Timilick Tahoe opening affords 18 more holes to golf | SierraSun.com

Timilick Tahoe opening affords 18 more holes to golf

Seth Lightcap
Sierra Sun
Seth Lightcap/Sierra SunJeff Weidel of Rocklin tees off on the second hole at Timilick Tahoe on Saturday " the course's opening day.
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To the delight of members and investors, Timilick Tahoe debuted the cornerstone of its development Saturday ” an 18-hole championship golf course designed by World Golf Hall of Famer and PGA commentator Johnny Miller and golf course architect John Harbottle III.

While the 18 at the new private golf community brought the hole tally in Martis Valley alone to a whopping 117, the designers of Timilick Tahoe feel their “links”-style course is anything but ordinary.

“Timilick is the best site I’ve had the opportunity to work with,” Harbottle said while touring the course Saturday. “It’s a real pleasant place to play.”

As the foundation of what is slated to be a country club-style residential community, Miller and Harbottle laid out the course with the residents in mind.

“Our goal was to build a members course,” said Harbottle. “Something the regular member would enjoy playing time and again. I think they are really going to like it.”

Timilick Tahoe President and Managing Developer Mark Richardson felt Harbottle’s assessment was right on track.

“We’re really pleased with how the course worked out,” said Richardson. “The meadow nine and the mountain nine make a course that’s playable for novice and expert.”

The meadow nine and mountain nine that Richardson refers to describe the bipolar character of the course. The front nine rambles through open pine meadows with little change in elevation while the back nine ramps up onto sloping terrain before dramatically cascading off the hillside on the 17th hole. Hole difficulty generally mimics the landscape, as Harbottle noted: “The front nine you might call the friendly nine. The back nine steps up a notch.”

Though all the holes have extensive bunkers and sand traps guarding the greens, six of the holes have greens adjacent to ponds. These water hazards contribute significantly to both the serenity and challenge of the course.

Of the new holes, Harbottle felt 16, 17 and 18 were sure to be some of the course favorites. He described 16 as a throwback to an early American design, a very short par 3 with a postage stamp-sized green.

Seventeen is a mid-length par 4 that drops away nearly 200 feet before ending at a green tucked between a pond featuring a sculpted waterfall and a cart bridge with a “bear” cave built underneath it. According to Harbottle, a bear had been living close to the hole during construction, so they built the cave as a gesture to the animal.

The course finishes with a 600-yard par 5 whose fairways sweep to and fro across a creek before arriving at a green guarded by bunkers and a lurking pond.

Cruising the course’s windy, one-lane cart paths, Harbottle could not help but continue to wax poetic about the new course.

“It’s spectacular,” said Harbottle. “Hitting tee shots over valleys, some uphill, some down hill, some sidehill. Great mixture of lengths. No particular game is rewarded. It’s a true shot makers golf course.”

With 117 fairways and greens in the ecologically sensitive Martis Valley, Timilick Tahoe is trying to make sure that its course maintenance treads lightly on the ecosystem and watershed.

To reduce water consumption, Timilick’s irrigation system has “single-head” control, meaning each sprinkler can be turned on and off individually. Such a system allows greenskeepers to isolate areas of the fairway for watering without flooding sections that don’t need it, saving 30 to 35 percent of water consumption if implemented properly, said Harbottle.

In addition to the irrigation savings, the sloped layout of the back nine draws most excess ground water from the later holes into a low-lying collection pond for recycling.

To juice up the lawns early in the season Timilick will use chemical fertilizers, but the goal will be to use as much organic fertilizer as they can for upkeep.

“We’re hoping to keep good color using as little chemical fertilizer as possible to achieve it,” said John Heldman, Timilick’s golf course superintendent.

Timilick Tahoe has no plans to open the course for public play. Unlike many other gated golf communities, however, Timilick does not require real estate ownership to become a member.

Prior to the completion of the new 25,000-square-foot Blackrock Clubhouse, golf memberships start at $60,000, said Richardson. Upon finishing the clubhouse, the membership price will jump to $75,000. Memberships will be capped at 400.

Purchasing a town home or home site in Timilick is the other obvious way to get on the new course. Those interested in real estate opportunities should note that the first phase of townhomes and home sites are selling rather briskly for the current market.

“Approximately 80 percent of the 47 luxury home sites and 50 percent of the three- to four-bedroom townhomes in Phase I are sold,” said Richardson.

Phase II of development will begin selling this summer with 44 home sites and 56 townhomes available. In total, the 475-acre property, of which 290 acres are set aside as open space (181 acres undeveloped and 115 acres recreational), will include 406 residential units within five years.