Road Holes — 03 January 2013 by Bob Sherwin
Top Five: Northern Idaho/Spokane area

 

One of the many Coeur d'alene water vistas

Where’s the best place to play golf on the West Coast? We’ll give you hundreds of choices.

Golferswest.com continues its annual assessment of the Top Five courses to play within 12 West Coast states and British Columbia. Today, the 25-part series focuses on: Northern Idaho/Spokane area

NO. 1 COURSE: COEUR D’ALENE RESORT

LOCATION: Coeur d’Alene, Id.

DIRECTIONS FROM SPOKANE: I-90 in Idaho, 31 miles from Spokane. Take exit 15, Sherman Rd. and left on CDA Lake Dr. Go a quarter mile to entrance on right.

PHONE: 208-667-4653

OPENED: 1991 (Architect: Scott Miller)

GREEN FEES: Rates vary, packages with the hotel are available, check the web site: cdaresort.com

LAYOUT: Par 71, 6,803 yards (five tee positions)

LOWDOWN: Among the top 100 of the best public courses in America, according to Golf Digest. This is well-manicured that has the feel of a country club. A fore-caddy greets every group and goes out with you to give you directions and tips.

The course is on a slight bluff above the beautiful lake. It’s a playable course, tight at times, scenic throughout.

SIGNATURE HOLE: No. 14, par-3, 180-yards-ish. This world’s only floating island green is the state’s iconic golf feature. It’s moveable so it can be brought in or out, to more than 200 yards and, at times, against the wind. A little boat takes you to the green. The island is 15,000 square feet and the course winks at mulligans if you can’t reach in one.

Picturesque No. 8 hole at Circling Raven

NO. 2 COURSE: CIRCLING RAVEN

LOCATION: Worley, Id.

DIRECTIONS FROM SPOKANE: Take US-95 to Plummer/Moscow exit. Turn right on US-95 S. Take exit ID-58 E. Turn right and go a half mile and turn left. Course is on the left.

PHONE: 800-523-2464

OPENED: 1993 (Architect: Gene Bates)

GREEN FEES: Rates vary, packages with hotel are available, check the web site: circlingraven.com

LAYOUT: Par 72, 7,189 yards (five tee positions)

LOWDOWN: Ranked among the top 100 courses to play in America by Golf Digest. This course gives you a variety of looks, from meadows and wetlands, to mountainous tree-lined fairways to airy almost links-style holes.

It’s a pristine layout with no structures and adjacent to the Coeur d’Alene national forest.

SIGNATURE HOLE: No. 3, par-3, 386 yards. From an elevated green, the first thing you notice is the length of the carry – and the trouble you’ll find if you stray right or left. You need to be straight here. The green is protected by a series of bunkers on the left front. Good luck on this one.

NO. 3 COURSE: INDIAN CANYON

LOCATION: Spokane, Wa.

 

Looking down the first hole valley at Indian Canyon

DIRECTIONS FROM SPOKANE: I-90 to exit 281. Head west onto Division St./US-2. Right on East Spokane Falls Blvd. Take second left to stay on Spokane Falls Blvd. Course is on the right.

PHONE: 509-747-5353

OPENED: 1935 (architect: H. Chandler Egan)

GREEN FEES: Rates vary, check the web site: indiancanyongolf.com

LAYOUT: Par 72, 6,255 yards (four tee positions).

LOWDOWN: Built on a canyon wall, it has a 250-foot elevation change. It’s not long but it’s a challenge to work the ball through the pines, a plethora of bunkers and the undulating greens. Selected one of the top public courses in the U.S. by Golf Digest.

Byron Nelson, who played in a 1945 tournament here, said the greens were among the best he had ever played on. The venerable course has hosted the U.S. Public Links championship in 1941 and 1984 and Women’s Amateur Links in 1989.

SIGNATURE HOLE: No. 1, par-5, 479 yards. It’s not a exceptionally long but it is beautiful. You come down from the clubhouse and hit into the narrow valley, which is shaped by tall firs on each side. The green is exceptionally small.

