The Nevada real estate crash has opened a top private course to the rest of us

The superb Gray's Crossing, just west of Reno.
Chris Talbot

The Golf Club at Gray's Crossing
Truckee, California
$100-$185
7,466 yards, par 72
530-550-5800
grayscrossinggolf.com

It might be cold comfort to the Donner Party, but the rest of us now have a reason to give thanks for hardships in the Sierra Nevadas: the sluggish real estate market here has opened the doors of one of Lake Tahoe's top private courses, the Golf Club at Gray's Crossing.

A sister course to the Jack Nicklaus-designed Old Greenwood, Gray's Crossing is a three-year-old Peter Jacobsen/Jim Hardy creation 40 minutes west of Reno. At 6,500 feet, it offers plenty of opportunities to smack oversized drives amid panoramic vistas, but be warned: stray shots will perish in the towering pines and wetlands that frame the fairways. The tumbling terrain includes two driveable par-4s: the 6th, which plummets almost 100 feet to the green, and the 14th, which plays uphill. Just how reachable is the sixth? During the course opening in 2007, not only did both Jacobsen and Hardy drive the green, but so did guest Annika Sorenstam and Matt Grieser. Matt who? He's "Sign Boy" from the FootJoy commercials. Like we said, playable for all, whatever your talent level.

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