3 Days Golfing in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho

3 Days Golfing in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho


Idaho is one of those Big Sky states that you don’t know much about. You know potatoes. You know the state is shaped funny and you’ve probably heard of Boise (although you may not know it’s in Idaho)-but that’s really about it. I’d always wanted to explore Idaho because I’d heard how beautiful it is. However, it’s always been: maybe another time or it’s too far or inconvenient. So when the opportunity came up to spend 3 days golfing in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho-I jumped on it!

How to Get to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho

The most sensible and easiest way to get to Coeur d’Alene is to fly into Spokane, Washington. It’s a nice airport about 45 minutes or so from Coeur d’Alene and its surrounding areas. You can either rent a car or your hotel should have a shuttle service.

Where to Stay in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho

I stayed at a place called the Coeur d’Alene Casino Resort Hotel. It’s located in a town called Worley, Idaho about 25 miles from the city of Coeur d’Alene. It’s an Indian reservation resort run by the Coeur d’Alene Tribe. They do a great job of incorporating their heritage and culture into the resort. This was actually the first Indian Reservation property that I’ve ever stayed at. I enjoyed it.

3 Days Golfing in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, casino

The Coeur d’Alene Casino Resort Hotel is a massive property that also includes the Circling Raven Golf Club. Of course it also has a casino. The casino is pretty big and it is all electronic games like video slots, and other video casino games. There are no actual table games. It’s some type of law in Idaho.

3 Days Golfing in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, casino

The casino is very bright with a lot of colorful lights-as you’d see in most casinos. It has a few bars. The Nighthawk Lounge is the main bar in the casino. It also has some live music on the weekends that was actually pretty good.

3 Days Golfing in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, casino

There is also an events center that has concerts to draw people in. In fact, Vince Neil of Motley Crue (one of my favorite bands) was playing there a few days after I left! The resort also has a decent fitness center that I used each morning and several good restaurants.

3 Days Golfing in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, casino, Circling Raven

My favorite was the Chinook Steakhouse with great mains and even better desserts (and I don’t even like desserts). The executive chef at the Coeur d’Alene Casino Resort Hotel, Steven Walk, was excellent and really did a great job. He prepared a few meals for our group over our 3 days golfing in Coeur d’Alene. This included a Memorial Day BBQ with some tremendous ribs-I had a few helpings!

3 Days Golfing in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, casino, BBQ

In addition to Chinook there are several other restaurants around the casino and golf course including Red Tail and Twisted Earth. I had breakfast at each and each was very good. Plus, the coffee at Twisted Earth in the golf clubhouse was fantastic!

3 Days Golfing in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, casino, Circling Raven

The rooms were nice, well equipped and spacious. I slept well. The bathrooms and showers were good. It was surely a nice place to stay. But you’re out of town, about a 30-minute drive into Coeur d’Alene.

3 Days Golfing in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, casino, Circling Raven

While I didn’t stay in Coeur d’Alene proper I did go and visit the Coeur d’Alene Resort. The resort is located smack dab in the middle of the town and overlooks beautiful Lake Coeur d’Alene with views for days.

3 Days Golfing in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, casino, Circling Raven, Lake Coeur d'Alene

The resort also operates the Coeur d’Alene resort golf course and offers a water boat shuttle to it from the resort itself. Plus, an excellent restaurant called Beverly’s on the top floor overlooking the lake.

3 Days Golfing in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, casino, Circling Raven, Lake Coeur d'Alene

Beverly’s had excellent food and a great wine and whiskey selection. I especially liked the beef tartar appetizer and filet mignon main. The service was also fantastic with knowledgeable servers. I really enjoyed the meal. If I was going to stay in Coeur d’Alene proper, this is where I would stay for sure.

Golfing in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho

While there are many courses in the North Idaho and Coeur d’Alene region, I played 2 courses over my 3 days golfing in Coeur ‘d’Alene, Idaho. I played Circling Raven Golf Club at the Coeur d’Alene Casino Resort Hotel 3 times and the Coeur d’Alene Resort Course 1.5 times.

Circling Raven Golf Club

Circling Raven is a long, challenging course that takes a bit of course knowledge to play well. For me, the biggest challenge was the wind. The course is very open and wide. There can be very long distances between holes with little cover from the wind. On some tee boxes you could be driving into 40-50mph winds. This gives it a bit of a links feel.

