THE TIME IS NOW For The Ranch to shine
Nevada State Net Amateur at Genoa Lakes, July 6-8
U.S. Amateur Qualifier at Genoa Lakes, July 10
Northern Nevada Amateur at Genoa Ranch, Aug. 5-6
This was indeed a challenging winter for the Genoa Lakes Golf Club.
Due to a record amount of rain and snowfall, not to mention floods in January and February, the Lakes Course was closed from December until the first week of April to allow for recovery work. In the meantime, however, that also opened up an opportunity for the area’s golf community to get a closer look at the other half of the dual club operation at Genoa Lakes.
That explains why Chris Detsch flashed a wide grin when asked about entering his third year as head golf professional at The Ranch Course at Genoa Lakes.
“The Ranch got hit a little bit, but not as hard, thankfully,” Detsch said, referring to the harsh winter. “With our elevation changes and our sloping, we did get some runoff damage. A lot of it was superficial, but we were able to get it cleaned up. The nice part about that is it gave us an opportunity to thrive for awhile.
“This course, in the past, has always been the one that got closed,” he continued. “But now, with the Lakes being closed, it’s time for the Ranch to shine.”
The two courses offer “unique experiences” right next to each other. Both have their own strengths and identities, he went on to explain.
“You have two 18-hole championship facilities that are three miles apart,” Detsch said. “The character between the two is very special and very unique in their own way.”
The Lakes Course was co-designed by Peter Jacobsen and John Harbottle III and built in 1993. Johnny Miller and Harbottle co-designed The Ranch Course, which opened in 1998.
“Genoa Lakes has got water on 14 of the 18 holes. It’s more of your traditional country club style — fairways, greens, a little bit more wide open, a little bit more forgiving — you’ve got deer and wildlife walking around,” Detsch said.
“Then, when you come out to The Ranch Course, you’ve got a 400-foot elevation change. Some of the vistas from up top looking down on the Valley floor are fantastic. You’ve got fairway and sagebrush. I call it contour golf out here because if you hit the ball a little left or a little right, sometimes you get the kick into the middle of the fairway, sometimes you get the unfortunate kick where it bumps you into the sagebrush. But those are the neat things and the character that we have out at the Ranch.”
Detsch grew up in the San Diego area and moved to Lake Tahoe’s South Shore two decades ago to pursue what were then his true loves — skateboarding and snowboarding. In time, he looked to another sport to earn some income during the summer months and began work at the Lake Tahoe Golf Course, which led to another job at Edgewood Tahoe.
“I started improving at the game and enjoying it,” he recalled. “The next thing you know, I married and decided to move up in my career, so I joined the PGA as an apprentice.”
Detsch then commuted four years between Carson Valley and Reno, where he finished his apprenticeship at Hidden Valley Country Club under its director of golf and general manager, Ward Sutton. He started as head pro at The Ranch on July 1, 2015.
“When I was working in the summertime at Edgewood, that’s when it really hit me,” Detsch said. “I made this transition from the winter sports and being a snowboarder and just being a cart guy and caddy, to turning the game that had started to grow on me and fell in love with and turning it into a career. And here I am.”
Carson Valley offers a much different view from San Diego.
“I love seeing the hawks out here and we’ve had a lot of deer recently,” Detsch said.
Golfers who are already familiar with The Ranch Course can expect to see some upgrades. Detsch pointed out that the theme is designed to blend with the historic town of Genoa and to fit with the surrounding ranch and farm land, right down to the horseshoes on the new tee markers.
“We have new tee markers coming out and new signage that is going to be all wood,” he said. “My assistant Charlie Serafine and myself, we have done everything from scratch. It’s all wood, actually reclaimed wood we took from the original property, built the signs and then we routed them out and painted and stained and every single sign, every hole, every directional marker, everything is going to be ranch-themed and more uniform to the Ranch.”
Furthermore, there are new flags with a specific Ranch Course design and golfers are going to have more options available when they step up to the tee boxes.
“I’ve added a fifth tee box, which is the purple tees, or the royal tees,” Detsch said. “Currently, our forward tees are just over 52 and our blues are 62, so there’s a 1,000-yard difference between our men’s and ladies tees and our second tees. So we created the royal tees, which will be about 5,700 or 5,800 yards; they’re going to be more for our more experienced and aged gentlemen and for our lower handicapped women. It gives them an opportunity to move it up a little bit and enjoy the game a little bit more.”
No doubt, Detsch has good reason to be optimistic about prospects at The Ranch moving forward.
“I have a four-year plan,” he said. “I think we’re doing really good; my staff understands the goal and vision that I have and they support me. And I think if we continue to grow, it’s only going to get better and better. I’m excited to be part of it and look forward to one day when we’re going to look back on everything we’ve done and we’re going to be able to smile.”