THE LAYOUT: The University of Nevada, whose teams are nicknamed the Wolf Pack, built this scenic course on land it owned at the foot of snow-capped Mt. Rose, which explains why the school's Block N, in blue and silver, adorns the flag on every hole. Director of Golf Tom Duncan, who was the Nevada golf coach from 1994 to 2004, fronted a syndicate that bought the course from the Athletic Association of the University of Nevada in 2004. PGA pro Lou Eiguren, formerly the head pro at the Olympic Club in San Francisco and Edgewood Golf Club in Lake Tahoe, designed the 7,100-yard par-72 layout, which opened in 1998, with the help of John Fleming, who was his superintendent at the Olympic Club. Fleming's father, Jack, was lead construction foreman for famed designer Alister MacKenzie at Cypress Point in Pebble Beach, Pasatiempo in Santa Cruz and other classic courses in California. The course at Wolf Run winds through 140 acre hilly acres in a bowl-like canyon, with roaring White's Creek traversing eight holes, and there is water on 15 of the 18. There are few trees on the course -- dozens of saplings were planted recently -- and it plays relatively short, but the elevation changes require golfers to play a variety of shots, although the driving areas are generous on most holes. With four sets of tees, it's a fair test for golfers of all abilities. DIRECTOR OF GOLF: Tom Duncan. LOCAL KNOWLEDGE: Accuracy and course management rather than length off the tee can lead to a good score at Wolf Run, if you can solve the large and tricky greens, which are considered among the best in the Reno area. Stay below the hole to avoid some treacherous putts because the greens are fast and feature plenty of break. The course opens with a challenging 408-yard par 4, with the creek guarding the left side and the front of the green, making the approach shot all carry to a putting surface that slopes from back to front. No. 4, a 412-yard par 4, is the first of several holes that require a decision from the elevated tee -- whether to take out the driver and try to hit over two forks of White's Creek nearly 200 yards away, or to lay up for a longer approach shot to the elevated green. The fifth hole is the first of three par 3s that measure at least 200 yards from the back tees, but probably the most difficult and picturesque is No. 14, in an amphitheatre setting, which measures 218 yards to a green guarded by the creek and a large front bunker. The two par-5 holes on the back, Nos. 15 (546 yards) and 18 (527), might be reachable in two for big hitters because of the thin air, but are ranked Nos. 3 and 5 in difficulty on the course. The approaches on both are guarded by the creek and bunkers. Reno is 4,412 feet above sea level, so as a rule at least one less club is required on most shots, depending on the wind. Wolf Run also is known locally for the fine cuisine in its restaurant and its weekly wine tasting. OTHER COURSES IN THE AREA: Lake Ridge Golf Course, which opened in 1969 and was designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr. and Jr., was voted the best course in Reno for 10 consecutive years. Northgate Golf Club is a links course in the Northern Nevada desert, designed by Brad Benz and Mike Poellot, which opened in 1988; Rosewood Golf Course, designed by Benz, is a challenging course built on reclaimed swampland with water in play on every hole; Sierra Sage Golf Course is a wide-open layout opened in 1960, and Washoe Golf Course is the oldest in Reno, opened in 1936. In neighboring Sparks are D'Andrea Golf and Country Club, the private Hills and the resort Lakes courses at Red Hawk Golf Club at Wingfield Springs, and Wildcreek Golf Course, which features a full-sized course and a nine-hole layout. WHERE TO STAY: The Hilton Reno Resort and Casino, about 15 minutes from Wolf Run, offers guests the largest casino in Northern Nevada and plenty more. There are nine restaurants and lounges, shows in the Hilton Theater, a fitness center and spa, outdoor heated swimming pool, sauna, driving range, bowling alley, a 70,000-square-foot shopping mall and the largest recreational vehicle park in Reno. The Peppermill Hotel Casino is a local favorite, the Siena Hotel Spa on the Truckee River is the newest resort in town and the Boomtown Fun Center is designed for families. Among the best of the rest are John Ascuaga's Nugget, the Eldorado Resort, the Silver Legacy Resort and Casino, the Atlantis Casino Resort, the Circus-Circus Hotel and Casino-Reno, Harrah's Reno and the Sands Regency Casino Hotel. ON THE WEB: http://www.wolfrungolfclub.com. THE LAST RESORT: The Resort at Squaw Creek in Olympic Valley, Calif. THE LAYOUT: Skiers have long carried the torch for Squaw Valley and golfers can do the same. Squaw Valley, site of the 1960 Winter Olympic Games, has been a world-class ski resort since visionary developer Alex Cushing built the first chairlift there in the 1950s, and Squaw Creek has made this revered site a world-class golf destination. In fact, there are days in the spring when you can ski and play golf at Squaw Valley, where twin Olympic torches