Inside Edgewood Tahoe Resort, home of the American Championship of the Century

As the cachet of the American Century has grown, Edgewood Tahoe Resort’s appeal has grown with it. A-listers want to participate.

Courtesy of Edgewood Tahoe

In golf-playing circles, there’s a widespread belief that only eight or nine players have a chance of winning this week’s American Championship of the Century, at Lake Tahoe.

And widespread agreement that Charles Barkley is not one of them. Barkley is not offended. He feels the same. (He finds this liberating.)

He knows he can party all week long, go all out on blackjack and bottle service, without rushing for the title shots he doesn’t have.

Even though he likes a drink or two or three, he says he’s never gotten drunk enough to think he can compete in that celebrity show.

Compare Barkley with a guy like multi-time American Century winner Tony Romo:

Tony Romo is among the betting favourites.

Tony Romo does not spend the sleepless night.

Tony Romo needs his restorative sleep.

And so it was this week, on the eve of the tournament’s first official tee times, that two of the biggest names in the field adopted very different tactics. As Barkley set up festive camp across the road at Harrah’s, holding court with friends and random revelers, Romo retired at a reasonable hour, laying down in high-thread count sheets in a luxury lakeside suite.

Romo wanted calm, rest and comfort.

He was lucky. There was a time when these features would have been hard to find.

The Emerald Suite at Edgewood Tahoe Resort.

Courtesy of Edgewood Tahoe

In 1968, when the Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course opened, South Lake was not known for its fancy accommodations. In 1990, when the tournament was founded, things were much the same. People came for the scenery and outdoor recreation. But they stayed in the casinos. If you wanted high end digs, your best bet was North Lake Tahoe, about 30 miles away.

Then, in 2017, Edgewood Tahoe Resort opened. Like Barkley’s swing work with Stan Utley, it was a game-changer.

Located along the water, just steps from Edgewood’s Frank Gehry-designed clubhouse, the resort is an alpine lodge, modernized and reinvented – all glass and dark wood and high ceilings, with views of postcard on its surroundings. Inside, there’s a spa, as serene as any place not created by nature; a posh Cal-Med bistro; and 154 rooms and suites, topped by a 1,500-square-foot offering they call the Presidential Suite, though its appointments may suit royalty better.

Outside, there’s a year-round pool and hot tub, which gives way to the area’s only private beach. A free s’more cart comes out in the evening, and an after-sleep cart filled with granola, tea, juice, and more comes out in the morning. Name it, you can find it. Daily yoga classes. Craft cocktails. Just not a casino. The station does not have one. It’s elevated but low-key, an escape to the mountains, far from all madness.

No wonder Romo loves the place.

A look inside the on-site Edgewood restaurant.

Courtesy of Edgewood Tahoe

Like its neighboring George Fazio-designed course, the resort sits on land owned by the Park family, whose roots in the area go back generations. Their ancestors arrived here nearly 150 years ago, pioneers turned cattle ranchers. The tournament you’re watching this weekend takes place on ancient pastures.

Keep Tahoe Blue. So goes the local slogan. The Parks took it to heart. The resort is as green as any putting surface: reusable water bottles in all rooms; agave straws in all drinks. The LEED-certified lodge is cooled by water pumped from the center of the lake.

As the cachet of the American Century grew, so did the resort’s appeal. The A-listers want in. Late afternoon this week, David Wells was hanging out in the bistro lounge, talking baseball with actor Miles Teller. Travis Kelce was training in the fitness center because even when you’re playing in a big tournament, NFL training never rests.

It has become difficult to get a room here. But the resort is taking steps to meet demand while upping the ante when it comes to elegance. Along with the 8th and 9th holes, work is nearing completion on the first in a collection of multi-bedroom Villa Suites, with the first bookings expected in the fall of this year.

Sorry Charles. Romo has already called dibs.

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A golf, food and travel writer, Josh Sens has been a GOLF Magazine contributor since 2004 and now contributes to all GOLF platforms. His work has been anthologized in The Best American Sportswriting. He is also co-author, with Sammy Hagar, of Are We Have Any Fun Yet: the Cooking and Partying Handbook.

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