Located in the stunningly beautiful northwest region of the country, Idaho is home to some of the most breathtaking courses in America. The natural landscape of the region, with its mountainous terrain, hearty trees, and crystal blue lakes, lends itself to unparalleled golfing conditions. While geographically speaking Idaho is a decently sized state, it is sparsely populated with only 1.6 million Idahoans at last count. With over 100 outstanding golf courses dotted around the state, there are plenty of tracks not only for the locals, but for visitors as well.
As you prepare for your golf adventures in this unforgettable state, here are 5 Idaho golf courses you need to play.
Best Private Course: Gozzer Ranch Golf Course in Harrison
The Tom Fazio-designed Gozzer Rancher is the nearly unanimous choice for best course in Idaho according to national golf publications and is often ranked among the best in the county. The course is carved into the thick Idaho forest landscape and runs along the majestic Lake Couer D’Alene. At times the course rises and falls and is punctuated by gorges, bluffs, and lakeside cliffs.
The tall, hearty pines create a maze as fairways work their way through and around this incredible course. Uniquely shaped bunkers are strategically placed on the meticulously manicured fairways and guard the immaculate greens with a vengeance. Accuracy is paramount and advanced shot shaping skills required in order to score well at Gozzer Ranch.
Gozzer Ranch measures around 7300 yards from the tips and is a regulation par 72.
While this course is truly a masterpiece, it is private, and only open to members and their guests. If you can somehow get on for around, it is all but guaranteed that you will have a memorable time.
Best Public Course: Circling Raven in Worley
Located near the Washington border, Circling Raven is another nationally recognized course, and the best public track in the state. Imposing mountains form a magnificent backdrop for a course built on a variety of habitats. Circling Raven incorporates wetlands, tall grasses, and woodlands into a brilliant layout that offers extraordinary beauty and requires tremendous skill.
The front nine begins with a par 5 that features a blend of sprawling fairway, bunkers, and tall grass to contend with. From there, a short par 4 stretches slightly form left to right and funnels in the same direction as you approach a small, sloping green.
The back nine begins with a par 4 with a dissected fairway and trees to the right. The back comes to a close with a great finishing hole featuring another small green protected to the left and right by massive bunkers.
Circling Raven measures 7189 yards long from the gold tees and is a regulation par 72.
Prices being at $89 for 18 walking during the week and climb to $99 on the weekend.
Most Scenic Course: Coeur d’Alene Resort Golf Course in Coeur d’Alene
Coeur d’ Alene Golf Course is one of the most well known courses in the state and the most scenic in all of Idaho. The course boasts wooded ridges, breathtaking views of the lake from the first hole to the last, and lush, bright green fairways.
The course occupies over 200 acres of pristine Idaho countryside and makes great use of the lake and creek that runs through it. With tall, stately pines lining many of the fairways, the course is absolutely spectacular.
While the course would be an easy choice for most scenic for all the reasons above and more, it is the iconic 14th hole that puts Coeur d’Alene on another level. This signature hole boasts an island, floating green that is only accessible by boat.
Coeur d’Alene golf course is 6800 yards deep from the tips and is a par 71.
While this course is gorgeous, it is also expensive. A round early in the day costs $195 for 18 walking. If you are willing and able to move your tee time to later in the day you can get the rate down as low as $135.
Most Challenging Course: Sun Valley Golf Course in Hailey
Set among prodigious mountains and featuring steep elevation changes and rolling fairways, Sun Valley Golf Course combines beautiful scenery with a challenging layout. The fairways maze their way through thick pines and lead to undulating, contoured greens. Sun Valley also boasts water—whether it be ponds or the course’s meandering creek—on nearly every hole.
The front nine begins with a 530 yard par 5 with trees to the right and a small water hazard on the left near the green. The 2nd hole is a straight, medium length par 4 with trees forming a narrow, corridor effect on the fairway.
Water guards the front of the green on the 197 yard par 3 10th hole. The courses finishes with the ultra narrow par 5 18th that measures 529 yards.
In total, the course is around 6800 yards from the tips and is a regulation par 72.
In addition to being demanding, the course is fairly expensive too. A round of 18 walking costs $179, although he twilight rate dips to $110.
Best Value: Jug Mountain Ranch Golf Course in McCall
With all the trappings you would expect from a great Idaho golf course—tall pines, significant elevation changes, and mountainous backdrop—Jug Mountain Ranch Golf Course is a top-tier course you can play on a budget.
Bright green fairways contrast nicely against the darker hues of the forest surrounding the course. The layout weaves its way from tee to green and calls for great shot making.
From the tips, Jug Mountain Ranch measures over 7200 yards and is a regulation par 72.
This impressive track can be played for as low as $35 during the week after 3 pm—a mind boggling price for a course of this quality.
With mountain views, rugged terrain, and plenty of pristine lakes, ponds, streams, and rivers, golf in Idaho is a nature lovers’ dream land. If you haven’t hit the links in this striking state, you really should. Happy golfing.
Did we miss a course? Share your Idaho golf experience in the comments section below.