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Rapids, skiing, hiking, fly fishing, and undoubtedly, golf. Idaho presents itself as one of the most amazing and fun states for nature and adventure lovers. Apart from the Yellowstone National Park, the impressive lakes such as the Bear or the Coeur d’Alene lakes, or the Craters of the Moon National Monument; the Gem State counts with an extensive and marvellous golf offer for those seeking a wild adventure between greens and fairways.
That is why we just made a list of the 10 best public courses you can play in this state, and tried to analyse them briefly. Let’s start with it:
Best Golf Courses in Idaho
This gorgeous course is located in the little city of Worley, in southwestern Idaho, and it is surrounded by the Coeur d’Alene Indian reservation.
Designed in 2003 by Gene Bates, Circling Raven is a course you will fall in love with, no matter your skills. It counts with multiple advantages: solid and challenging holes, a great sense of isolation, an enormous clubhouse and absolute beauty.
The 8th hole is a short par 4, surrounded by pines and a green with three bunkers protecting it. It is not the typical stunning signature hole, but it is the perfect reflection of this course: a solid hole, isolated and challenging.
Apart from the 8th, this course has one of the trickiest par 3 in the whole state, and its number will make you tremble if you are somehow superstitious: the 13th. But there is no space for doubt here. This hole is a long par 3 with a beautiful and challenging tee shot. The bunkers and pines surrounding the green oblige you to be quite a good shot, so do not hesitate and hit it hard!
If you are looking for a luxurious kind of course, more similar to a private club, this is your course. From the moment you put your foot inside the resort, you will see that the staff there will do their best to make you feel absolutely supported and comfortable at all times. And the services are top level as well: a driving range where you will be able to hit floating balls to the lake, golf carts with leather seats and a cooler, and complimentary massages.
Apart from the poshy experience, most of people come here for one hole, one of the most famous ones, if not the most of all the State and its surroundings: the 14th. The particularity of this hole is its green: it is literally an island, which is moved each day by a computer. It counts with two bunkers, some trees and a little dock to be able to reach there by boat.
With this hole, it is somehow difficult for the other ones to stand out. However, there are some others which could be the signature of a lot of other courses, for example, the 5th. This is also a par three with the lake as backdrop, which was remodelled in 2004. Now, the green is surrounded by a huge bunker and some rock formations that make it a beauty.
The only drawback here is the price, around $200. But anyway, for the whole experience you will have there, it is absolutely worth the price!
The Trail Creek championship course in Sun Valley Resort was designed in 1937 by William P. Bell, but redesigned by Robert Trent Jones Jr. in 1980. The Baldy Mountains as background, a perfect layout and its great staff and services make this course one of our top three of public courses in Idaho. Apart from the Trail Creek, Sun Valley counts with another two courses: the Elkhorn, also with 18 holes, and the White Cloud, with 9.
Tail Creek counts with two interesting holes that could both be the signature one: the 15th, a long downhill par 3 which plays with a creek and a well-bunkered green. The other one is the 17th, a shorter par 3 where a pond comes into play, all of it with some spectacular views of the Baldy Mountains.
Rates here range between $80 and $175 depending on the season and services.
The beautiful city of McCall is situated on the south of Payette Lake, in the Payette National Forest, and the Jug Mountain Ranch uses this location to its advantage.
Designed by Donald Knott in 2004, this 18-hole track melts with nature in a perfect way, and its conditions are spectacular. With some quite cheap rates (oscillating between $20 and $60), this course will absolutely blow your mind and will not disappoint you in any way.
Apart from the great course, its clubhouse restaurant offers a wide variety of foods and is opened during all summer. It also counts with a great practice facility, including a driving range, some practice putting greens and some bunkers.
This 27-hole facility is also located in the resort city of McCall. Its counts with three course, each one of 9 holes: the Aspen, the Birch and the Cedar.
