Tahoe XC Once Highlands Golf Course

Aerial View Highland Golf Course Marked in Red

Often when I tell people that the trails close to the lodge at Tahoe XC were once the Highlands Golf Course they seemed surprised, but if you take a gander while out there skiing or riding your bike, it is certainly easy enough to understand the layout of the nine hole course (it’s even easier if you look at a viewpoint from the sky, say on your Ski Tracker app).

Take a Walk With Me

Starting out at the lodge, which if you think about it, really does look like a small club house, the first hole is a dog leg uphill to the right with a green at the top of the hill. From there, the second hole would be a par three, with the tee box backing up against Highlands Drive and the green near the totem pole. The third hole, a par five most likely begins where the kids biathlon range is and followed the yellow trail to a putting green at the yellow-green intersection.

From there, it gets a bit tough to line up, but a tee box just before the green water tank would make for a good par four hole to the Yellow Hut. The fifth hole, would either be a par four or five, and be on the long straightaway that backs up to the high school. This is where the new Tahoe XC lodge will eventually be built.

Imagination Use for These Holes

The sixth hole, went from the end of the fifth hole back up to that big opening where the two sections of the yellow trail come close together. This area seems to have seen a lot of tree growth and is the hardest to visualize on the ground.

The seventh and eighth holes, most likely two par fours, but also could be a longer four and a shorter par three, headed back along the long straightway of Yellow trail next to Cedarwood Drive. Which brings us to the ninth hole, the only hole I remember when I played this course as as a teenager. If you ski the steep return trail to the lodge you first quickly climb to a flat spot before the big descent. This was the tee box, and the hole would be in that opening past the bottom of the trail next to the southern edge of the parking lot. It included a nice lakeview, and was an awesome place to sit back and enjoy the view while someone else was hitting, and then shortly afterward swearing, at their ball. Ah the joys of golf.

The Highlands Golf Course was only open for a few years, by the mid 1970s, most likely because the owners were financially struggling, it was sold to the Tahoe City Public Utility District. According to TCPUD Board minutes it was purchased at a time the Board was considering purchasing the Tahoe City Golf Course with the thought to turn that course into community park, in which case the Highlands Golf Course could be improved and become Tahoe City’s local golf course.

Golf Ball Teed Up

Golf Ball Teed Up

Golf Course For Sale

According to Board minutes, it was purchased for $110,000 in 1974-75, and at that time the purchase was made without a clear understanding whether it would continue as a golf course, or be converted into its current use as parkland. Fortunately, it was deemed an important enough property to be acquired for public use. We are all beneficiaries of that decision today, whether we are skiing the trails in the winter, or hiking or biking on them in the summer.

After the land was purchased, Skip Reedy came up with the concept of cross-country skiing here in the winter, creating Tahoe Nordic Ski Area, beginning the legacy that continues as Tahoe XC 45 years later. You can learn more about the history of Tahoe XC here.