My original choice in Idaho was the Golf Club at Black Rock in Coeur d’Alene. It captured my attention as #42 on Golf Digest’s Top 100 Courses in the USA listing. They would have let me play, but not on the date I was traveling through Idaho. The course was closed for the week while both the women and the men’s club championship matches are held. I moved down the list and selected the Coeur d’Alene Resort Golf Course to play instead.
Opening in 1991, the Coeur d'Alene Resort Golf Course debuted as the #11 resort golf course in the nation (current ranking at #62) with a #1 ranking in the category of "Beauty and Esthetics" by Golf Digest. Designer Scott Miller's vision was to create a golf course that offered a stimulating round of golf, surrounded by a park-like environment. The result is manicured bent grass fairways accented with beds of brilliant red geraniums, acres of fragrant Junipers and mountain water challenges. Nestled in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains on the shores of beautiful Lake Coeur d'Alene, the course was designed around four distinct geographic features: an expansive lakeshore, a forested ridge, gently rolling woodlands and Fernan Creek, a revitalized trout stream.
Location: Coeur d’Alene, ID
Golf Digest Best-In-State Rank: #5
Date: 8 Aug, tee off at 1:40 PM
Conditions: cloudy, 9 MPH wind, 88 degrees
Lost balls: 1
Score: 81 on a par 71
A single player should expect to be thrown into a group on a busy resort golf course. I was not disappointed to be paired up with a father & son on a golf vacation from Dallas, Texas. Jim Dirting is a 55-year old anesthesiologist; his son, Ryan, is a 21-year old entering his senior year at the University of Texas in the fall majoring in business finance. Ryan was taking a short break from a summer internship at a private investment firm in the Austin area. Jim’s wife did not accompany them on the trip. They also have a daughter who is currently in New Zealand visiting her boyfriend, a native son from New Zealand and a semi-professional rugby player.
We were provided with fore caddy services during the round by Shane Flesher. A native from Spokane, Washington, he will be a sophomore at the University of Washington where he is majoring in psychology and criminal justice. After hearing that I retired from John Deere, Shane told me his dad is an agricultural equipment territory manager for Case IH. I told him he just shot his chances for a tip!
Shane Flesher, Ryan Dirting & Jim Dirting
The resort provided premium golf carts for the round. Manufactured by Western, they included a tilt steering wheel, chrome wheels, club & ball washers, tee dispenser, trash bin, ice cooler, and storage bins located behind seat & in front of the windshield. The only thing missing was a GPS screen, but that would have eliminated jobs for the 60 fore caddies employed at the resort. This was the first time I have seen a tilt steering wheel on a golf cart. Use of the carts was restricted to cart paths only in order to maintain the course’s excellent playing condition. Shane jogged ahead of us for the entire 18-holes, locating our balls and providing distances for the next shots.
The driving range at Coeur d’Alene utilized floating golf balls that are hit out into the lake. Floating buoys mark the distances, which do not correspond directly to the course since floating balls travel only 80% as far as a normal golf ball. The range was adjacent to tennis courts that were not in use when I arrived, but did have some matches underway later in the afternoon. A clinic for junior players was being conducted on the putting green. A masseuse was working near the tennis courts to help loosen up any players requiring her services. An unusual clump of bushes on the far side of the tennis courts turned out to be the well-camouflaged rest rooms.
Masseuse at work
I started the round well with a par-bogey-par over the first three holes. My tee shot on the 4th hole found the rough where a “goal-post” shot between two trees flew off the back side of the green. My chip shot failed me and I ended up with a double bogey.
128-yard par 3 hole #3 (green is to the left, #2 green is to the right in the picture)
307-yard par 4 hole #4
View of approach shot to the green from the hole #4 rough
View from the hole #4 green looking back up the fairway
We teed off on the 5th hole into a headwind. My tee shot flew straight toward the pin, landed on the green and was rolling downhill directly at the cup when it stopped rolling - - - 12” from a hole-in-one. I did manage to sink the birdie putt.
120-yard par 3 hole #5
Close only counts in horseshoes!
I finished the front nine with a bogey-par-double bogey-par for a respectable score of 40.
163-yard par 3 hole #6
395-yard par 4 hole #7
The back nine started off in the same manner with two pars and two bogeys on some challenging holes.
438-yard par 4 hole #10 (view of approach shot to the green from the fairway)
522-yard par 5 hole #11 (view of the water surrounding the green)
336-yard par 4 hole #13 (required a shot onto the peninsula as water comes into play again in front of the green)
The most renown hole on the course is #14. Coeur d’Alene claims it as the world’s only par 3, floating movable island green. The 15,000 square foot putting surface was floating 175 yards offshore with some wind blowing into our face. Shane was telling us to play the hole to 190-yards. I followed his advice and put my tee shot pin high in the right hand rough (and there was not much rough to land in!). A shuttle boat delivers players to the green. The floating green has been the site of a few wedding proposals this season.
175-yard par 3 hole #14
View of the #14 green from the shuttle boat
With a little wind at my back on the 15th hole par 5 I managed to land on the green in two shots. Lady Luck was not helping my putter when the eagle putt broke away from the hole. I did sink the next putt for my 2nd birdie of the round.
478-yard par 5 hole #15
View of approach shot to the green from the hole #15 fairway
In spite of almost scoring a hole-in-one on the 5th hole, I have to give the honors for best-shot-of-the-day to Ryan. His tee shot on the short 17th hole hooked around the trees and rolled up 12’ from the pin. Lady Luck was not looking after him either as he missed the eagle putt, but his shot from the tee box was worth watching.
257-yard par 4 hole #17 (trees on the left shield the green)
A pleasant boat ride transported me from the golf course back to the resort. Julie and I walked down the street from the hotel to the Moose Lounge. A mug of Moose Drool beer helped to polish off a BBQ pork sandwich. The bartender was wearing a Chicago Cubs baseball hat, not exactly what you might expect to see in Idaho. Although he grew up in Spokane, he became a Cubs fan after watching the WGN channel on cable TV.
View of the golf course from Lake Coeur d'Alene
Coeur d'Alene Resort Hotel & harbor
Front entrance to the Coeur d'Alene Resort Hotel (not the red geraniums)