A Non-Golfer's Guide to Carson's Golf Courses

By Keith Rugg | Monday, June 22, 2020
golf ball on tee and golf club

I’ve only been golfing twice in my life, despite living in places where people come from all around the country to do just that. And I can’t deny the appeal of the sport. I mean, a chance to get out in the fresh air for a long walk in the grass, hanging out with a few friends and to top it all off, getting some exercise in. Given the times in which we live, it lends itself to being an activity that allows for social-distancing protocols without too much adaptation. So, if you’ve been itching to get out on the course, here are some of the local options available to you. As I mentioned, my skill set doesn’t include golf per se, but I can give a pretty good idea of these courses from the layman’s look-at-the-pretty-scenery viewpoint. Image at left: Pixabay, Heung Soon.

Empire Ranch is a beautiful facility that takes advantage of its location to present incredible views of the valley, from the surrounding hills to the riparian vibrance of the Carson River itself. As an added bonus, it ties into a part of the area’s history that really doesn’t get much attention. All of this makes the place a nice choice for events such as wedding receptions and banquets in addition to the main focus on golf.

golfer hitting ball down wooded courseThe Silver Oak course offers views from a different perspective but just as stunning. From the foothills out toward the college on the northwest side of town, it offers a panoramic vision of the city. When you come in or out of Carson City by way of Washoe Valley, this is the eye-catching patch of green that you see set into the high-desert landscape off toward the Carson Range. Photo at right: Wikimedia Commons.

And over on the other side of the north end of town is Eagle Valley with the East Course and West Course both offering 18 holes. The views here don’t take in quite as much of the valley, but adjacent to the Centennial Park complex, it allows you to get a feel for how we really do co-exist with a stunning natural environment here in Northern Nevada.

Up in the Washoe Valley, the course some people might remember as the Thunder Canyon Golf Club and what us old-timers can recall as the Golf Club at Lightning W Ranch is now known as the Toiyabe Golf Club, off on the mountainside of the freeway. Set off from everything as it is and with views of hills to the east and mountains to the west, this facility does make for a nice setting for special events.

At the south end of town, in the Indian Hills area, you’ll find Sunridge Golf tucked between the highway, and it makes for a picture-perfect view up the Carson Valley. In addition to golf, there are other activities available here including archery, hatchet throwing and bounce houses. Along with updating the courses and facilities, it’s all part of the new (as of 2018) owners’ plan to really make this business a fun destination spot for the area.

golf ball on tee in grassHeading even farther south and hugging the foothills on the west side of Carson Valley is the Genoa Lakes Golf Club. Genoa itself already has the cachet of being a historical and quaint little getaway spot, so when you add a Lakes Course and a Ranch Course of golf to the whole mix as it overlooks the valley, there’s not much more that needs to be said. Photo at left: Pixabay, Heung Soon.

And at the south end of Gardnerville is a local’s favorite, the Carson Valley Golf Course. This one makes for a nice day by the river and has been known as a friendly and affordable golf course for more than half a century. Being tucked down away from Highway 50 and away from the Tahoe and Reno routes, this longtime family-owned course could be thought of as one of those hidden gems you're always hearing about.

If all of this has inspired you to get out and about and you want to include one of these courses on your itinerary, be sure to check with them on the current rules and regulations as well as what services or amenities they have up and running.

About the Author Keith Rugg
R. Keith Rugg has worked on staff for a number of local publications, including Lake Tahoe Action Magazine, the Tahoe Daily Tribune and the Reno Gazette-Journal.