Tranquility in Truckee
The Golf Club at Gray’s Crossing Opens to Rave Reviews
by Mark Soltau
What if you could play a course that embraces the traditional values of the game, has an exceptional staff trained to maximize the potential in every member, and happens to be located in one of the prettiest places on earth? Welcome to The Golf Club at Gray’s Crossing.
Opened in May of 2007, this new private Peter Jacobsen-Jim Hardy gem is already drawing rave reviews. “Basically, we wanted to develop a big club membership,” said General Manager Dirk Skillicorn. “This property is phenomenal. It’s just a beautiful setting.”
Utilizing the experience and creativity of Jacobsen, a former PGA Tour standout and current Champions Tour regular, and Hardy, an innovative and respected PGA Tour instructor, The Tahoe Mountain Club envisioned a fresh, exciting course that would promote old-style shot-making values and test the skills of high and low-handicappers alike. Jacobsen and Hardy were able to accomplish that goal by designing five sets of tees ranging from 7,446 yards from the back tees to 5,030 yards from the forward markers.
“We had a great piece of property,” said Jacobsen, who has worked with Hardy on almost a dozen projects. “We tried to incorporate all that’s natural and not get in the way of the land.”
The Golf Club at Gray’s Crossing, set among majestic Lodgepole and Jeffrey Pines near North Lake Tahoe in Truckee, offers expansive views of Mt. Rose and the Sierra Nevada Mountain ranges. The course features gradual elevation changes and meanders through native wetlands and wild flowers. Fairways are tight yet accommodating, and 83 strategically-placed bunkers keep you focused. Water comes into play on three holes.
Many holes on the 620-acre site offer risk-and-reward opportunities. The wide variety of shot options is what separates Gray’s Crossing from other courses. Most greens are open in front allowing players to hit the ball in low or high, depending on your comfort level, preference and ability. In addition, bail-out and chipping areas have been created, and in most cases the terrain feeds the ball toward the green. Green complexes are relatively small and flat, which will allow for higher speeds.
“We really took our time designing the course,” Jacobsen said. “There are forced carries, bump-and-run shots and short par-5s. It’s a real nice blend.”
The entire course was sodded and features 6-Way Blend Kentucky Blue Grass on tees, fairways and rough, and Dominant Extreme Creeping 2-Way Blend Bentgrass on the greens. Superintendent Mike Cornette has done a masterful job preparing the course for membership play.
Regulars like the change of pace at Gray’s Crossing, where the front nine boasts undulation and movement, while the back nine is flatter and more traditional. The bottom line: Jacobsen and Hardy want you to be able to play your own game and be rewarded for good shots.
“We didn’t put a lot of humps and bumps that look like they didn’t fit,” said Jacobsen. “If it looks like golf, put it there. That’s what Jim and I try to do.”
The last five holes have become immediate favorites. From the middle tees, the par-4 14th measures 302 yards but has water along the right side of the fairway and a cluster of bunkers along the left. Jacobsen tempts players to go for the green on this hole, which usually plays downwind. But a bunker also protects the right portion of the green on this fun, short hole.
The narrow, wind-aided 491-yard 15th is a dogleg left and is the shortest par-5 on the course. A large fairway bunker forces you to stay left with your second shot, and the green is flanked by a spacious bunker on the left. The terrain tilts from right-to-left and most shots will release toward the green.
The spectacular 194-yard par-3 16th is played from an elevated tee and boasts bunkers on all three sides of the green. The front bunker is actually closer to the tee than it appears. Clear it, and the ball will usually find its way to the putting surface.
Local knowledge definitely comes into play on the 395-yard par-4 17th. This is a position hole, where proper placement of the tee shot sets up an approach over native wetlands. The farther down the fairway you go, the easier the second shot and less carry you have to the green. But beware: the hole usually plays downwind, bringing the wetlands into play.
The long, par-5 18th is a challenging finishing hole that will make you earn a good score. It normally plays into the wind and has a split fairway after your tee shot. If you stay left, the hole plays longer and the third shot must be precise to a shallow green. If you gamble and safely carry the native wetlands to the right fairway, it sets up a much easier approach. It’s a fitting conclusion to a course that makes you yearn for more.
“We think it’s a wonderful member’s course,” said Skillicorn. “With five sets of tees, you can make it as tough as you want.”
The staff at The Golf Club at Gray’s Crossing will structure individual programs to help members and their children improve at their own pace. In addition to private lessons and clinics, they also offer personal fitness, physical therapy and a condensed version of Titleist’s fitness program, TPI. Heavy emphasis will be placed on physical conditioning, and members will be encouraged to use the multiple practice facilities and a state-of-the-art fitness center.
A key component of golf at Gray’s Crossing will be the caddie program. Modeled after Augusta National and Pebble Beach, the program will be designed to promote walking and enhance the overall playing experience.
The clubhouse blends seamlessly into the landscape and will feature low roof lines. Multiple indoor-outdoor buildings will service members with their every need and offer panoramic views of the surrounding area. Amenities include indoor/outdoor dining, outdoor event lawn, patios for gathering around the fire, outdoor hot tub, heated lap pool, cutting edge fitness equipment, separate men’s and women’s locker rooms, private open air sanctuary with fire pit and steam room and hot tub.
Gray’s Crossing is owned by East-West Partners. The club consists of 400 members, who also have playing privileges and special family and guest rates at nearby Coyote Moon (daily fee) and Old Greenwood (resort). The initiation fee is $150,000. Homes will be built on 10 holes with ample setbacks for privacy.
“From a real estate standpoint, it’s not intrusive,” Jacobsen said. “It’s just got a real, relaxing feel.”
For information, please call (530) 550-5800.
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Mark Soltau is the editor of tigerwoods.com and contributing writer to Golf Digest.
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