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 cool shelter is the priority...
Disc-Golf; Not Just For Hippies Anymore
by: Curly (Lakeside Inn Blackjack Dealer, Graveyard)
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 cool shelter is the priority, Tahoe often offers a cooler 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 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 10 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’s a run down of what is available. Lakeside Inn & Casino is a great home base from which to explore all of these disc golf courses;
• Bijou Park, Al Tahoe Boulevard, South Lake Tahoe (27 holes) This is a relatively flat, rolling, wooded course with some great views of Freel Peak (highest peak in the area at 10,880’) in a public park with free parking and restrooms.
• Zephyr Cove Park, Warrior Way, Douglas County (18 holes). This course is very hilly and full of Manzanita, but the rewards are the challenge and the unbelievable views of Lake Tahoe from the highest holes. Hole 15 feels like your throwing for the Lake! Won’t be playable until mid-June when a fuel reduction project will be complete. The project should improve course play! Beginning behind the library in Zephyr Cove Park, there is ample free parking and amenities.
• Kirkwood, Highway 88, (18 holes). Kirkwood which has legendary skiing and snowfall in the winter, is about 50 minutes from South Lake Tahoe to the south, but it's worth the drive in the summer if you're up for some BIG disc golf on their slopes and wildflower displays in July. It’s a totally different landscape down there. Free parking. Check out the village afterwards!
• Tahoe Vista Course, North Tahoe Regional Park, National Avenue (18 holes). Lake Views. Moderate elevation changes. $3 for parking.
• Truckee Regional Park, Brockaway Road across from 7-11 (18 holes). Mostly flat and relatively open course along the Truckee River. Check out historic downtown Truckee right across the river afterwards! Free parking.
• Donner Ski Ranch, Coming Soon! This course will not be free, as there will be an access charge for using their ski lifts to get there.
When Tahoe is just a bit too nippy for disc golf, you might want to take a trip to “The Biggest Little City in The World” for some perfect disc weather.
• “The Ranch”, Rancho San Rafael Park, North Virginia Street (9 holes, but soon to be 18). Reno’s first disc golf course just opened the back nine! Great for beginners and experts alike among the park’s rolling sagebrush and views of downtown Reno and Mount Rose. Free parking.
• Carson City, Centennial Park. (18 holes) COMING SOON! Nevada’s capital city is planning its first disc golf course that will double as an interpretive trail.
Remember, practice etiquette, always bring plenty of water/sun protection and don’t litter. Visit www.pdga.com for more information about disc golf.