As a PGA-certified pro, Jeff Thomsen's distinguished golf career began decades ago, when the 16-year-old Thomsen swung his way to the Idaho State Amateur championship, becoming the youngest player ever to earn that rarefied distinction. His early success would pave the cart path to a long career that included 175 PGA Tour events, participation in 14 major championships, multiple tournament victories, and once saving a course-side community from a feral golf cart. Today, Jeff showers pupils with golf wisdom culled from both his 38-year competitive career and a certification from the Nicklaus/Flick Golf School. The passionate pedagogue helps players sharpen their game, lengthen their drives, and fold scorecards into paper cranes with hands-on, comprehensive lessons conducted at multiple courses throughout the hills of Treasure Valley.
Designed by course architect Gene Bates, Hunter's Point Golf Club's 18-hole, par 71 course channels the windswept charm of Britain's links-style courses in its lengthy, emerald tapestry of bent-grass fairways and greens protected by formidable hazards. Throughout the course, a king's guard of expansive waste bunkers, deep pot bunkers, and deadly quicksand bunkers stand ominously alongside landing areas and greens, placing a high premium on precise shots and astute club selection. The course takes duffers careening amid the towering scenery of the Owyhee Mountains and Boise Mountain Range, and Lake Lowell and its surrounding waterways provide both pleasing panoramas and intimidating forced carries. On the par 5 16th, a slight dogleg left spans 669 yards from the farthest tees and culminates on a green guarded by five bunkers and patrolled by a feral flagstick. The course's considerable length—it measures 7,093 yards from the back tees—is tempered by its inclusion of five tee boxes on most holes, including a Jack Rabbit family tee that reduces the course length by more than half for true neophytes and players experimenting with spaghetti-based club shafts.
At Shankz Glo-Par-Tee, larger-than-life dinosaurs, sea creatures, and volcanoes glow under black lights as guests play through 18 holes of miniature golf in the 6,000-square-foot facility. It can take about 30–40 minutes for players aged 3 and older to travel through the course’s glowing jungles, underwater worlds, and prehistoric locales, and even longer when they’re sporting Shankz’s ChromaDepth 3-D glasses, which inhibit the wearers’ ability to perceive the fourth dimension. In addition to mini golf, Shankz Glo-Par-Tee features a glowing arcade and themed party rooms where patrons can host birthday parties or private events.
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.
Hemmed into the rippling hills of Lewiston, Bryden Canyon Golf Course was established in 1974. Golfers of all experience levels can find a challenge, especially on the skill-testing par 4 holes and the risk-rewarding par 5's. Away from the course, visitors can stock up on gear and friendly advice at the pro shop. They can also refuel their tanks at the bar and grill and prepare for their next round by taking part in the facility's camps, clinics, and private lessons.
Course at a Glance * 18-hole, par 71 course * Total of 6,359 yards from the back tees * Three tees per hole * Course rating of 68.6 * Course slope of 123 * Click here to view the scorecard.
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:
Four sets of tees
6,385 yards from back tees
Rating of 69.7 and slope of 120 from back tees
1991 Jim Krause design
Renovated in 2006