GENOA, Nev. -- The Ranch Course at Genoa Lakes splashes water in your face, then climbs to dizzying heights, all with 300 feet of elevation change in between. It's this tale of two nines that makes the John Harbottle III/Johnny Miller design so interesting to play.
The 7,290-yard course opened in 1998 as the Sierra Nevada Golf Ranch. It has recovered nicely from a brief closure several years ago. The front nine roams across flat fairways lined with wetlands and ponds. The short, drivable, par-4 fifth hole and the scenic, par-3 eighth hole are the best of this bunch.
The par 4s at no. 10 and no. 11 climb uphill so the layout can cross under the main road. The next six holes fly high on a ridge with great vistas of what seems like the entire Carson Valley.
One piece of advice: If you hit driver on the thrilling, 318-yard 13th hole, aim at the bunker to the right of the green. The ball will kick toward the green. The lay of the land and some man-made mounding create similar kick points on other holes that only regulars know how to use.
"I call it contour golf," Head Golf Professional Chris Detsch said. "You get some interesting rolls."
The drop-shot 16th hole, a 167-yard par 3, overlooks the whole property and Job's Peak, which was packed with snow in June when I played.
Golf Advisor users tend to reward the budget-friendly Ranch Course four and five stars. In his five-star review, Woody6668428 called it "awesome," writing, "If you haven't played there, you're missing out."