3 Days Golfing in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, casino, Circling Raven, Lake Coeur d'Alene

I found Circling Raven to be fair but unforgiving. If you drive your ball into the rough, the rough is deep and tough to play out of. If you drive it through the rough, your ball is probably gone. There is little chance at a recovery shot on Circling Raven.

3 Days Golfing in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, casino, Circling Raven, Lake Coeur d'Alene

This is good for a low handicap golfer and bad for a high handicap golfer. For me, it was both good and bad as I’m somewhere in the middle. I definitely lost a few balls each round but I enjoyed the challenge and shot in the low 80’s each round.

3 Days Golfing in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, casino, Circling Raven, Lake Coeur d'Alene

From the championship tees, the course plays over 7000 yards. We played the second tees and enjoyed the challenge of long par 4’s. The par 5’s were all within reach and I even birdied a few of them.

3 Days Golfing in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, casino, Circling Raven, Lake Coeur d'Alene, sunset

Normally on a course, I can pick a favorite hole or two. On Circling Raven, I struggle to think of a favorite because I thought they all were very good, fair, challenging holes. But if I had to choose, I’d pick either the Par 4 8th or 15th. All in all, it was a great course that should be on everyone’s radar. Plus, they have great sunsets. And word is they are considering making another course, either 9 or 18 in the near future.

Coeur d’Alene Resort Course

The Coeur d’Alene Resort Course is one that you’ve probably seen photos of but didn’t realize it was that course. The famous 14th hole floating, island green is pretty phenomenal aesthetically and a lot of fun to play. In fact all the par 3’s on the Coeur d’Alene Resort Course are nice and fun to play.

3 Days Golfing in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, casino, Circling Raven, Lake Coeur d'Alene

With the exception of the aforementioned 14th hole, the front 9 is much better to play. There are 3 Par 3’s that are all great holes. The 3rd, 5th and 6th are all short, but gorgeous little holes that will test your distance management skills.

3 Days Golfing in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, casino, Circling Raven, Lake Coeur d'Alene

The rest of the course is pretty pedestrian but very enjoyable to play. The course is very forgiving in general so at times you may be in another fairway but it’s not a big deal. You can score well on this course if you make some birdies on very reachable Par 5’s and short Par 3’s.

3 Days Golfing in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, casino, Circling Raven, Lake Coeur d'Alene

There are also some drivable Par 4’s. In fact, a guy named Taylor in our group drove the Par 4 350 yard 13th and made the Eagle putt. It was pretty great to watch even if the group on the green got mad at him-they got over it!

3 Days Golfing in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, casino, Circling Raven, Lake Coeur d'Alene

After playing 18, we actually went back out and played the front 9 again plus the 14th hole. It was a lot of fun and the course shouldn’t be missed if you’re golfing in Coeur d’Alene.

In Conclusion…

North Idaho is a good golf destination. Aside from the two I mentioned there are other courses in the area as well that I hear are good. So 3 days golfing in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho was a great start but certainly not the end of my days golfing in the great state of Idaho. Big thanks to the Coeur d’Alene Tribe and the Coeur d’Alene Casino Resort Hotel for their hospitality hosting us for our stay. I had a blast!

 

Comments

  1. Daniel Shepherd says

    I enjoyed your Idaho Panhandle golf trip article, Lee. You captured the Big Sky essence and pristine nature of Circling Raven Golf Club beautifully. Glad you appreciated the Coeur d’Alene Tribe’s TLC with its properties there. Cheers!

  2. I’ve always wanted to go to CDA! Now that I know there’s golf there maybe I can convince my husband to come with me!??

  3. Idaho is one of three states I haven’t yet been to

  4. Did you have potatoes in Idaho? Do people have Canadian accents there?

  5. Such a random place for Vince Neil to have a concert!

  6. I enjoyed your Idaho Panhandle golf trip article.
    Thanks for sharing

  7. Just reading your blog again and I gotta say that your blog is really my favorite of the travel blogs. You posts are Interesting and just enough detail – plus really professional with good photos. Its great that you can take us places, many of which I don\’t want to go, some of which I do. But I can visit them through your writing, When are you next doing something in NYC that is attendable by the public? Thanks Lee for sharing y/our world.

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