(Lake Tahoe, California) October 5th, 2020
Forrest Richardson, ASGCA was selected by California State Parks earlier this year to develop a conceptual plan to reconfigure and make improvements to the 60-year old, 18-hole golf course that is part of the popular Lake Valley State Recreation Area. This important design phase is now completed with next steps in the hands of the State Parks.
Lake Tahoe Golf Course was originally built in 1961 to a design by William F. Bell, ASGCA. The original 9-holes was then expanded and eventually the land was acquired in 1985 by the State of California as part of its State Parks System.
The focus of the work centered around the much-needed realignment and environmental work to the Upper Truckee River. The river has been impacted by past land uses causing excessive erosion. Silt eroded from the river, which borders the course, has long been an issue as the river empties into iconic Lake Tahoe. Scientists are now able to get underway to finalize separate plans to restore the river and restore the flood zone along the river. The golf course conceptual re-design was essential to make room for this larger river footprint that will feature more meandering of the river as it makes its way to Lake Tahoe.
“It’s an honor to be given this assignment,” says Richardson. “Growing up in California I have fond memories of visiting Lake Tahoe and playing golf with my family.” Richardson’s team made extensive studies and site visits, eventually landing on four routing plans that were considered by the State for further study.
The proposed conceptual plan preserves an 18-hole regulation-length course measuring 6,700 yards on the existing golf course property. The par-71 design will also feature a 300-yard practice range and short game area. Among the interesting features of the design are five par-3s, two of which fall back-to-back at Nos. 15 and 16. “We let the river decide how the holes should be routed,” says Richardson. “The design took root from the way the river needs to twist and turn in order to provide the best possible erosion control outcome — the results were two great short holes, each that interact with the river and are sure to become favorites.”
A secondary benefit is the overall remodeling that will come along with the re-routed course, eventually serving residents and visitors for generations to come once the course work is implemented.
The process has included analysis of costs, course environmental enhancements and financial feasibility of the “new” golf course after its transformation. As part of Richardson’s team, National Golf Foundation Consulting, the analyst arm of the NGF, provided a golf market assessment that will further help the State form approaches to the work.