The journey ended, the wind still blew and I dragged myself off the 18th green at Edgewood Tahoe.
I used to think this was recreation, but after 54 holes in 2½ days, I felt joints and muscles that required a personal inventory.
Then again, it's Edgewood Tahoe, one of the most gorgeous inland courses in the world. We saved the best for last. It was worth the pain.
My annual summer golf trip again was a whirlwind, but aching bones aside failed to disappoint. All five courses are featured in golfthehighsierra.com, where golf vacations are customized for all families and groups.
These golf addresses send you into the high desert, alongside beautiful lakes and through deep pine forests. The scenery is glorious, the weather is unpredictable and the golf is challenging.
SOMERSETT CC Tom Kite, the golfer, often beat more gifted athletes. Tom Kite, the architect, demands that you beat his bunkers and water. He designed 62 white-faced sand bunkers and seven lakes to negotiate at the private club tucked into the hills of northwest Reno.
Plan for many elevation changes, which provide panoramic views of the Nevada high desert. Somersett is no snap with the wind pounding into your face, but the landing areas off the tee are generous.
The head professional is Rocklin-raised Stuart Smith, who as a kid nearly won the 1979 Bumgardner Junior Memorial at Del Rio CC. Smith remembered how he shot 1-under-par 143 for two days only to lose in a playoff to Joe Tamburino of San Jose.
WOLF RUN Wolf Run, the home course for the University of Nevada men's and women's teams, blends neatly into the Reno landscape with its scrub brush and native flora bordering all holes.
The wind howled at about 20 mph, and I asked a club employee if that was unusual. "It blows like this about six out of seven days," he deadpanned.
Worry not. Select your teeing areas carefully. Wolf Run can be stretched from 5,100 to 7,100 yards, which is all the golf you want.
Green fees vary from $55 Monday through Thursday to $65 on Fridays and the weekend.
SILVER OAK Play two courses in one at Silver Oak, nestled against the Sierra Nevada mountains in Carson City.
The front nine climbs straight up and into the hills, where two testy little par-3s await at the course's highest point. The back nine offers flat terrain, though it's not easy. The locals like Silver Oak. It's been voted the best public golf course in the Carson City-Douglas area for six straight years.
Tee it up at Silver Oak for $50.
DAYTON VALLEY A 30-minute car ride east of Carson City brings you to Dayton Valley, a stout Arnold Palmer creation.
Often a venue for U.S. Open Local qualifying, Dayton Valley can play relatively nominal in the morning. But when the wind cranks up, it's a beast. The all-carry par-3 16th, a 248-yard brute from the tips, is memorable.
The green fees are reasonable $40 from Sunday through Thursday and $45 on Friday and Saturday. Both rates include cart.
EDGEWOOD TAHOE Edgewood, a regular on Golf Digest's annual list of the nation's top courses, remains a favorite. Some recent rerouting of holes has improved the George Fazio design, the home over the years for events such as the U.S. Publick Link (1980), the U.S. Senior Open (1985) and the ongoing American Century Celebrity Championships.
For scenery alone, it's difficult to top Edgewood's closing holes the par-5 16th with its sentinel pine in the middle of the fairway, the par-3 17th alongside the southern Lake Tahoe shores, and the par-5 18th.
The fees are pricey $220 during the week and $240 on the weekends, but there are twilight rates.
THE SHAG BAG Ian Stogdell of Oakdale continued his recent hot run with an overall victory Tuesday at the Turlock Country Club Junior. Stogdell ran away with the title with rounds of 69 and 67 for 8-under-par 136. Both he and girls champion Camille Orito of Fresno received $500 scholarships for their victories, thanks to funds raised by head pro Doug Hanson's 108-holes-in-one-day marathon. See Scoreboard on Page C-5 for more Turlock Junior scores. ...
Ripon's Andrew Bonner tied for 12th overall (72-70-72) but helped the Northern California team to its second straight title at the 40th annual Boys Junior America's Cup. It was contested this year at BanBury, Idaho. ... Mabel Wong of Oakdale (77-69-73) tied for 10th and led her team to a sixth-place finish at the Girls Junior America's Cup staged at Wailea's Gold course in Maui.
HOLES-IN-ONE Sherman Turner, Escalon, 71-yard third at Escalon, pitching wedge. ... Carla New, Escalon, 80-yard second at Escalon, pitching wedge.
Bee staff writer Ron Agostini can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (209) 578-2302.