This course is perfect for players of all skill levels, and its price is also ridiculously cheap. Its services include a clubhouse, driving range, a full pro shop, a restaurant where you can overlook the course, clubs and golf carts rentals and even tournaments for kids and adults.
Its proximity to the Ponderosa State Park can make you see some wildlife giving you some company throughout the course: foxes, squirrels, owls, elks… This fact, combined with the small and undulating greens, the numerous water hazards, the panoramic views and the easily walkable terrain makes this this place a fantastic and relaxing golf experience.
Banbury is located in the little town of Eagle, near the capital city of Idaho, Boise. Designed by John F. Harbottle III, this course opened in 1999, and has been rated in a consistent way one of the best public courses of Idaho by Golf Digest magazine.
With well-groomed greens and fairways, stunning views and acceptable difficulty, Banbury will make you enjoy, no matter your golfing level. It offers a great variety of holes, mixing some easy and relaxed ones with others quite tricky that will make you have to focus and play your best golf. The staff is really attentive and will do their best to help you, even giving you tips for some of the most challenging holes.
But not everything is golf here. Most users recommend the food of the clubhouse, and organising events with catering and weddings are also possible. All the information is available on their well-designed and intuitive website.
Really close to Boise, the capital of Idaho, there is a city named Nampa, where RedHawk is situated. This course is pretty new, having opened in 2014, and its amazing views of Lake Lowell and Owyhee Mountains make it a pleasure to play, reason why we think it deserves a place in the top 10 public courses in Idaho.
Fast and soft greens, rolling and well-groomed fairways, and six first holes which play alongside a rock pit (which, actually, is named “The Pit”), are some of the features of this great track, apt for all kind of players.
It also has a well-prepared practice facility: a nice driving range, a short game facility including some bunkers and a green to tune in your put.
The rates here are also an advantage here, ranging between $15 and $25. A total bargain!
Built in 1974, Bryden Canyon is an 18-hole championship course located in the northwestern side of Idaho, in a city called Lewiston.
With the Lewis Clark Valley as backdrop and its great climate, this track is a good opportunity for those who want to escape from the snow and enjoy some sunny and comfortable golfing. The course has a great mix of difficulty: while some of the holes give you great chances of birdies, some others will make you sweat to make the par.
The signature hole for us is the 17th, a par 4 which is a great opportunity to make the desired birdie, with a wide fairway and some undulating terrain. All of it with some panoramic views of the valley.
In their beautiful website you can see all the services, including a hole-by-hole page to check before playing and get a general idea of the course, while having some tips for each of them!
Rates here are quite cheap, with similar prices that the ones in RedHawk (approximately $20 per person).
This course is located in the capital of Idaho, Boise, and was designed in 1982 by Bruce Devlin/Robert von Hagge. The views of the Treasure Valley, together with some exigent holes, are the strong points of this course, all of it for rates not surpassing the $30 fee.
There are some interesting holes here, and some greens which are crazily protected by bunkers, such as the 2nd or the 11th or the 18th. That fact, combined with the small sizes of the greens, will make you be really accurate, otherwise you will be punished with some bogeys. The sloping and elevation changes add some difficulty to the mix.
The amenities here are all you can expect, with an extensive practice facility, a pro shop, a clubhouse, club rentals and lessons from professional golfers.
River Birch is a fun and apt for all players course situated in Star, a city only a half an hour drive from the capital Boise.
Though it is somehow a forgiving course, it has some interesting and tough holes. One for example is a par 4 which includes three ponds and a dogleg to the right, which can be pretty punishing if playing conservatively.
The staff here is welcoming and helpful, and the pace of play tend to be fluent. It also counts with some tournaments and a league throughout the playing season, lessons, a snack bar, a driving range and a pro shop, and overall its prices are reasonable, ranging between $20 and $30.
In a nutshell, Idaho offers a great variety of affordable, challenging but forgiving golf courses you can play. Whether you are an experimented golfer or a beginner, you have different courses to choose from that will make you enjoy this sport on your own terms.
Make your choice and enjoy!