Both “Incline Village” and “Championship” in the title at this Lake Tahoe club suggest what players should be expecting when they arrive. To the former, the course is based on mountainous terrain with plenty of altitude around the tourist destination on the Nevada/California border. To the latter, Robert Trent Jones (and, later, renovator Kyle Phillips) was known for creating stiff challenges and the 7,100 yards of tree-lined fairways from the back tees will provide one here.
Although the course does not come near the lake, struggling players will get many opportunities to look up from their ugly scorecards and gaze out from vistas on high. The downhill par three at No. 14 will be the prime photo opportunity...just don’t let the water far beyond the green distract you from the small pond at the fore.
Water is not a prominent hazard at the Incline Village, however many an approach shot will need to reckon with small creek crossings on the back nine. The three-hole stretch from Nos. 10-12, as well as nos. 15 and 16, will call for tee shots in the fairway; those who go awry may not be able to get over the streams ahead of the green in order to get home in regulation.
Amazing golf in Lake Tahoe, the views almost steal away from the fact that these are some of the best USGA greens in all of Northern California. Some of the most scenic tee shots in the area and plenty of length to leave you challenged with this well groomed golf course. Props to Jeff Clouthier for over 20 years of amazing work as the superintendent. If you’re in Tahoe you must play here.
Great test of golf. Make it a 36 hole day with the sister Mountain course.
I have played Incline Village a few times over the years and there's a clear demarcation between what was present to what you see today. The Robert Trent Jones, Sr., course started to show its age and the layout reflected a 1960s style simply a bit dated and tired.
Kyle Phillips was called upon to spruce things up and the layout that's present today looks fresher and, at the same time, still keeps the RTJ motif without doing any heavy headed impositions.
The layout has numerous dog-leg holes -- no less than nine. And despite a quality effort by Phillips the sum total of the holes rests on functionality -- think of basic vanilla ice cream that's what you find.
The holes work through the stately pines and when the sun is usually shining the ambiance is one to truly relish.
The shot demands are not strenuous but more about being able to control any desire to slug away with impunity.
The bunkers you see today have a cleaner more refreshed look and the juxtaposition of the white sand against the forest green trees is certainly noteworthy.
The golf options in and around the broader Tahoe area have clearly expanded since the days when Incline Village was the top ticket place. It's still worth a round but, as I mentioned earlier, don't be looking for something more than what you're getting.
M. James Ward