still burn at the entrance. Squaw Valley was the site of the first "Miracle on Ice," when the United States shocked the favored Soviet Union and Canadian teams to win the Olympic ice hockey gold medal in 1960 behind the goaltending of Jack McCartan. The Olympic Ice Arena where Carol Heiss also won a gold medal in figure skating, an indoor-outdoor facility that was open to the public for years after, is gone. However, recreational skiers still schuss down KT-22, where 19-year-old Penny Pitou became an American hero by winning silver medals in the downhill and the giant slalom. Robert Trent Jones Jr. had only 80 acres to work with for the golf course, but he created a par-71, 6,931-yard masterpiece through a meadow in the Squaw Valley basin with five majestic Sierra peaks as a backdrop. The result was a course with several mountain holes and others with a distinct links feel. DIRECTOR OF GOLF AND SKIING: Eric Veraguth. LOCAL KNOWLEDGE: Utilizing the terrain rather than reshaping it, Jones Jr. created a classic target-golf layout on which water comes into play on 11 holes. Because he had limited terrain to work with, Jones sculpted the fairways in the shape of an hourglass, opening in the driving area at about 150 yards from the green. The first six holes and Nos. 12 and 13 at Squaw Creek hug the mountain at the base of 7,750-foot Snow King, and the rest of the course winds through the environmentally protected meadow that is traversed by cross-country skiers during the winter. You know this is a different golfing experience when you play the first two holes, strong par 4s, around the Squaw Creek chairlift, which whisks resort guests to the top of the Red Dog ski run to start their day during ski season. The 406-yard first hole plays up the hill through the trees and the 430-yard second goes right back down the hill to the resort. Your tee shot on the second should be to the right of a large pine tree on a plateau in the fairway, but beware of the elevation change on the approach. The fifth and sixth holes still have the influence of the mountain on the left but serve as a transition to the meadow. Squaw Valley opens up to the golfer, with 8,900-foot Squaw Peak a sentinel in the distance, on the tee of the 386-yard par-4 fifth hole, while the 210-yard par-3 sixth presents a challenging and spectacular tee shot into the prevailing wind over a large lake. The 513-yard par-5 13th plays down hill to a fairway that slopes from left to right and back up to a two-tiered green that sits on the highest point of the Squaw Creek course, with a panoramic view of the valley and a glimpse of 9,050-foot Granite Chief. The last three holes give Squaw Creek a finish to remember. The 204-yard par-3 16th is all carry across the wetlands to what amounts to an island green, while the 429-yard par-4 17th is the No. 2 handicap hole and No. 18 is a par 4 from the back tee that measures 484 yards -- with a huge lake to contend with on the length of the hole. The lake comes into play on the tee shot and again on the approach if you are on the right side of a narrow fairway, with wetlands down the left side. Three traps guard the green, including one in the bailout area on the left. OTHER COURSES IN THE AREA: Also on the North Shore of Lake Tahoe are the Championship Course at Incline Village, designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr., and its sister, the Mountain Course, designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr. Northstar-at-Tahoe offers a unique Robert Muir Graves layout, with two completely different nines -- the front through a wide-open meadow and the back through narrow chutes of trees over meandering creeks to postage-stamp greens. The North Shore also is the site of two sporty muni-type courses, the executive layout at Tahoe Paradise Golf Course and the nine-hole Tahoe City Golf Course. On Tahoe's South Shore are the elegant Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course, site of the 1985 U.S. Senior Open, the 1980 U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship and the annual American Century Celebrity Classic, and the 9-hole Bijou Municipal Course, which has spectacular views of the lake and Heavenly Valley Ski Resort. WHERE TO STAY: The Resort at Squaw Creek is an all-season, world-class resort located a short drive from Lake Tahoe in the majestic Sierra Nevada mountains in Northern California. Squaw Creek offers guests a shopping promenade, four restaurants, extensive meeting and special event facilities, a full-service spa, a complete health and fitness center, and Mountain Buddies -- a comprehensive children's program. Also within Squaw Valley are the Olympic Village Inn, Red Wolf Lodge at Squaw, Squaw Valley Lodge, the Village at Squaw Valley, the Christy Inn and numerous condominium properties. Nearby are the River Ranch Lodge near Alpine Meadows Ski Resort, the Mayfield House, the Tahoe City Inn, the Pepper Tree Inn in Tahoe City, the Tahoe Marina Lodge in Tahoe City and the Inn at Truckee. ON THE WEB: www.squawcreek.com.
By Tom LaMarre, The Sports Xchange July 30, 2012 3:20 PM