Cool breezes gain steam over the waters of Hayden Lake before moving through the pine trees that line the fairways of Avondale Golf Course, adding to the bucolic splendor of the 18-hole, 6,600-yard layout. The course's short-grass corridors switchback through a combination of tree-lined and open terrain, with water hazards complicating passage on five holes, placing precise shots and webbed golf shoes at a premium.
A stint at the natural-turf driving range helps golfers to warm up for the round, a necessary measure for slow-starting swings that may struggle to reach the lengthy par 4 second hole—rated the course's hardest from the men's tees—in regulation. After hunting birdies and inflating the egos of smug putters across the landscape, players can recess to the Water Hazard Bar & Grill to recap memorable shots over dinner and drinks.
Course at a Glance:
Awarded one of the “Top 10 Golf Experiences Within Idaho” by Golf Digest, The Highlands Golf Course beckons golf enthusiasts with forests of towering pine trees and rolling terrain of verdant beauty. The course was originally designed by Jim Krause and opened for play in 1991, though anyone who hasn’t played it since 2006 will appreciate the additional tee boxes and marked improvements in bunker playability resulting from course renovations. Six lakes come into play, demanding deft club selection around the greens and impeccable swan dives to retrieve errant golf balls. Narrow fairways and several doglegs also place a premium on flawless drives off of your playing partner's belly button.
As a warm-up or a cool-down, practice at the driving encourages skill development with grass tees and nearly 400 yards of open expanse. A short-game practice area recreates most on-course situations a golfer can conjure up, with sand bunkers and two regulation flagpoles that double as golf cart jousting lances.
Course at a Glance:
From its roost beside the lake of the same name, The Coeur d'Alene Resort towers over more than just water. It also dominates the skyline and presents views of the region's evergreen-coated mountains and valleys. Although the AAA Four Diamond award-winning resort’s rooms sate guests’ needs for creature comforts with down pillows, cotton robes, and pillow-top mattresses, the surrounding area’s activities lure them outside. During the warm seasons, lake cruises take passengers on quick tours and kayak rentals let them see the waterways at their own paces. Guided bike tours and hikes explore the natural beauty of the mountainous surroundings, and snowshoes and snowmobiles conquer icier paths.
Nearby, the golf course, which earned the relaxation haven a spot on Golf Digest’s 2011 list of the 75 Best Golf Resorts in the United States and Canada, challenges all skill levels. After winding along the lakeshore, a forested ridge, rolling woodlands, and a revitalized trout stream, it raises eyebrows with its 14th hole. There, players have to land their shots on an island green—150 yards from the shore and only accessible by boat or catapult.
An onsite spa fuels days of relaxation with treatments that incorporate lake algae as well as the scents of cedar and spruce for distinctively local interpretations of familiar services. Numerous dining options also surround the grounds, letting guests sample everything from the Northwest-inspired fine dining of Beverly's to the family-style barbecue and fish tacos of Beachouse Bar & Grill.
Nestled in the shadows of Spokane's towering pine trees, the open terrain of Pine Acres helps golfers groom their short games with a nine-hole, par 3 course, expansive driving range, and large practice green. With an average tee-to-green distance of 84 yards, Pine Acres' pins are eminently reachable for players of all stripes, making holes-in-one a feasible goal for aces or those playing with remote-control golf balls. Players can traverse the course in roughly one hour, freeing up time to cool off swings in the shade of one of the range's covered hitting stalls or dig for misplaced time capsules in Pine Acres' practice bunker.
Teaching professional David Fern doles out golf swing pointers in an effort to make the game easier for his students. Situated on the Spokane River, the nearly century-old course welcomes golfers with a practice facility where David can identify their swing issues, while videotaping lessons for easy review later. To get an immersive learning experience, players can opt for a playing lesson, during which time the coach and student will play a round of golf. Along the way, David will cover the finer points of shot selection and course management, as well as how to determine if a bunker is filled with quicksand.
The Fairways Golf Course’s layout unfurls over rolling terrain teeming with wetlands and native grasses. Multiple water hazards and fast greens pose challenges for experienced players, and relatively open fairways and a set of closer, forward tees cater to golfers of all experience levels. A dramatic conclusion awaits at the par-4, 419-yard 18th hole—the course’s most challenging hole—where golfers must contend with a dog-leg right and a small pond that arches around the front and left sides of the green. Golfers can prepare for the round at the driving range and practice green, or simply ask the course’s beverage-cart operator for the liquid cure for a slice-prone swing.