Take on these stellar courses across the United States, offering a range of stunning terrain and scenery that rival golf.
Idaho Panhandle (Coeur d’Alene, Idaho)
Location: 30 miles east of Spokane, Washington
What it offers: The par-3 14th hole at Golf at Coeur d’Alene Resort, the world’s only moving, floating island green, has single-handedly pinned northern Idaho and the scenic shores of Lake Coeur d’Alene on many golfers’ bucket lists. The standard tee plays between 140 and 170 yards to the 22,000 ton green, which changes position via a complex underwater cable system. If your ball manages to stay on dry land, a boat takes you to the putting surface to finish off and admire the engineering marvel.
Its 17 other holes also deserve your admiration, especially its five par-3s. Equally impressive are the pristine conditions of the course, embellished by 25,000 demarcated juniper bushes, 30,000 geraniums and 4,000 petunias.
The Circling Raven Golf Club, Twenty-five minutes south, the Coeur d’Alene Casino Resort Hotel in Worley consistently ranks among the top resort courses in the country.
Built by Gene Bates in 2003 and owned by the Coeur d’Alene Tribe, the course winds through native Palouse wetlands, marshes, woods and grasslands on 620 acres, more than four times the area of a traditional golf course. Highlights of the front nine include the 7th hole (called “Hummingbird”, or stbembm, in the tribe’s language), enriched by the tribe’s emblem painted on the hillside of the green; and the pine-framed downhill 8th hole (“Snow on the Mountain” or mqhwqin), marked by sparkling white sand traps.
For one of the toughest challenges in the Pacific Northwest, head to the Idaho Club at Sandpoint, 50 miles north of Coeur d’Alene on Lake Pend Oreille. There, test your short game on the rolling greens of Jack Nicklaus’ only Idaho design, surrounded by some of the best scenery in the state, including the magnificent Moose Mountain.
Insider tip: Arrive early for your round at the Coeur d’Alene Resort golf course, where players receive complimentary pre-round massages. Then, watch your practice shots dive into Lake Coeur d’Alene at its aquatic driving range.
What you will pay at Coeur d’Alene Resort Golf Course: from $135
You will pay the least to: Golf club encircling Raven, from $65 in low season
Where to stay (splurge): At the Coeur d’Alene Casino Resort in Worley, book accommodation in the Spa Tower, home to one of the best spas in the area. The tower master suite features floor-to-ceiling windows, multiple living areas, and a cozy fireplace. Walk to Circling Raven Golf Course just down the road. From $470
Where to stay (save): You can also splurge at the Coeur d’Alene Resort on Lake Coeur d’Alene, but you can also save by booking one of its North Wing rooms. Enjoy a variety of shops and restaurants, as well as downtown accessibility. From $189