Old Greenwood’s Golden opening | SierraSun.com

Old Greenwood’s Golden opening

Matt BrownSierra Sun sports editor

Photo by Josh Miller/Sierra SunNicklaus, 64, reminds an inspired crowd of his legendary swing on Hole 5 of the Inaugural Round.

Before he teed off for the inaugural round of golf at the course he helped design, Jack Nicklaus was asked what his vision of Old Greenwood was before it became a reality on Aug. 30.Trees, was the first thing that came to his mind, Nicklaus said, eliciting laughter that kicked off a morning press conference at the Pavilion clubhouse. Northstar and a valley, a highway and an opportunity.Now that he has seen the finished product, the famous golfer talked about what he thought. And again he mentioned trees.The piece of property is loaded with trees that shield the highway. Its got some great views. The golf course really stands on its own two feet; its so pretty, he said.Trees are a main ingredient in the Old Greenwood blend of mountainous beauty and secluded forest, setting it apart from many of the 166 Nicklaus Design courses open for play in the United States. The course, which sits on 600 acres just off Interstate 80 in Truckee at an elevation of 6,000 feet, will play up to 7,542 yards. That may seem like a lot, but it was one way Nicklaus tried to appeal to the amateur golfer.You really need to get some yardage on the golf course to make it playable, said the 64-year-old golden deity. You try to balance the course as much as you can without forcing it on the property.Old Greenwood included, Nicklaus said his more recent design strategy is to provide courses that accommodate the membership, rather than to make it extremely challenging to the average golfer. But Nicklaus vision is also about making sure everyone involved is satisfied.My definition of a good golf course is one that services the owner, that services the developer, sells the real estate and makes people happy to come here, he said. If the golf course is there and no one will play it and no one wants to buy a house, what in the world are you going to do with it?

The first part of Mondays press conference featured an interview by professional golfer Peter Jacobsen. Jacobsen, a 28-year PGA veteran, told the crowd he had known Nicklaus for many years and was impressed by his devotion to a family that includes five children and 17 grandchildren.At the end of the day, you can make doubles, you can make eagles, you can win tournaments, you can lose tournaments, but the bottom line is the support youve received from your family, and I dont think anyones done it quite like you, Jacobsen said to Nicklaus.Jacobsen will design the next big golf course project in North Tahoe Grays Crossing, which will be located on the north side of I-80 opposite Old Greenwood.Nicklaus played the inaugural round with his son Jack Nicklaus II, who serves as president of the Nicklaus Design firm. Although he was not directly involved in the design of Old Greenwood, it didnt stop him from playing with his father and making his first trip to the Tahoe area.I just happened to be on the trip, Nicklaus II said. He asked me to open the course with him, and its fun to do that. Its always fun to be able to tee it up and play with dad on a golf course thats so nicely conditioned.The developer of Old Greenwood is East West Partners, which will also head up the Grays Crossing project. Senior partner Blake Riva spoke about Old Greenwoods role in Tahoe as a new year-round resort destination.I think its good for the entire area, he said. I think Tahoe is certainly the true four-season resort experience, and while winters very popular with the skiing, summers equally as important. I think to have a world-class golf course up at Old Greenwood where people can come up and enjoy it while they spend time near Tahoe, its good for the entire region.Riva also said that all 99 custom homesite lots have been sold for an average price of $350,000, but single-family homes, townhomes and luxury cabins are under construction and currently available for co-ownership.[For more information, visit http://www.oldgreenwood.com or call (530) 550-0844. For more information about Nicklaus Design, visit http://www.nicklaus.com/design.%5D

Old Greenwood is the 16th Nicklaus Design golf course in California, but it is the first Jack Nicklaus Signature Course in North Lake Tahoe.The signature course designation means the winner of 20 Major titles gives his attention to every aspect of the courses design and development.The expansion of Nicklaus Design does not stop in the United States. Nicklaus Design, in which all of Nicklaus four sons play some role in the business, now has courses open in 22 countries outside the U.S., with the most (24) in Japan. Seventy-seven different Nicklaus Design courses have hosted professional golf tour events.