Part four, a series by Phil Weidinger
Talk about knowing your market. Carson Valley Golf Course is the area’s original, built in 1965, has a niche and plays to it. And that niche loves playing Carson Valley. Among the area’s most affordable courses, Carson Valley is big with families, beginners, kids and accomplished players looking for birdies. Huge, hundred-year-old Cottonwoods dot the area, lining the Carson River which flows through the course.
The course is 6,021 yards long – which upon first glance may scare off the uninformed long hitter, but Mr. Big will soon find a test with water on 15 holes, and a track where accuracy off the tee and sharp iron play is a premium.
Did I mention Cottonwoods? You’ll love those trees especially on Nos. 14 and 15. Standing on the tee to the 325 yard, par 4, No. 14 for the first time may cause confusion: yes, that is a giant tree literally in the middle of the fairway. First reaction is typically, “What the …?!” But like most great short par 4s, it offers options that offer risk vs. reward. Take it under the tree with a mid-iron low draw and lay up to about 100 yards; try a low, straight shot toward the right; or go big and over the tree. It’s quirky but cool. A tiny green with protective bunkers says you better be hit a short club accurately. The setting is spectacular with the Carson River all along the right side and huge trees surrounding the hole. A lovely country home sits about 50 yards behind the green so watch the language if that 3-footer goes awry.
No. 15 is a solid par 5 of 492 with the Carson River protecting the entire right side and houses that do not intrude on the course set back along the left with only OB stakes to protect the backyard dog! Don’t forget those trees! A solid drive to the left center of the fairway leaves a low to mid iron in to another tiny green well guarded by bunkers. (Are you noticing a trend here?) Most lay up to leave a wedge in – and again it better be accurate.
The name of the game at Carson Valley is fun. It’s a family operation and they appeal to families with kids’ tees, great rates and friendly service. It’s a must play.