Clear Creek Adds a New WOW to Golfing Communities
By Simon Hudson Endowed Chair in Tourism & Hospitality, University of South Carolina | July 15, 2018
According to the National Golf Foundation, a high of 30.6 million golfers in the U.S. in 2003 had been reduced to 23.8 million by 2016. In particular, the number of golfers between ages 18 and 34 has declined by 30 percent over the past 20 years. The ultimate result is that more than 800 courses across America have closed in a decade. Some of these courses have become housing developments, others parks, and a few landowners have taken advantage of tax breaks by donating their properties to nature trusts.
Today, with the number of millennials surpassing baby boomers, golf clubs and country clubs are in search of how to appeal to younger generations. Existing and new golf facilities therefore have to be creative to attract new members. On a recent visit to Heavenly in Lake Tahoe, I dropped in at Clear Creek Tahoe, a five-star golf community in Clear Creek, Nevada, that is focusing on amenities and hospitality to woo new members. I wasn't there to play golf – although the course (designed by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw) was snow-free – but more to check out the progress on the 2,136-acre scenic Sierra setting before moving on to Twin Pines, Clear Creek Tahoe's private Twin Pines Lake & Ski House on the shores of South Lake Tahoe.
Clear Creek Tahoe is located on the eastern slope of the Carson Range – a spur of the Sierra Nevada Mountains - between Lake Tahoe and the Carson Valley. Located about 20 minutes from both Incline Village and South Lake Tahoe, the development is in close proximity to modern conveniences, Reno-Tahoe International Airport, major businesses, entertainment and healthcare. The golf community was originally conceived at the wrong time just before the U.S. economy dived into the Great Recession. The club barely opened, ceasing operation in 2011. In 2013, a private investing group resurrected the property ploughing more than $21 million into the development.
In 2016, the golf membership program started up, and to date the club has over 100 members. Shortly after, Clear Creek Tahoe welcomed its first property owners, quickly becoming an authentic Tahoe destination for families and friends to gather. The homesites at Clear Creek Tahoe are as dramatic and diverse as the land itself, offering a variety of spectacular views and settings. Homes can sit on a sloping hillside near the golf course, be nestled in the trees, or overlook the majestic Carson Valley. At full buildout, Clear Creek Tahoe will offer 391 homesites ranging primarily from 1/2 to almost 2-acres parcels, while a dozen or so lots of up to five-acre plots will also be featured.
Attracting buyers from the Bay Area, additional areas of California, Texas, and as far afield as China and Japan, around 55 lots have already been snapped up. Five huge homes are under construction with amazing views of the Sierra Nevada mountains. Additionally, there are two cute fairway cabins ready for guests to stay in, comprised of four 800-square-feet, one-bedroom suites. Each suite was designed to embody a custom theme. The suites can be rented out on a nightly basis by owners, members and/or guests of the club. Members and residents can also enjoy three on-site hiking trails, private access to fishing on the West Walker River near Topaz Lake and listen to concerts at the event lawn. "Golf is an amenity, but we want to make a four-season lifestyle," said General Manager Franck Savoy, who joined the company from Disneyland Paris.
The current clubhouse has a pro shop, restaurant and outdoor patio, which will eventually be supplanted by an even grander clubhouse. Slated to open in summer 2018 is the Family Recreation Centre, known as Summit Camp, which was conceived to be a gathering place for members, their families and guests, as well as kids of all ages. It will feature a resort-style pool and hot tub, a water slide crafted from massive 100-year old timbers reclaimed from the property's adjoining ranch, three Har-Tru tennis courts, basketball and pickleball courts, a game deck, fire pits, grille service, locker rooms and showers, and activities for the entire family.