able to knock down several top-shelf courses that have been on my bucket list for years. None was higher on that list for the region than Edgewood Tahoe.
Having watched the American Century Celebrity Golf Championship many times and followed reviews on Greenskeeper.org, I knew this was a special place and a must-play when I finally made it to Tahoe. Most of the notable courses in this region are located to the north, but Edgewood is situated on the far southeast corner of the lake in the town of Stateline, NV. As the name would imply, it’s basically right on the California/Nevada border. It’s part of a high-end lakefront resort and it’s really the only golf course in this region that is actually on the lake itself.
Though it has mountain surroundings, I wouldn’t categorize Edgewood Tahoe as a “mountain” course. It’s not quite hilly enough for that. It’s just a beautiful setting with an exceptional golf course that has to be played to fully appreciate. I’ll do my best to give you a taste of what this place is all about.
I should mention that a round at Edgewood Tahoe is not cheap. We ended up paying the full Saturday morning rack rate of $220. We could have signed up for the NCGA outing to be held here on Sunday and saved a little on the price ($185), but we decided it was worth paying more to have a quicker round that would allow us to get more out of the entire weekend. Ultimately, that was a good decision for the trip.
We were able to book our tee time 60 days in advance and we locked up the first time off at 7:00. However, we ultimately learned that they often add earlier tee times later depending on weather forecasts and member/resort guest demand. We were able to move our tee time up to 6:36, but we would not be first off. This policy is a little annoying for those who book a specific tee time so far in advance (for a reason). Upon arrival on Saturday morning, all those annoyances were quickly washed away. This was going to be an enjoyable round no matter what and the weather was absolutely gorgeous!
They put us off second as a twosome behind a threesome of members. They purposely don’t want rabbits out here pushing maintenance, so they asked us to not play through that group whose job it was to essentially set the morning pace. That was fine and we had a relaxed 3:45 pace of play.
Edgewood Tahoe was designed by George Fazio. His son, Tom, is also credited on the scorecard, so I don’t know the full history of the original design process or any renovations since it opened in the 1968.
The Fazio family should be commended on a great resort layout. Though there are a lot of water hazards and plenty of trees in play, I would say the course is pretty forgiving off the tee. Then, it gets harder as you near the greens. This is definitely a Fazio hallmark. The greens are average in size (not massive like most Tom Fazio courses), but often have unique shapes and plenty of undulation. Most are guarded by deep bunkers that you want to avoid at all costs. For whatever reason, a majority of the pin placements last Saturday were in the back portion, which made for some really intimidating semi-blind approach shots. It never looked like there was any room to work with on the top shelves of the greens and that was often the case.
The greens were a big story. They are tricky. Obviously, the lake has a natural pull and these surfaces were firm and lightning fast. They were so pure and nice, though, that it’s the kind of punishment you can’t help but enjoy. I never mind taking a few three-putts when the greens are this perfect.
In all respects, Edgewood Tahoe was easily the best-conditioned course played on the Tahoe portion of my trip—even though this is still considered the early shoulder season here. It was lush and green throughout, with perfectly manicured tee boxes and fairways. The rough was a little more inconsistent with some varying cuts and tufts. It was not overly punitive, but just enough to make you work and some lies were trickier than others. The bunkers had soft white sand that was just perfect for us early groups.
There are many memorable holes throughout Edgewood, but the finishing stretch of 16-18 along the lake is what I was most looking forward to. It lived up to my lofty expectations. It’s a distinctive 5-3-5 finish with three signature holes. The 16th offers the nicest-looking tee shot on the course with a slightly elevated tee box and a gentle downhill slope throughout the hole. The blue lake shimmers in the distance with the tall trees lining the fairway on both sides. It is also a fun hole with a tricky green that’s guarded by many bunkers.
The 17th is the hole most people think of when dreaming of Edgewood Tahoe. This is the little par-3 that plays right along the water’s edge. Small waves lap the sandy beach and any shot sprayed right will find one of the biggest and most beautiful water hazards you’ll ever encounter. Anything short of the green will have you playing from the coarse lake sand. They were already starting to build the grandstands around this hole for the upcoming celebrity tournament, so this hole is getting ready for its television spotlight.
Last but not least, you finish with the par-5 18th that is very reachable for long hitters. The fairway is a gentle double dogleg and the green is guarded by a small pond on the left (and the lake not too far to the right) to affect any risk/reward decisions you might have if contemplating going for it in two. Otherwise, it’s a pretty simple three-shot hole (as long as you avoid the trees) if you want to play conservatively and still have a good look at birdie. It’s a nice finishing hole with great lakefront views and the awesome clubhouse also in the background.
Edgewood Tahoe has been the centerpiece of the dream Tahoe trip I’ve been planning in my head for many years. I’m so happy that I finally made the trip happen, and Edgewood did not disappoint as something truly special that I would easily recommend to anyone. Yes, it is more expensive than the rest and there are better value plays in the area. There are even more dramatic and scenic courses around here. However, this is still one of those courses that is worth splurging on at least once.
Some pictures from Edgewood Tahoe (6/16/18):
(Click on any picture below to pull up a gallery slideshow.)