Courtesy of Weidinger Public Relations
When I saw my room at the Ritz Carlton, Lake Tahoe, I almost cried. The leather chairs with cozy throws! The overdressed and overstuffed bed! The fireplace and the dark wood, mountain-home accents!
Tears of joy, you must be thinking. But, no.
As I whipped around the sumptuous room doing a 15-minute freshen-up for dinner, I calculated that I would be back in the room around 10 p.m. and back in the car at 6 a.m. to make a 7 a.m. tee time at Gray’s Crossing. My eyes, I figured, would have maybe an hour open to take in the glories of my inviting accommodations. Waaaahhh, a crying shame.
But that’s the grueling, exhausting and often frustrating world of the press trip, where media folk embark on whirlwind itineraries to see everything so that they can tailor a story to fit their readers.
This one, the annual Golf the High Sierra Media Tour, annually draws a couple of dozen media types for a scant week to explore four diverse but uniquely appealing regions – Reno, Truckee and the North Shore of Tahoe, Genoa and the South Shore of Tahoe, and a little known region north of Truckee broadly referred to as Plumas County or Graeagle (pronounced “Gray Eagle”).
And that’s a lot of ground to cover, even with a week under the fearless direction of the public relations firm of keeper-of-the-clock Phil Weidinger. His client group of golf course, hotel and restaurant owners doesn’t want us to miss a gourmet crumb, and so Weidinger and team customize itineraries to cover as many fairways, greens, plates and sheets as possible.
I’ve taken the tour wearing several different hats – as golf writer for the San Francisco Examiner, as co-author of “Northern California Golf Getaways,” as real estate reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle. Most years the itinerary mandates golf twice on most days, a round after checking out of the night’s hotel and another round before checking into the next night’s hotel.
My friends roll their eyes and say, “You poor thing.” But by the end of the week, I can’t remember my room number because I’ve had a different one six nights in a row. By the end of the week, I’ve lost a club’s distance because my legs have vacated the golf swing.
This year, however, I made the tour for GottaGoGolf. And I pointed out, women generally want their golf vacations served with a side dish of other activities. Most women do not pack cigars for 36 holes a day – most are happy with 18 holes, many with nine, and can do without cigars altogether.
So for the first time, I played just 18 a day except for the must-make Genoa-Edgewood double toward the end of the week. (Readers, I wouldn’t miss a chance to play either of those courses, even if I had to play them both on a rainy day.) I got a boat ride to Emerald Bay, a minor-league baseball game between the Reno Aces and the Salt Lake Bees, along with an authentic Basque dinner and a soak in 150-year-old hot springs.