NCGA Golf

Summer 2017

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Boulevard in Kings Beach. In 1924, developer and Comstock Lode heir Harry Comstock figured golf would be a dandy amenity for his nearby Brockway Hotel, so he hired noted Scottish Architect John Duncan Dunn for the design, which opened two years later. In an era before bulldozers were used to shape courses, Dunn's routing fol- lowed natural contours with narrow fair- ways flanked by towering Jeffrey and Ponderosa pines. Playing to a stout 3,362 yards from the back tees, the par-36 course has two par-5s, five par-4s and a pair of par- 3s. The short ones are perhaps the most dif- ficult, with the 3rd hole demanding a 199-yard downhill tee shot to a crowned green that cants away an even slightly er- rant shot off the front, back and both sides. The par-4 5th is a strategic test requir- ing a layup in front of a creek running across the fairway and a green guarded on the right by an enormous cedar, which can block off nearly half of the putting surface should the tee shot not favor the fairway's left side. And then there's the par-5 7th, which from the elevated tee offers a clear view of the lake through the trees. The longest hole at nearly 580 yards also has a green guarded by a creek and because of its severe back-to-front slope the approach shot must stay below the hole. Although a sporting mecca for celebri- ties from the 1930s through the 1950s, Brockway had its challenges. "When my father bought the course in 1978, everyone called it 'Rockway,'" says Lewis, who took over in 1980. In a major renovation, he got rid of the rocks, added a driving range, bocce courts, a renovated clubhouse and a restaurant that's so much more than a snack bar. Indeed, serving breakfast, lunch and din- ner, the Spindleshanks American Bistro and Wine Bar is a Tahoe destination unto itself. Its menu includes baked oysters, grid- dled rainbow trout, grilled flank steak, pork schnitzel, spicy cajun beer prawns and a mouthwatering half-pound Angus cheese- burger. And the food can be washed down by a huge collection of specialty cocktails, beer and an international selection of wines. Golf, however, is the primary draw. Golf Channel rated Old Brockway one of the top 10 nine-hole courses in the country. The quality is what's allowed the public track to prosper even as new courses such as Edgewood opened in South Lake Tahoe, followed by a number of exceptional 18- hole public, resort and private tracks appearing around Truckee, including Tahoe Donner, Martis Camp, Lahontan, Old Greenwood, Gray's Crossing, Schaf- fer's Mill and Coyote Moon. That's big-boy competition, but Old Brockway can hold its own in part thanks to a quick pace of play, where nine-hole rounds seldom exceed two hours. Regular season green fees are $40 for nine holes and $70 for 18. Local passes can be pur- chased for as little as $250. Lewis' son, Tim, is the director of marketing, making Old Brockway a three-generation family business. Old Brockway is also etched into his- tory through the small screen. "One of the opening scenes from Bonanza was filmed on the second fairway of Brockway," boasts the 59-year-old Lewis. "It was during a round on this course where the producer of I Love Lucy convinced Lucille Ball to take a shot at a television series. Dean Martin and Robert Stack played here, too." As Lewis notes, "Playing the course is like taking a step back in time." And it's where one can almost hear Bing Crosby whistling a tune. NCGA.ORG | SUMMER 2017 45 L ongtime owner Lane Lewis says t hat playing Old Brockway is "like t aking a step back in time." Hole No. 7 Old Brockway GC 400 Brassie Ave., Tahoe Vista, CA 96143 (530) 546-9909 • oldbrockwaygolf.com Rates: $40 (9 holes); $70 (18 holes); $30 (Twilight) Season: June 30 – Sept. 5 TOP. OLD BROCKWAY; LEFT, GARRY MOORE/KIWIKAMERA.COM

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