Somersett Golf and Country Club-History
Somersett is an award winning master planned golf community nestled at the base of the Sierra Nevada mountain range in West Reno. Designed by KBR Design, the team of World Golf Hall of Famer, U.S. Open Champion and Ryder Cup Captain Tom Kite and his fellow designers Roy Bechtol and Randy Russell., Somersett Golf & Country Club serves as the centerpiece to the community. At 7,252 yards from the Sierra tees, the par 72 Championship course is naturally blended into the high desert landscape offering panoramic views of the surrounding alpine vistas. With five sets of tee markers, seven lakes, 62 white sand bunkers and 400 foot wide landing areas off the tee, the course offers players of varying ability levels the opportunity to challenge or be challenged.
Somersett Country Club's History
Eighteen years ago, on the rugged hills west of Reno where others had seen only sage brush, thistle and rolling hills, Blake Smith saw opportunity. He “saw” Somersett, the six mile, master planned community that will encompass about 3,300 homes when completed.
Smith started purchasing the land that makes up Somersett in 1991. It was quite a challenge with 43 landowners holding parcels ranging from 40 to 80 acres. For the first four years he used his own money; parlaying profits he’d made from his commercial mortgage company, a business he founded in 1987 when he was 27. Acquiring the land was just part of the puzzle. He also had to shepherd the process through some significant legal and political hurdles.
In the spring of 2001, Tom Kite was commissioned to create a signature golf course that would be the center piece for the Somersett Community. The architectural design team of KBR, Tom Kite, Roy Bechtol, and Randy Russell, began to scour the hillsides in May of 2002, setting up markers and outlining what would be the tee boxes, fairways, greens and hazards. Slowly, the hillsides began to take shape of a course, and it began to naturally blend into the high desert landscape of what is now a Tom Kite Signature Championship Golf course.
This is what Tom Kite has to say: "When Roy, Randy and I first viewed the site, we were blown away with the size of what we had to work with. This truly is the “Big Country,” and the magnitude of the property was almost overwhelming. Small design features on a site like Somersett would never have worked. Therefore, when strategizing the course, my choice was to design the bunkers, lakes and surrounding mounds quite large so they fit the scale of the property. The hazards form a picture frame around the immaculately conditioned, undulating fairways and greens indicating to all the golfers the location of the ideal place to play from."
Because of the elevation changes, a 400 foot wide golf envelope was chosen in place of the standard 300 foot envelope to ensure plenty of room to play. “I tried to find variety in terms of length, direction, slope, and shot shape. That challenge is magnified when designing a course with elevation changes like Somersett”.
The bent grass greens are also on the generous size with numerous pin locations and challenging contours. Following the USGA guidelines for greens construction has helped ensure perfect playing conditions and a true ball roll on each and every putt. The design of this world-class golf course was very much a hands-on experience.
In the summer of 2004, the first nine holes opened for member play. As the home development continued, so did the golf course. In the summer of 2005, the second nine holes opened, and our spectacular golf course became a reality. Tom Kite played the inaugural round on September 18, 2004 to the delight of Members, perspective new Members, guests, media and local dignitaries. Somersett Golf & Country Club was now on the map.