Gary Nicklaus in familiar territory | NevadaAppeal.com

Gary Nicklaus in familiar territory

Marty Greenstein

RENO — Gary Nicklaus will be facing a familiar opponent when he and 131 other players begin the 4th annual Reno-Tahoe Open on Thursday.

The tournament’s host course at Montreaux Golf and Country Club was designed by Nicklaus’ father, all-time great Jack.

Gary has played numerous tournaments on golf courses that his father has designed, and, not surpisingly, he likes his father’s work.

“Fortunately, we get to play on quite a few courses he has designed,” he said. “He has done a pretty good job on pretty much all of them, and because of that you get a lot of people who want to play tournaments on them. It’s nice. It’s good for the game; it’s good for me; and it’s good for him.”

Gary is impressed with Montreaux, a course recognized as one of his dad’s finest.

“It’s a really nice golf course,” he said. “It’s a long course too. The altitude makes it not play as long as the yardage is, but it’s a good strong golf course.”

Having such a familiar course designer, Gary thinks it can help him with the upcoming tournament.

“Knowing how he thinks when he’s designing golf courses and what he’s trying to do makes it a little easier to think my way around a course that he has designed,” he said. “You know where he’s trying to make you hit the ball, and if you hit it where he’s trying to make you hit it, you’re going to be in trouble.”

Occasionally Jack gives Gary advice before he plays a dad-designed course, but Gary didn’t get any lessons on how to play the tricky Montreaux.

Gary figured just how crafty his dad could be two years ago at the RTO, when he missed the cut.

Now, after getting a good look at the course, he’s confident he could improve upon his last perfomance at Montreaux.

“Last time I came here I wasn’t playing very well,” he said. “I’m playing pretty good right now. I should have a better effort than I did last time.”

It’s no wonder then that Gary’s answer to who he thought was the favorite to win the tournament was himself.

His father’s course might have another answer for him.

“Fore” the kids: The big event at Montreaux on Tuesday was a Junior Golf Clinic that an estimated 450 kids from the Reno-Tahoe area participated in. The clinic, which was put on by the Fred and Judy Alexander Foundation, was completely free and offered a variety of golf instruction. RTO players Aaron Baddeley and Garrett Willis participated in an exhibtion for the children, and then the Sierra Nevada chapter of the Northern California PGA gave lessons ranging from driving to putting to sand shots. Every kid received a free lunch, t-shirt, and a fanny pack filled with golf balls and other accessories. Also, if any child didn’t have a golf club, they received one for free. The same foundation also put on the clinic at Silver Oaks Golf Course last month.

Tomorrow: There will be a Celebrity Pro-Am at Montreaux. RTO players and amatuers will be able to test out the course one day before official play begins.