NO. 4 COURSE: OSPREY MEADOWS

LOCATION: Donnelly, Id.

 

Osprey Meadows in Donnelly

DIRECTIONS FROM SPOKANE: Take Idaho Hwy 95 south about 120 miles through McCall and Hwy 55. Once into Donnelly turn right on Roseberry Rd. Go four miles then turn left on W. Mountain Rd. Travel 3 ½ miles to Tamarack Resort.

PHONE: 208-325-GOLF

OPENED: 2005 (Architect:Robert Trent Jones, Jr.)

GREEN FEES: Rates vary, check the web site: tamarackidaho.com

LAYOUT: Par 72, 7,319 yards (four tee positions).

LOWDOWN: Voted the No. 1 course in Idaho by GolfWeek Magazine, it is also among the Top 50 Resort courses in America.

It’s a heavily forested course with three water hazards affecting holes 3, 4, 5 and 10. It’s closes for the winter.

SIGNATURE HOLE: No. 2, par-4, 495 yards. This is a long dogleg-right par-4 complicated by a grove of trees along the right side then a series of ponds and waterfalls, through which 1,000 gallons of water per minute flows. There’s a 500-foot drop for a waterfall effect.

NO. 5 COURSE: THE CREEK AT QUALCHAN

LOCATION: Spokane, Wa.

DIRECTIONS FROM DOWNTOWN SPOKANE: Take I-90, east or west, getting off at the Hwy195/S. Inland Empire Way. Travel south then take a left on E. Meadowlane Rd. Follow that around to the course.

PHONE: 509-448-9317

 

The Creek at Qualchan

OPENED: 1993 (Architect: Bill Robinson)

GREEN FEES: Rates vary, check the web site: golfcoursegurus.com/reviews/qualchan.php

LAYOUT: Par 72, 6,599 yards (three tee positions).

LOWDOWN: Set in a natural environment, Latah Creek meanders throughout the course along with five ponds and plenty of woods and wildlife.

The first tee plays off a cliff edge and 18 comes back to the same cliff. There are several water clearance shots, including one last shot over the creek on 18. The course is well maintained and is one of the best bangs for your buck in the region.

SIGNATURE HOLE: No. 13, par-4, 333 yards. This is a short par-4 but don’t be fooled. It’s one of the more quirky holes you can play. It’s a virtual blind tee shot to a severe dogleg left. Cutting the dogleg tight to the left can help you get a roll down the slope to the green. But you also could get caught in the trees. If you play safe, you can catch the slope and have a pitch to the green.

- Bob Sherwin

TOMORROW: Central Oregon

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About Author

Bob Sherwin

Bob grew up in Cleveland, an underdog city with perennial underdog teams, and that gave him an appreciation and an affinity for the grinders in golf, guys such as Rocco Mediate, Jhonattan Vegas and star-crossed John Daly. This is the 41st year for Bob as a sportswriter, the first 34 working for newspapers throughout the west, Tucson (Daily Star), San Francisco (Examiner) and Seattle (Times), and the past seven years as a freelancer. He has covered just about every sport, including golf tournaments, Tucson Open, Bing Crosby/AT&T Pro-Am, the 1998 PGA Championship, the 2010 U.S. Senior Open, the 2010 U.S. Amateur and the annual Champions Tour Boeing Classic. He also writes articles for golf magazines. For most of his 20 years at the Seattle Times his primary beat was the Mariners. He then picked up Washington men's basketball in the winter. He also was the beat writer for the Sonics, including 1996 when they played the Bulls for the NBA title. After a lifetime hacking on public courses, he finally gave in and joined a country club in 2011, the Members Club of Aldarra near Seattle. He won't win the club championship any time soon with his 15 handicap and default-swing slice but he does have a pair of aces – 37 years apart – and in 2009 came agonizingly close to his ultimate golf goal of scoring in the 70s when he finished with an even 80. He lives in Seattle, and spends part of his winters in Marco Island, Fla.

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