As the golf courses surrounding Lake Tahoe give way to the oncoming change of season and the ski resorts get ready to take over, the Divine Nine of Carson Valley shine in the fall and winter sun. Just thirty minutes from South Shore over Kingsbury grade or via Highway 50 lie what has become known as the Divine Nine. The courses comprising this unusual divinity are; Genoa Lakes and the Resort Course at Genoa Lakes, Carson Valley, Dayton Valley, Eagle Valley East and West, Sunridge, Empire Ranch and Silver Oak.
The divinenine.com website offers numerous stay and play packages in conjunction with area hotels. For years the group offered a "Ticket to Paradise," promotion where you could purchase a season pass good for one round at all nine member courses. It has recently been announced that the program will not be offered in 2014, but in it's place will be numerous overnight golf packages. The website will still be the best place to locate those promotions. You can set up a customized golf outing or group package by utilizing the "contact us," button on the sight. One of the cool things about the Carson Valley courses is that they are all within 40-minutes of each other.
Carson Valley, like the Sacramento region, offers year round golfing except for the occasional frost delay or severe storm system.
The nine member courses each offer different golf experiences starting with Carson Valley Golf Course which meanders along the Carson River and has more trees that any of the other courses in the valley. The trees are mainly Cottonwood and mostly large, befitting their century old presence.
The Genoa Lakes courses offer two distinctly different tracks each with character and shot values to match their designs. Genoa Lakes are actually the two closest facilities to South Tahoe as you can take Kingsbury grade and drop down to Jacks Valley Road. The resort course was designed by Johnny Miller but bears the strong imprint of architect John Harbottle, who also was the architect at the acclaimed Schaeffer's Mill in Truckee.
Dayton Valley is flat, often windy and has what are considered the best greens in the area, which is exactly why it is annually used by the PGA Tour for q-school.
Eagle Valley East and West, under the guidance of Head Golf Professional Jim Kepler offers two unique age related golfer promotions. Kepler makes the courses available afternoons for all sorts of youth and school golf programs saying, "kids are the future of the game because someday all of the baby boomers will be gone." He also lets anyone over the age of 80 play the East course free (cart fee applies but if they walk it is all free) and as you would expect the course has developed a loyal following among octogenarian linksters! It's a promotion that is mainly meant for locals, but if you are over 80 and visiting, you can charm your way on. One of the courses also meanders up into the surrounding hillsides where during winter months you might even see wild horses nearby.
Empire Ranch in Carson City is 27 holes, also located along the Carson River but also along the bluffs and even has some wetlands to add to the challenge and diversity.
Sunridge offers 7,000+ yards and plays to a slope rating of 138 from the back tees. The open topography and landscape lets you know that you are in the desert so you better be ready for the afternoon breeze and enjoy the numerous elevated tees.
Silver Oak is not only a fun track but also houses an antique auto collection which includes old neon signs and other Americana tchotchkes. The Nevada Appeal has rated Silver Oak as the top public course in the area for six years.
So there's the rundown on the Divine 9, collectively Nevada's most unique golf experience especially when coupled with the nearby lodging, restaurants one notable "thirst parlor," in Genoa.
The Divine 9 media tour is an annual golf writer's special event where selected media members are bussed to-and-from each course as the media contingent play two holes on each course for an 18-hole experience that is unlike any other, anywhere. Experiencing the hospitality of the Carson Valley/Minden area lodging and restaurants also makes the Divine 9 standout as Carson/Tahoe's greatest golf hustle. This year Carson Station provided the lodging with complimentary home-baked cookies and a prime rib dinner, just as they would if you book a golf outing.
Great golf, great restaurants, excellent lodging and all of it is affordable. Where are you going on your next golf trip?