Disc-Golf; Not Just For Hippies Anymore
by: Curly (Lakeside Inn Blackjack Dealer)
Low-impact Outdoor Recreation
High up in the Sierra Nevada mountains, Lake Tahoe offers a lot of outdoor recreational activities in the summertime. When the valleys below are piping hot and finding cooler temps is the priority, Tahoe often offers an ideal climate that is conducive to a casual stroll in the woods. In my opinion, the best way to stroll through the woods and enjoy Lake Tahoe’s natural scenery first-hand is to play disc-golf, A.K.A. “Frisbee-golf” or sometimes called “Hippie-golf”. The moniker “hippie-golf” is certainly a fun take on a fun game but it doesn’t reflect the broad range of participants that enjoy this sport nationwide, from rank beginners to professional disc-golfers, from small children to retirees.
Disc Golf Basics
Best of all disc golf is free to play (except at Squaw and voluntary course donations) in Lake Tahoe once you own a disc or two (Sports LTD has a great selection). There are different kinds of discs (specially designed Frisbees) for different kinds of shots, just like there are different clubs for ball-golf. There are drivers, putters and approach discs, as well as discs that prefer to go right or left, glide or roll. The target is a basket that sits a couple of feet off the ground with hanging chains to kill the flight of your disc, instead of a hole in the ground. In disc golf, you get to pick up your disc where it lands and throw again from that spot. If you get the disc into the basket in 3 shots, that’s a par. The great part of the game is that whether you shoot a ‘deuce’ or ‘birdie’ on a hole or if it takes you ten strokes to get it in there, it’s a great social activity that really gets you in touch with the environment as the course winds its way through changing landscapes! That one great putt, “oh the sweet music of the chains!”, or that one great birdie drive, will bring you back for more.
Tahoe is a disc-golf Mecca!
Even a lot of local disc golfers don’t know about all of the courses in the area, so here is a run down of what is available. Lakeside Inn and Casino is a great home base from which to explore all 12 of these disc golf courses, all within a one hour drive or less.
Remember, practice etiquette, wear good footwear, always bring plenty of water/sun protection and pack-it-in-pack-it-out – don’t litter. Visit pdga.com for more information about disc golf or visit blackjack dealer, Curly's webpage to see a great video about the Zephyr Cove disc golf course and volleyball scene, and find out more about his Landscape Architecture Master's Thesis on disc golf course design!
Lake Tahoe and Carson Valley Disc Golf Course Options
Zephyr Cove, NV -18- (4 miles) tip: Stop by the Sunset Beach Bar next to great volleyball action for a refreshment after your round!
Bijou Park, CA -27- (4 miles) tip: Use your Lakeside Comp Credits to pick up some new plastic at Sports Ltd. next to Heavenly Village! Then refuel after your round at Sprouts Natural Foods Cafe (a local tradition) or bbq your own meal at the fantastic newly renovated Lakeview Commons on the lake a short walk away.
North Tahoe Lions Club DGC @ Incline Village, NV -18- (24 miles, 31 mins) tip: Find a secluded beach among granite boulders and spectacular mountain views off Highway 28 on your way up, and be sure to refuel after your round at the famous T's Rotisserie Chicken next to the 7-11 on Highway 28.
North Tahoe Regional Park, Tahoe Vista, CA -18- (31 miles, 47 mins) tip: Grab a picnic lunch at Safeway after your round and take it across the street to the North Tahoe Beach Center, jump in the lake, catch some shade or watch some great volleyball action!
Truckee River Regional Park, Truckee, CA -18- (40.8 miles, 57 mins) tip: Be sure to leave some time after your round to stroll historic downtown Truckee across the river to explore the unique shops, restaurants and bars that occupy historic buildings dating back to the 1800's.
Sierra College DGC, Truckee, CA -18- (44 miles, 1 hour) tip: Plan your day to play Truckee River Regional Park in the morning, have lunch, and then hit this great new course behind the new Community College. Some great legit par 4's..!
Squaw Valley DGC, Squaw Valley, CA -18- (40 miles, 1 hr 7 mins) tip: Plan the whole day for this one! Take the west shore of the Lake to see Emerald Bay on the way. Beginning above 8000 feet, you'll either have to pay for a tram ride up or be ready for some serious hiking! Summer only. The course is amazing but extreme; bring plenty of water, sunscreen and snacks. Come in late July or early August for amazing wildflower displays!
Indian Hills DGC, near Carson City, CA -9,18- (24 miles, 31 mins) tip: Try to incorporate this great new short course with interesting elevation/hills and spectacular views on your way to/from the Reno/Tahoe Airport. And stop by nearby Trader Joe's after your round to refuel!
Turtle Rock Park, Markleeville, CA -18- (29 miles, 41 mins) tip: Be sure to talk to Andy, the course pro/manager, a table games dealer on swing shift, to get all the latest info about this highly rated course. Plan time to take a dip at nearby Grover Hot Springs after your round and catch a bite to eat in tiny, but charming downtown Markleeville!
Kirkwood Mountain Resort, CA -18- (35 miles, 48 mins) tip: Like Squaw, make a day of it; extreme disc golf & wildflowers mid-summer. This course starts from the base, so no cost for lift-service, but you may want to bring your mountain bike also – if you have the endurance – because Kirkwood offers great lift-serviced trails on the other side of the resort. Great giant volcanic formations abound!
Dayton DGC, Dayton NV -18- (36 miles, 48 mins) tip: Incorporate a trip to the largest national historic monument in the country – Virginia City – with a pleasant round along the meandering Carson River in the shade of giant cottonwoods.
The Ranch, Reno, NV -18- (59 miles, 1hour 5 mins) tip: Plan to visit this course if you have time before or after your flight in/out of Reno. Or plan to visit downtown Reno, see a Reno Aces minor league matchup and spot future major league stars!