Old Brockway celebrates 100 Years

Old Brockway Golf Course. | Katherine E. Hill.

On an early May spring morning, the greens are vibrant and glistening on Old Brockway. The Kings Beach golf course is always the first to open and the last to close, something that owner Lane Lewis prides himself on.

“April 18th was our opening day, and everything came out absolutely gorgeous,” Lewis says with a smile. “When you have 100-year-old roots, the recovery period of the course is much better. Everyone drives by this and can’t believe how green this is.”

Lewis shows off the beautiful, rock pedestrian bridge on the ninth hole that mimics the SwilcanBridge at Old Course Golf Resort in St. Andrews, Scotland; it pays homage to Old Brockway’s100th year. Considering Old Brockway was designed by renowned Scottish architect John Duncan Dunn back in 1924, it’s a nice addition to its original layout.

Since 1924, this golf course has been in two families. Lewis’s dad Morgan bought it in 1978 when it was just remnants of the original Harry Comstock estate. Old Brockway was added as an amenity to the emerging development, but back then it was just a patch of land that they nicknamed “Rockway.”

In 1978, the Lewis family bought Old Brockway and it has remained in their hands ever since. Lane Lewis started managing the course when he was 24 years old and Old Brockway holds the record for being the longest continuously owned business in North Lake Tahoe, as well as one of the oldest family-owned golf courses in the region.

Two of his four sons are primed to take over management of it when he retires; currently his son Colin is the head golf professional and Kyle will be the operations manager. Golf course superintendent Dave Laurie has also been a mainstay at Old Brockway for the last 33 years.

“He refers to his job as taking care of the old lady,” Lewis says.

Old Brockway has certainly had its ups and downs throughout the years but has held a solid reputation. Bing Crosby and Bob Hope played at Old Brockway in 1934 and 1935 and it became the home of the original Crosby Golf Tournament. Over the next several decades, golf professionals such as Tiger Woods, Annika Sorenstam and Patty Sheehan would also play the course.

The popular Spindleshanks restaurant moved to Old Brockway in 2014 and Lane says it’s one of the best things that’s ever happened to the course.

“Millennials are coming into their prime earning years and they want quick and quality experiences,” Lewis says. “And Old Brockway combines a great dining experience with great golf.”

Old Brockway incorporated a new pro shop in 2016; ironically, the Covid pandemic in 2020 was a boon to the golf industry — and the course.

“We were the only course open for a couple of weeks west of Salt Lake City. We couldn’t handle what we had coming in and had to space everything out (due to social distancing protocols). We used to have 8-to 9-minute start times but now we have 12-minute start times. It’s less tee times but it creates a better golf experience,” Lewis says.

When playing Old Brockway, it’s also nice to see the flora and fauna that thrive there, thanks to it being an Audubon sanctuary.

“We were the first nine-hole course in the region to obtain that designation; we’re proud of that. We’re managing this ecosystem the best way we can. We clean the water runoff and do restoration. All our fertilizers are organic and we let the non-mow zone grow up. Coyotes, bearsand red-tailed hawks are always hanging out here.

“We’ve been introducing new wildflower areas and in the late 90s we built seven acres of artificial wetlands to help with the drainage and uptake of nitrogen going into the lake. We treat the Highway 267 and Safeway runoffs in our ponds,” Lewis says. “People don’t think of a golf course being a natural filtration area, but we have to protect that lake. That’s our number one priority. Everyone tells us what a beautiful feeling it is to be on the back nine.”

The seventh and fourth holes are the two par 5s that could be considered its signature holes, but according to Lewis, every hole is unique.

Looking toward the future of Old Brockway, Lewis says: “I was blessed that I was able to raise our four sons here with my wife, Helen. I totally enjoy what I do. It’s like they say, ‘Like what you do and you’ll never work a day in your life.’ I see the golf course evolving every day and the little details that make this place special. I’ve been here for 44 years and to watch this course evolve over the years and make it a Top 10 nine-hole course — only one of two in the nation west of the Mississippi — I’m proud of that.” | oldbrockway.com

Tahoe’s Historic Courses

Bijou | Opened 1920

Glenbrook | Opened 1927

Old Brockway | Opened 1924

Tahoe City | Opened 1917